I'm so excited and nervous! My pick is being showcased this week. I have been anxiously watching the days tick by, getting closer and closer to the 21st. And, here it is! And, here you are! Welcome!!
I really gave a lot of thought to my choice. Last time I got to pick a recipe-in another group-it was a choice between an apple tart and a chocolate cake. I chose the chocolate cake and then wished I had chosen the apple tart. (I made it later and it was wonderful!) This time while looking through Melissa's cookbook I spied this recipe and knew I had to try it. I love apple pie and I love caramel and couldn't wait to try the two together.
I recently made some vanilla sugar and decided to use it in the caramel. I followed the directions to a "t" and my first batch of caramel seized up and became a pan of hard, lumpy sugar. Not caramel at all. It was like all the water cooked out leaving just sugar. Not good. I was thinking "Of course, the recipe I pick is going to give me the most trouble!". I dumped the clumpy sugar and started again. The second time it stayed liquid. However, after 15-20 minutes, it was still not amber in color. I was afraid if I left it on the burner much longer the water would cook out again and I would have another pan of sugar. So, I pulled the pan off the stove, added the cream, butter and vanilla and let it cool. Not very dark or amber in color, but it tasted great!
The next little kink in the recipe was the apples. My hubby had brought home a 3 lb. bag of apples that someone at work gave him. They were Galas (I think) and I couldn't see buying Granny Smith apples (even though I know they are tarter than Galas) when I had so many apples here at the house. What I did was up the lemon zest some and added the juice from the lemon. I debated long and hard about whether to add cinnamon to the apples. The recipe doesn't call for any, but all my apple pies have cinnamon in them. It's what makes it an apple pie, at least in my opinion (and we all know what opinions are like :D) However, at the last minute I decided to stick with the recipe like it was written.
One thing I did do that was not in the recipe was add about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of pecans. The hubby asked if I could do that. Other than that (and the vanilla sugar) I made no other changes.
So, what did I think? I commented in the P&Q that I liked it, but have to say that I wasn't overly impressed. Maybe it was the lack of cinnamon. Perhaps it was the vanilla sugar or the fact that the caramel never really got caramel-y. Could have been the apples. I liked it okay, but not as much as some other apple pies I have made. Not much flavor at all. The crust was sensational! Flaky, buttery, perfect in every way. The caramel tasted good in the pan, but seemed to lose something when mixed with the apples. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being awesome, I would give this a 4. The pie itself was kind of a let down for me. I was even disappointed with the pictures I took of it. Such a bummer. To finally get to pick a recipe and then have it not live up to the expectations I had. Maybe I will have better luck next time I get to pick. :} But, don't take my review as gospel. Head over to SMS and see what the other bakers thought. Perhaps someone else had better luck than I did with this recipe.
Double-Crusted Caramel Apple Pie
This double-crusted apple pie has a creamy caramel sauce that is mixed into the apples right before baking. The addition of lemon zest keeps the rich caramel in check.
For the Caramel Sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons water
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Pie crust
All-Butter Pie Dough
All-butter Pie Dough bakes up more crisp than the Flaky Pie Dough and is great for pumpkin pie, pecan pie, as well as fruit pies. It has a rich buttery flavor.
Makes enough dough for 1 double-crusted pie or 2 single-crust 10-inch pies
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 to 8 Tablespoons ice water
To Make the Dough by Hand
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to combine.
2. Add the butter pieces, tossing with your fingers to coat each cube in the flour. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until it is the size of large peas.
3. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of the water over the mixture and toss with a fork. The dough should hold together when you squeeze it in your hand. If it is too dry, add the rest of the water (or more if absolutely necessary).
To Make the Dough Using a Food Processor
1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to combine.
2. Add the butter pieces, carefully tossing with your fingers to coat each one in flour. Pulse briefly, until the butter is the size of large peas.
3. Add 6 tablespoons of the water and pulse to combine. The dough should just hold together when you squeeze it in your hand. If it is too dry, add the rest of the water (or more if absolutely necessary).
To Rest the Dough
1. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Pat it together into one piece. Divide the dough into two equal parts, flatten each into a round disk, and then wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling.
To Roll the Dough
1. When the dough is chilled through, lightly flour a work surface. Unwrap the dough disk, lightly flour the top, and , using a rolling pin, press gently on the dough, from the middle upward, and then the middle downeard. Turn the dough disk a quarter turn and repeat the light pressing process. Add more flour if needed to prevent sticking.
2. The dough should now be a round, flatter version of the original dough disk. Sprinkle lightly with more flour if necessary, then gently roll the dough so that it is an inch wider all around than it was. Make a quarter turn, lifting the dough if it is sticking and lightly flouring the work surface below. Repeat this process until the round is roughly 12 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick. Slide it onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper and chill it in the fridge until you are ready to prebake or assemble your pie.
3. When you are ready to bake the dough, transfer it to a pie plate by sliding both palms under the dough and gently lifting it and placing it down over the center of the pie plate. Gently press the dough into the pie plate, being careful not to stretch it. Patch any rips or tears by pressing the dough together with your fingers.
4. Using clean scissors, trim off any dough in excess of 1 1/2 inches around the edges. Then gently roll the dough's edge under itself, creating a nice uniform edge to crimp. Lightly flour a fork and press the times along the top of the folded edge all around, or pinch the dough all around between your index finger and your thumb.
5. Put the pie crust in the refrigerator to rest and chill for at least 30 minutes.
For the Apple Filling
8 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1.2-inch slices
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar, for sprinkling
For the Egg Wash
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
Pinch kosher salt
To Make the Sauce
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the heavy cream to hot, but not boiling, 3 to 4 minutes
2. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, and water and heat until amber in color (live clover honey), about 10 minutes. Immediately remove the caramelized sugar from the heat. (Please be careful when caramelizing sugar-no kids in the room. Hot sugar is a very bad burn.)
3. Slowly pour the cream into the caramel, stirring with a wooden spoon. Stir in the butter and vanilla. Let cool to warm.
To Prepare the Pie Crust
Roll out the dough into two rounds 14 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick. Gently fit one into a 10-inch pie plate and lay the other flat on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to assemble, at least 30 minutes.
Before you make the Filling
Position a rack in the bottom third of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum.
To Make the Filling
1. In a large bowl, stir together the apples, zest, flour, sugar, and salt to combine.
2. Stir the caramel sauce (which should be warm but not hot) into the apples.
To Complete the Pie
1. For the egg wash: Whisk together the egg, heavy cream, and salt with a fork.
2. Pour the caramel apple filling into the unbaked pie shell. Brush the edges of the crust with some of the egg wash.
3. Place the second dough round on top of the filled pie shell. Fold under the edges and crimp.
4. Brush the top crust with the egg wash and sprinkle with the 2 teaspoons sugar. Cut 4 steam vents in the top crust.
5. Place the pie plate on the freshly lined cookie sheet. Bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes, or until the juices are bubbling and thick and the apples are tender. Remove to a wire rack to cool before serving.
This pie is best served warm or at room temperature. As with all fruit pies, it is best eaten the day it is baked.
(Next time I am choosing a recipe that doesn't require as much typing! Whew!)