Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sweet Melissa Sunday - Double-Crusted Caramel Apple Pie

(Forgive the 45 minute early post...I worked all day today and have to work 8 1/2 hours tomorrow. If I don't post now, it will be 9:30 or later tomorrow night before I will be able to post this.)

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!!

It seemed like it was going to be forever until I got to pick a recipe for our SMS group, and yet, just 6 short months later, here we are with my pick, Double-Crusted Caramel Apple Pie.  I am so excited to be hosting this week(I know I said that already) and I sincerely hope that my choice didn't cause anyone too much trouble. I know there were a few out there with pie crust anxiety.  Hopefully those concerns were for naught. :)

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 chose to use Melissa's All-Butter Pie Dough for my pie. She gives you a choice between that and her Flaky Pie Dough. I had not tried the All-Butter and that's why I picked it. It was super easy to put together. I made it in a bowl with a pastry cutter, but you can also make it in a food processor. How great is that?!

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!)


  1. It's no secret that I love all things chocolate, but it IS a secret that apple pie just might be my favorite pie. This looks perfect and delicious!

  2. Thanks for hosting this week! Although it may have not been a favorite at your house, at the Pi day party I went to, it was a definite hit. It was gone in a span on 10 minutes, but then again, we're all college kids we love food!

    Thanks again for hosting, and it was a lovely choice!

  3. I agree with you about missing out on cinnamon and other spices. I think the spices are very important to an apple pie. I'm not part of this group, but I think you did a fantastic job. Thank you for posting the recipe.

  4. Thank you for hosting this week! I thought the pie was good it just needed more caramel. I told my husband the next time I make a caramel apple pie, I will dump a jar of caramel from the store in it.
    Your crust looks very good and I think your pictures are good too!

  5. Susan, I think you did a wonderful job with the pie. There are some foods that everyone loves and I think apple pie is one of them. I'm relatively new to your blog and I'm trying to catch up on what you've posted. I'm slowly, but surely, getting there. Have a wonderful day...Mary

  6. Thanks for hosting this week! I'm off to start baking my pie right now. Fingers crossed that it turns out as beautifully as yours!

  7. Yours looks so much better than mine did! I forgot to add the caramel and my crust was a dud. I make a candied apple pie that I'll have to post the recipe for one day.

    I was disappointed with my pick for SMS too, although many of the bakers loved it. We're a small enough group that you'll get another chance to pick. My experience hosting taught me that with this book, it's better to make the recipe before picking in case it's a disappointment.

    You can schedule your posts in advance with Blogger. Click on Post Options (above Publish Post) and click on Scheduled At and then put in the date and time you want the post to appear. I would never post anything on time if it wasn't for this!

  8. Susan,

    Awesome post. Nice write up and photos. Apple pie is difficult to photograph. But...we all know its delish! Love hubby's suggestion of pecans!

    Have a great day! Don't work too hard girl!


  9. Susan,
    Thanks for hosting this week. Sorry to hear that you weren't Wow-ed by this recipe. We loved it, but then again, I made so many changes...ha ha (I just can't help myself sometimes). And apple pie without cinnamon is just plain wrong (sorry Melissa, it is), so of course I added cinnamon. I will be posting it later today. Pies (or tarts) is not something I make often, so I really enjoyed your pick. Your crust looks wonderful, btw, I love the big streaks of butter in your dough.

  10. Hi, Susan:

    Thanks for hosting this week. Your pie looks amazing.

    I had issues with the caramel, too. I added water when mine seized and was able to salvage it but like yours it never turned really caramel in color.

    I added cinnamon to mine. I couldn't resist.

    You can schedule your posts in advance with blogger. Go to post options, you can set a date and time.

  11. There seems to be a consensus - great crust, not much for caramel flavor. Maybe if there was more in the pie?

    Thanks for hosting! I unfortunately didn't get to join you because of travels this past week and a half, but plan try this out soon (maybe with more caramel?) Sorry you didn't enjoy it as much as you had hoped!

  12. Hey Susan! Thanks so much for hosting this week - this pie was so much fun to make and eat! I'm a huge apple pie fan and I rarely make them so it was a great treat :)

    I'm with you on the crust entirely - so flaky and delicious! The caramel gave me issues too so I definitely wouldn't repeat that part of the recipe but otherwise I liked it quite a bit. Sorry it was disappointing for you. It's tough when your choice doesn't live up to expectations.

    I was going to mention to you that you can schedule posts for the future, but I saw that Leslie already did - it's really handy!

  13. Thanks for hosting!!! I also loooooved the crust and could not get the caramel to work. But with a little tweaking, I think the recipe could be fabulous. Although I heard absolutely NO complaints from my family, they loved it!! And I loved making it. Thanks again!

  14. Hi Susan, thanks for hosting this week; your pie looks fantastic! I actually did not have a problem with the caramel (I guess I had some caramel karma from the many fails I've had). My boyfriend really enjoyed this pie and managed to eat the whole thing in about five days (I had a bite here and there). I'm sorry it wasn't amazing for you.

  15. Wow! Your pie is amazing. I've never included caramel in it but will have to now! Yum!

  16. Susan,
    Your pie looks great, sorry it didn't rate more than a 4! I have to agree that apple pie needs a touch of cinnamon.

  17. Susan, thank you for hosting SMS this week! I loved the sound of the caramel apple pie and even though my pies personally had some room for improvement, I had a great time baking along with you :)

  18. thank you SO much for choosing this! i loooove baked apples and this fit the bill (as i had 8 apples in my fridge!)

    and a little note for later... when in doubt, just add the dang cinnamon. cinnamon makes the world more delicious ;)

    you are a lovely hostess!!

  19. mmm. anything caramel apple is AMAZING :)

  20. I am totally rolling my eyes. How I love caramel. How I need to pace my sweet intake. Sheesh. I could eat this whole thing. Sorry you missed the FFPW roundup-- but, hey, you've got a month to bake your way through the Pioneer Woman!

  21. Sorry it didn't live up to your expectations, but it looks and sounds sensational!

  22. Hi Susan, thanks for choosing a delicious recipe! I added a bit of cinnamon- and nutmeg- to mine =) Your pie looks, sounds, and must have been delicious..I look forward to seeing more of your posts.

  23. Hi Susan, I finally made this morning (well a quick version of this). Loved it! Thanks for hosting

  24. So sorry that you didn't love the pie, although it sounds like you did love the pie crust, which is an awesome thing.

    Your efforts made one good looking pie!

  25. I think it looks really delicious! It's great that you liked the crust, since you'll be able to use that for other pies. You really don't know if a recipe is a winner until you try it!

  26. Well, it looks phenomenal - sorry it disappointed you a bit. I adore apple pie...but it's gotta have that cinnamon!

  27. I just bought this book after seeing so many SMS posts. Just came today - and I remember seeing this recipe. It looks great - sorry it wasn't your fav - I'll take notes! It's nice to know the baker's opinion too!


Please feel free to comment. I love hearing from others.