Friday, December 28, 2012

The Best Apple Pie I've Ever Eaten

Yes. I ate such a pie on Christmas Day and the day after.

I love apple pie and therefore I've eaten a lot of apple pies. This trumps them all! I even got props from my mom whose apple pies have won contests. She said it was the best one she'd ever had. Yay!! SUCCESS!!

Now this recipe is not for the weak. It takes about 4 hours and has lots of steps, but totally worth it. And, yes, I did make my own pie crust. Eat your heart out, Martha Stewart.

Thanks to Ladies' Home Journal for providing this recipe for me.

Without further ado, I give you ...

Salted Caramel Apple Pie.

1 recipe Perfect Piecrust (see recipe below)
3 pounds baking apples, such as Gala or Golden Delicious, peeled and cored
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup Salted Caramel Sauce (recipe follows)
Egg wash
Crystal sugar
1. Line a 9-inch pie pan with 1 rolled-out crust; trim edges, leaving a 1/4-inch overhang. Place in freezer until ready to fill, or at least 20 minutes.
2. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. with rack in the bottom third. Cut apples into 1/4-inch-thick slices and toss in a large bowl with lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cornstarch. Add 1/2 cup Salted Caramel Sauce and toss to combine. Pour apples into chilled pie shell and return to freezer.
3. Roll remaining crust to a 13-inch circle. Use a paring knife to cut slits or small designs on the top. Brush rim of bottom crust with egg wash and cover with second crust, sealing the edges. Trim edges as necessary and crimp. Brush pie with extra egg wash and sprinkle with crystal sugar; freeze pie again until crust is cold, about 20 minutes.
4. Bake pie on a foil-lined baking sheet until crust begins to brown, about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees F. and bake until crust is golden and juices bubble, 50 to 60 minutes more. (If crust browns too quickly, tent pie with foil.) Cool pie and serve slices with Salted Caramel Sauce. Serves 8.
Salted Caramel Sauce
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Combine 1/2 cup water, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved, then remove spoon.
2. Brush inside edges of pan with water to dissolve any sugar crystals. Reduce heat to medium, then allow mixture to boil, gently swirling pan occasionally. Cook to a light amber color, 20 to 25 minutes, remove from heat and stir in cream and butter with a clean spoon (mixture will bubble, then settle). Stir in vanilla and set aside to cool. Sauce can be refrigerated for up to a month. Makes 1 1/3 cups.

Perfect Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup chilled shortening
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 cup very cold water
1. In a food processor pulse together flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter and shortening. Pulse 8 to 10 times or until mixture resembles coarse crumbs and some of the butter is pea-size. (Alternately, combine in a bowl using a pastry blender or a fork.)
2. Combine vinegar with cold water. While pulsing crumb mixture in processor, drizzle in just enough water mixture to form dough, 1/3 to 1/2 cup. (Dough will hold together when you pinch it.) Halve dough, wrap in plastic wrap, and press into disks. Chill for 1 hour or until ready to use. May be frozen for up to 2 months. Makes 2 single crusts.

You're welcome.