Apples are ripe for the picking, and I have done exactly that this week. I’ve messed around with some different combinations of apples and used an apple that I NEVER would have tried in a million years because I figured it was purely an eating apple (an old school “Red Delicious”), but it did make a nice pie. Rule of thumb for baking apple pies: use a combination of apples, and don’t be afraid to try new ones. And if apple pie pisses you off, sub in pears for the apples. It works, quite well.
Caramel Apple Pie was born when I was developing “Bacon Caramel Apple Mini Pies”, a bacon dessert recipe to celebrate the upcoming Iowa State Bacon Expo (October 10th and I’m giving a VIP Family Prize Package in 2 weeks, so stay tuned!). The mini pies turned out so well, I made it again… sans bacon (because I eat that for breakfast too much), and it was fabulous.
Puppy update: Lady is adjusting well today again. She’s never left our side yet and is enjoying riding around with us, sleeping in our bed, resting on my lap while I type this blog post and going to the ball park. She’s got some hunting tendencies already (it is hilarious to watch a small pup like her try to ‘point’ but she did today, at one loony acting killdeer.) Also, no puking in the car or on me today… whew.
I’ve figured out, that if she can see out the window = no puke. Win.
My son is even sharing ‘his’ dog bed with her. I still can’t believe he thought I was buying up all of these puppy supplies (with him in the shopping cart at PetCo on Monday, before anyone had a CLUE that I was getting my husband a dog.) Yes, my son thought I was buying him nearly $150 of puppy crap for his stuffed Labrador that is the size of a small taco.
Serve this pie for breakfast, lunch or dinner. No one will mind!
And… enough with the “I just don’t have anywhere to take a pie” excuse is lame. Try this: take pie to a tailgate, to the field for harvest, to a church potluck, your book club, or unannounced to a ball game. Today our bus driver got a big slice of this pie… maybe he’ll give me the benefit of the doubt and wait for my daughter when we are late, flying down the driveway in the Gator.
People love pie, and love is felt by people who eat pie.
Take away one thing from this post, that isn’t the recipe? BAKE MORE PIE.
XOXO, until next time.
Caramel Apple Pie
Makes one standard sized 8″ pie
For the Crust:
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup butter, cold and cut into 1/2″ cubes
(or lard, or a combo of both, equaling 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup ice water *may add another tablespoon depending on humidity
1 tsp vinegar
Mix dry ingredients together. Cut in cubed butter. Add ice water and vinegar, toss with a fork until mixture sticks together if pinched in the palm of your hand. Pat into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 3o minutes or up to 24 hours.
For the Filling:
4 1/2 cups of baking apples (McIntosh, Cortland, Johnathan, Golden Delicious, Johnagold, etc…) peeled, cored and sliced. (Use a combo of apples, it will give your pie more depth of flavor and an extra texture variance.)
3/4 cup to 1 cup sugar (I’m leaving this up to you. If you have tart apples, use 1 cup. Sweet apples, use less, like 3/4 cup.)
1/4 cup all purpose flour (this is your thickener. If your apples are super juicy, use 1/3 cup of flour)
1/2 tsp of cinnamon (this is conservative, because sometimes cinnamon really can smother delicate apple flavor)
1/2 tsp lemon zest (optional, I love it.)
Juice of half a lemon (optional, I love it.)
Pinch of salt (in everything sweet: You need SALT.)
In a large mixing bowl, mix all filling ingredients together, and stir well until homogenous. Set aside until assembly.
For the Streusel Topping:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
Mash together until crumbly and well mixed.
Roll pie crust to fit the plate, crimp edges decoratively.
Place filling inside pastry lined pie plate.
Cover with streusel topping.
and wrap with foil collar (see instructions below).
Extra Ingredient Alert! You’ll also need caramel sauce for garnish.
Foil Collar: Make one out of a long piece of foil folded into thirds, lengthwise. Wrap this around your pre-baked pie to protect outer crust from becoming too dark.
at 4oo degrees F for 20 minutes
then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for an additional 45 to 55 minutes, or until slow bubbles appear in juices of the pie, around the edges. Remove the foil collar for the last 10 minutes of baking to brown crust up a bit, if needed.
Remove from oven, cool for 3 hours and up to 4 to totally ‘set’ your pie.
Drizzle with caramel sauce.
To bacon-ize this pie:
Chop 4 strips of cooked and cooled bacon and add to filling.
Garnish top of pie, after caramel is drizzled on, with 3 strips bacon chopped and well heated.