sweets

salted caramel apple pie

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I don’t love most apple pies.  I prefer its rustic yet more complex cousin, the galette.  This is not my grandma’s secret recipe. No knocks to Mary; she was better at other things liking stuffing cabbage and other pressure cooker related magic.

I’m thinking that many of you will skip this short but sweet lecture on making your own pie crust.  Why does the notion send shivers down the spine of otherwise super confident, competent people?  There is NOTHING to it.  No mystery.  Flour, butter, sugar, salt, and some ice water.  Measured out and mixed together in less than 1 minute.   I'm tempted to go on about how silly it is to buy store bought but...do what you have to do.  I’m not here to pass judgment.  Just know that you can do it.  And people will say things like NO WAY WOW YOU ROCK YOU ARE AMAZING.  Or you can just say you copped out and unfolded some mass manufactured piece of something.  Just sayin’.

salted caramel apple pie

pie crust

2 1/2 c of flour

1 c butter, very cold, cut into at least 32 pieces (Some people I know freeze their butter.  You certainly can try that method or just make sure it is really cold.  The goal is to keep the butter intact as much as possible in the dough.  So much so that you can actually see pea-sized pieces in the raw dough.)

1 t salt

1 t sugar

1/3 c (or so) ice water

Put all of the above into the bowl of a food processor except the water.  Pulse for about 10 seconds.  Slowly add water though the feeder tube and continue to process until it all comes together in a ball.  It should all take about 30 secs from the first whirl of the processor. That's it.  Turn the ball out onto a lightly floured surface. (If you don't have a food processor, you can use a pastry blender. Put the dry ingredients in a bowl, add your butter and start to work it with your blender until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.  Fold in the water until the dough comes together.) Shape into a flat disk and wrap in plastic.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

When you are ready, take your disk and divide it in half.  On a lightly floured surface, start rolling the dough, positioning the rolling pin in the center and working in a circle, careful to not go over the edges (this will slightly toughen the end of the dough)  Work it quickly and evenly into a circle and drape over a pie plate.  Repeat the process with the remaining dough but make more of a rectangular shape.  Cut into eight or ten equal strips.  Weave the lattice over the apples (see below for more info)

the filling

6-7 organic apples, peeled and sliced (I prefer the tartness of Granny Smiths)

1 ½ t cinnamon

1-2 cranks of fresh black pepper

½ t ground cardamom (totally optional)

the topping

8 T unsalted butter, preferably organic

3 T flour

½ c raw sugar

½ c brown sugar

¼ c water

½ c heavy cream

½ t sea salt (even better, use smoked sea salt!)

Preheat the over to 425°F

Line your pan with ½ of the dough, reserving the other ½ for the lattice.  Have your apple mixture ready to go before you start rolling the dough.  It’s important to keep the dough cool so it’s easier to work with and you get all of that buttery goodness in your pie rather than melting onto your counters.  Mound the apples in the pie plate and start cutting your lattice. Make sure and brush off any excess flour from the dough with a pastry brush.

I like the way 8 ribbons look, some prefer 10.  Your artistic call.  When you are done weaving, trim the excess dough to within about 1/2 inch from the edge and pinch around t to make a pretty crust.  I like the drama of the pinch rather than the fork-tined method.  Again, your call.  Place the pie on a baking sheet lined with foil or a silpat. Trust me with this one.  You don’t want to be scraping off the little bits of burnt sugar that will inevitably fall off the pie.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add in the flour to get a little bit of a paste going.  Add the sugars and carefully stir until the sugar is dissolved.  PLEASE be careful.  The sugar will spurt, especially when you add the water and that kind of burn is really painful.  Quickly add in the water,whisk smooth, add the sea salt and heavy cream.

Pour the mixture over the pie until it is totally covered.

Bake and 425° for 15 minutes, reduce the temperature to 350° and continue to bake for another 30-40 minutes until golden.

I like to serve the pie with cinnamon ice cream which you can totally cheat at by softening a pint of really good quality vanilla and stirring in some sweet but spicy Veitnamese cinnamon to your taste.  I like Haagen Daz 5 ingredient vanilla.  Refreeze until set.