Seven Thanksgivings ago I was asked to make a dessert. I was pretty new to making up my own recipes or even modifying existing recipes. I decided to make an apple pie. The only thing I looked up was what type and how many apples to buy. Everything else I just kinda guessed at. I found some caramel apple dip in the pantry and knew immediately that I had to put it in the pie. I had never heard of caramel apple pie but thought it might just turn out amazing. And like always, I didn’t write down what I did, but it sure was amazing. I have been making this caramel apple pie for years for friends and everyone seems to really love it. I have altered things here and there but the basic idea has stayed the same.
So when I started planning for 4th of July desserts, I thought I totally had to make caramel apple pie…
but add pecans. Because lets face it, pecans are awesome!
Pie Crust: This is my go-to pie crust recipe. I’m not sure where I got it but I have been using it for years.
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1/2 cup chilled shortening, cubed
up to 1/4 cup cold water
2 1/2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped pecans
5-7 apples, any variety – I use to always mix two or three different kind because it made for a more interesting texture
1/4 cup sugar
heaping 3/4 cup caramel apple dip or caramel topping
1/4 – 1/2 cup flour
about 1/2 cup pecan pieces
1 Tablespoon water
1/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 375º. My oven runs a little cool so if your oven runs hot, definitely bake the pie at 350º.
Peel and core the apples.
Slice the apples and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of sugar, toss and set aside for at least 30 minutes. In this time the sugar will pull moisture out of the apples so it can be poured off and not make the pie watery.
Hand mix the butter and shortening into the flour by gently smashing the butter into the flour with your fingertips. The mixture should become the consistency of wet sand and still have little nuggets of butter and shortening the size of peas. I made this on a rainy afternoon and did not need to add any water to have the mixture stick together, but if its dry you can add up to 1/4 cup of cold water, a little at a time, until the dough holds together when squeezed.
Ball up the dough in two separate disks and chill in the fridge until needed. This crust can be made a day or two in advance and kept in the fridge until needed.
Now somehow, and I’m not sure how because I was home alone, but quite a few of the sugar coated apples were mysteriously eaten. Crazy mystery but those apples are delicious!!
Just try to get the apples as dry as possible.
Then pour on the caramel apple dip/topping. I originally used three little single serving size apple dip but I couldn’t find it at the grocery so I got the caramel topping in a jar that you drizzle on top of ice cream.
Toss this all together. You can add more flour if needed. You don’t want the mixture too wet. The apples will release more liquid as they cook. As the flour heats up it will absorb the liquid and create a nice sauce.
At this point you might be kicking yourself for having eaten so many apples that were just covered with sugar earlier. Because let me tell you, NOW would have been a better time to be stealing apples from the bowl.
Pile the apples in the pie crust. Fit them in there nice and tight, get them all in there. While in the oven they will cook down, so fill that pie crust as full as you can.
This is the most important part of the recipe. I have made this pie many times and for the longest I kept having a very thin sauce when the pie came out of the oven. I couldn’t figure out why my very first pie was so good and the other ones were so watery. I have since figured out that there are four steps to have a successful caramel apple pie.
1. You have to let the apples and sugar macerate to release liquid from the apples and make sure to get the apples as dry as possible before adding the caramel.
2. Add enough flour to make the caramel thick.
3. You must have lots of places for steam to escape and evaporate as the pie is cooking.
4. Allow the pie to cool completely before cutting into it.
So here is what you have to do with the top pie crust: use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes to make the top crust. I always use stars because the points provide lots of places to connect them together. The large spaces between leave lots of room for the liquid to evaporate. Not only that, but it just looks dang festive!!!
Brush the top crust with 1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon of water. Sprinkle the whole thing with sugar. Pop the sucker in the oven and let it bake for about 45 minutes. Keep a close eye on the crust, if it begins to get too dark, cover it with foil and allow to continue baking.
Oh so good!