It was the caramel drizzle that made you read past the headline, wasn’t it? I knew it! 🙂
I know I’ve posted before about this pie, but that one didn’t have the drizzle. And this time I made the caramel a little differently, too, and tweaked the seasoning on the apples. So I thought I’d share those alternatives here in case they’re helpful to any of you.
First, though, how about a closeup?
Okay, before I get accused of trafficking in food porn, let me move on to the notes and recipes.
So for the caramel, I used less water with the sugar, hoping that would speed up the evaporation necessary to start liquefying the sugar. That seemed to work nicely, and got the sugar to a handsome amber color more quickly. When it hit that point and it was time to add the butter and cream, I used less of those, too.
I also used a bit of light Karo syrup in this batch, adding it right after I took the liquified sugar off the heat and just before stirring in the butter and cream. I needed this caramel to behave really nicely, drizzling onto the crust in an appealing way, and holding that nice drizzled shape. It all seemed to work out rather well.
The apple seasonings and thickeners were different here, too. I cored and peeled my Granny Smiths and Pink Ladies (you can use any combo of apples you like, but I like some tart ones and some sweet-crisp-tangy ones), and stirred them with brown sugar & white sugar, cutting back on those sweets since I knew I would be adding caramel to the inside and outside of this pie. I squeezed in some fresh lemon juice, then added only three seasonings: cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. I didn’t add melted butter. And instead of only flour as a thickener, I used flour and cornstarch. Instead of an all-butter crust, I used my new go-to crust: a butter-and-lard version. Heaven.
So if you want to try this approach, use the amounts below for the filling and the caramel. I’ll give you an abbreviated version of the technique & baking notes, too, which skip over making and rolling of the dough. If you need that, refer to the other version.
- 6-7 medium-sized apples, a mix of tart and sweet-crispy-tangy varieties, peeled, cored and sliced
- 1/3 cup total of dark brown and white sugars
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. cornstarch
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- A few firm squeezes of fresh lemon juice, about 1 Tbsp.
- 1 1/4 cup. granulated sugar
- 1/3 c. water
- 2 Tbsp. light Karo syrup
- 1/4 c. heavy cream
- 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- Mix together the apples, seasonings and thickeners.
- When you've got your bottom crust rolled out and in the pie pan, spoon in about one-third of the apple filling. Reserve 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of the caramel for drizzling on top of the pie and set that aside for later.
- Plop some tablespoons-full of caramel here and there on the apples. Spoon another third of the filling on top. Repeat the caramel blobs. Spoon in the rest of the filling.
- Weave your lattice strips to make the top crust. Roll the edges under and seal and crimp. Chill the pie while the oven is heating to 425, a good 20 minutes.
- Take the pie from the fridge and put it on a lipped, parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Brush the lattice top lightly with egg white. Bake for 15 minutes.
- Reduce heat to 375. Bake for another 40-45 minutes, until the crust is golden and sizzling, and you can hear the filling bubbling.
- Let the pie cool to room temperature. Now it's time for the drizzle. I used a pastry bag and #4 tip for this; you can use a Ziplock bag with a teensy hole cut in one corner if you don't have bags and tips. You can even try drizzling from a spoon, but that doesn't give you much control.
- If your caramel has firmed up too much for easy spooning and drizzling, you might have to warm it in a glass bowl in the microwave. Warm it!! Don't heat it back up to a liquid state! Go easy on the heat; use a low-to-medium setting. You want it barely warm, just soft enough to work with.
- Drizzle the caramel horizontally, then vertically, across the pie, along and between the lattice strips. I piped some caramel into the openings between the lattice strips, too, so it kind of oozed into the filling.