There’s nothing better than homemade Apple Pie. Except maybe Salted Maple Caramel Apple Pie.
It’s one of the most wonderful times of year: apple season. The weather is turning crisp, the apple trees are in full bloom, and the pie can be smelled wafting through many a kitchen.
One of my favorite apple picking stories happened during my second year at college in New York City. My friend Sarah and I bought bus tickets from the big apple to apple country (aka the Hudson Valley aka the most beautiful valley I’ve ever been in). We woke up extra early on a Saturday, donned plaid shirts and leather boots, and took a 2 hour trip into the countryside.
All we packed was a huge backpack, a knife, and a jar of crunchy peanut butter.
We made it to the apple orchard and began picking. We were determined to bring as many apples as we could back to our friends in the city.
When we found a particularly delicious tree, we’d sit under it, unscrew our jar of peanut butter, and feast. Then we’d walk for five minutes and do it all over again.
By late afternoon, our bags were packed as full as they could be, so we hopped back on the bus and returned to the city.
Upon stepping out of the bus, the driver said to us “have a good visit in the city!”
Sarah and I turned to one another in our plaid shirts, backpacks, and dirt on our shoes, realizing his assumption of us. We didn’t quite look like city slickers, I guess. Oh well.
Without a doubt, my favorite way to cook with apples is in a pie. Fruity, spiced, and crunchy. Buttery and delicious. It’s just magical.
What makes this particular pie so special is the Salted Maple Caramel filling. It takes 10 minutes, tops, so don’t go skimping because it’s SO worth it. I only used a half recipe for this pie, but I would actually suggest making a full recipe, then drizzling more on top of the pie as you serve it.
for the perfect pie crust
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup salted butter, cold, cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 3 to 4 tablespoons vodka
- 1 egg, for egg wash (can also use heavy cream)
- 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
For the apple filling
- 5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into thin strips
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 recipe of salted maple caramel
make the pie crust
- In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and salt. Cut butter into small cubes, then work butter into flour mixture using a pastry blender or large forks until it resembles a coarse meal.
- Pour in buttermilk and 3 tablespoons vodka, then mix everything together using your hands. Work quickly as to not melt the butter. If dough is too dry, add in another tablespoon of vodka. Form dough into 2 equal sized disks and wrap each with plastic wrap. Place in fridge for at least 1 hour, but up to 2 days.
make the pie
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a pie plate with butter.
- Over a large work surface, roll out one of your pie disks into a large circle big enough so that it will drape over the edges of your pie plate (i.e. if your pie pan is 9 inches, roll it out to 11 inches). Fit it into pie plate by gently patting it onto the edges of the pan. Place in fridge while you mix the apple filling.
- Cut apples into thin strips. Soak them in the lemon juice as you go so they don't turn brown.
- In a large bowl, combine apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and vanilla extract. Remove pie from fridge and layer in apples (try your best to lay them flat-- this will help in cooking). If there is any fruit juice in your bowl, don't pour them in- it will just make your pie soggy.
- Drizzle salted maple caramel over apple filling. Mmmmmm.
- Roll out second pie disk into a circle big enough so it reaches the edges of the pie pan. Cut dough into various sized strips, the create lattice pattern on top of your prepared filling. To make my pie extra pretty, I weaved two thin strips together and placed them around the edges of the pie.
- Brush pie dough with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
- Bake for 1 hour, then remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 45 minutes (I know this part is hard, but trust me). Devour!