If you’re looking for a change of pace this year, why not try making caramel apple pie? This recipe is simple to follow and results in a delicious, gooey dessert.
Fall is officially here, and that normally means one thing: it’s time to start baking pumpkin pies. Oh wait – But apples are a staple crop of the fall season. My family loves a good apple pie. It is one of my dad’s favorite pies. So, let’s make an apple pie.
Our Family’s Heritage Apple Pie Recipe
We have included our family apple pie recipe that we have been making for over sixty years. My grandmother made this pie, now my mom makes this pie, and now me. When you have a mom and grandmother that are good bakers, it seems like a family tradition that I should be too.
I’m still in the practicing mode.
But today, we’ll share some ideas with you on caramel apple pie filling and our favorite apple pie recipe.
There are so many ways to make an apple pie standout, from the filing to the spices, to the latticework, but why not make a big twist on a classic and make it with caramel!
Caramel apples are a tasty part of fall fun and making an easy caramel apple pie for your next Halloween party, gathering, or even for the holidays is sure to impress.
Apples for Caramel Apple Pie
When it comes to apple pies, there are countless ways to mix up the recipe. But one thing that always remains the same is the need for crisp, juicy apples. After all, apple pie is only as good as its key ingredient!
While there are dozens of different apple varieties out there, not all of them are well suited for baking. So, what are the best apples for caramel apple pie? Granny Smith apples are a classic choice for many reasons. They’re tart apples and firm, which helps them to hold up during the baking process. And their green skin provides a beautiful contrast to the sweet caramel topping.
Another great option is Pink Lady apples. These apples are slightly sweeter than Granny Smiths, so they add a touch of sweetness to the pie without overpowering the other flavors. You can, however, use whatever apple your family likes best in your pies.
Preparing your apples is an important step as well. First, peel your fresh apples and remove the cores. Then, cut the apples up in either thick slices if you like it chunky or thin slices which will cook faster and softer.
Spices for Apple Pie Filling
When it comes to spices, there are a few key ingredients that are essential for any good apple pie filling. First, cinnamon is a must. It not only adds flavor, but it also helps to bring out the natural sweetness of the apples.
Next, nutmeg is a great way to add a little depth of flavor.
And last but not least, allspice rounds things out nicely with its warm, slightly bitter taste. Of course, feel free to experiment with other spices like cloves or ginger. But if you stick to these basics, you can’t go wrong.
What makes a Dutch apple pie?
Dutch apple pie, or sometimes called French apple pie, is made by its characteristic crumb topping instead of traditional pie crust. This topping is typically made of butter, flour, cinnamon and brown sugar. Some recipes take the Dutch apple pie a step farther and put a streusel topping drizzled on as well. So, if you want to make a Dutch caramel apple pie, simply add a crumb topping!
Sides for Apple Pie
Did you know that in Wisconsin there is a law that all apple pies must be served with cheese? It’s not surprising coming from the dairy state, however, apple pie is certainly delicious when paired with dairy products.
A hearty scoop of vanilla ice cream is a staple accompaniment to homemade apple pie in many homes, especially as it pairs with the warmth of a fresh-out-of-the-oven pie.
You can also pair caramel apple pie with homemade whipped cream.
Homemade Pie Crust
Classic apple pie has a buttery and flaky crust. Lard can also be used to make a tasty pie dough. Our apple pie recipe has an easy crust recipe. We use butter, flour, water and egg, but you can add zests or spices into your bottom crust as well.
It is important to mix your dry ingredients together in a medium bowl before using a pastry cutter to cut your butter into your flour mixture. Then add the egg and water and stir slightly. Place in a plastic bag or in plastic wrap and chill. Turn it onto a lightly floured surface and roll to the size you need for your pie pan. Also, use an egg wash on your dough once it’s placed in your pie pan to keep your apple filling from leaking through to the bottom.
Top Crust or No Top Crust for an Apple Pie
Some people love a top crust while others think that it is too much dough to filling ratio. I prefer something that meets in the middle.
A nice thin lattice pie crust on the top of an apple pie is not only pretty but adds the right amount of balance between filing and dough without being overpowering. It is also an easy technique to learn.
Homemade Caramel Sauce
There are a couple of ways you can add caramel to an apple pie. One way is to make a homemade caramel sauce to drizzle over the top either under or over your top crust.
Another is to mix it in with your pie filling, so that it is ooey and gooey throughout your whole pie. Keep in mind this method does make for a slightly runnier pie so your pieces would not hold up as well, but they’ll taste amazing!
Lastly, you can serve up a caramel dipping sauce to put alongside your pie slice on your dinner guest’s plate. This can make the presentation of your pie elevated, but also lets your guest decide how much caramel and added sweetness they want with each bite.
While you can use the easy way and use a pre-made caramel sauce or caramel dip, for this recipe, we used a homemade caramel sauce. Making a homemade caramel sauce can be difficult, but we make candy often and with a candy thermometer, you will be well on your way to making your own impressive caramel sauce.
You can even make this into a salted caramel sauce and season the way you want it. We also preferred to split this caramel sauce between the caramel apple pie filling and then also using it as a drizzle on top of the pie.
So, for a delicious pie, try your hand at making a simple caramel sauce.
The basic ingredients for our sauce are sugar (or brown sugar), butter, cream, light corn syrup, and vanilla. Water helps things not to burn so is an important step to take. You will mix sugar and water until dissolved, then add the butter, then cream, and vanilla. Cook your sauce to about 345 degrees Fahrenheit for the best results. This sauce should be slightly thick when cooled so you’ll want to pour it on your pie warm.
How many apples for apple pie?
When it comes to apples and pies, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The number of apples you need will depend on the size of your pie dish and the apples themselves. For a 9-inch pie dish, you’ll need about 6 to 7 cups of thinly sliced apples. If your apples are on the small side, you may need a few more. On the other hand, if they’re large, you may need fewer.
A deep dish pie plate will also require more apples to fill. In general, it’s better to err on the side of too many apples rather than too few. After all, apples shrink as they cook, so it’s better to have a bit too much fruit than not enough.
Pro Tip. When baking fruit pies, place the pie tin on a baking tray. This will help keep your oven clean as it will catch any fruit juices that bubble up out of the pie plate.
Grandma’s Caramel Apple Pie Recipe
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- 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Cup Shortening
- 4 to 6 Tablespoons Water Cold
Caramel Apple Filling
- 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
- ½ Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- ½ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
- 8 Cups Apples peeled and thinly sliced, about 8 medium to large apples
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar packed in the cup
- ½ Cup Half-and-Half can use whole milk or whipping cream
- 1/2 Cup Light Corn Syrup
- 4 Tablespoons Butter
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Pinch of Salt if a salted caramel flavor is desired add a bit more
- Double-Crust Pastry Directions
- In medium bowl, mix the flour and salt. Add the shortening and cut into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter until there are particles the size of peas. Add the cold water 1 tablespoon at a time combining in the flour mixture after each one. When the dough pulls away from the bowl, it is ready to chill.
- Gather the dough into a ball, divide in half and shape into 2 flat rounds on a lightly floured surface. Wrap each one in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30-45 minutes. This will firm up the dough and help make the pastry flakier.
- Caramel Sauce Directions
- In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the brown sugar, light corn syrup, and half-and-half. Cook whisking gently until the mixture starts to boil. Continue cooking 1 minute, add the vanilla and cook another minute continuing to whisk. The mixture will be thicker and coat the back of a spoon.
- Turn off the heat and cool slightly. Pour the caramel sauce into a jar and refrigerate or in this case, drizzle some onto the apple pie filling before adding the top crust.
- Prepare the Apple Filling
- In large bowl, add the sliced apples, granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Using a spoon, stir to combine.
- Remove the pastry dough from the refrigerator and roll one pastry into a round on a floured surface and floured rolling pin. Roll about 2 inches larger than the pie plate. Transfer the pastry to the pie plate by gently folding into fourths, placing in the pie plate, and unfolding. Another method is to gently roll over the rolling pin and unroll into the pie plate.
- Ease the pastry into the plate and gently pressing against the bottom and sides.
- Spoon the apple pie filling into the pastry-lined pie plate. Dot with butter. Drizzle
- Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1/2 inch from rim of plate.
- Roll out the remaining round of pastry. Cut a few slits into this pastry. This will allow the steam to escape. Place this pastry over the top of the caramel apple pie filling. Trim to overhanging edge of pie plate by about 1-inch.
- Turn the top crust over the bottom crust edges and flute or press together with a fork. Preheat oven to 425 Degrees Fahrenheit. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust. Make sure to poke a knife through the slits in the top to test the apples for doneness. They should be easy to poke the knife through.
- Pro Tip. To make a golden crust, brush the top crust with a beaten egg. Sometimes, I like to sprinkle a bit of coarse sugar to the top too.
- Let the pie cool 1 hour before serving. This allows the juices to set up. If you slice into the pie too soon, it might be a bit runny.
- Serve with a drizzle of the caramel sauce and ice cream.
Your Own Private Notes
- You can use a pre-made pie crust for this recipe too.
- Pro Tip. Save Time. While the pie crust is chilling, I peel and slice the apples to save time. When the apples are ready, the pie crust will be too.
- The caramel sauce can be used on so many other recipes too.
- The keep your oven clean, place the pie plate on a baking sheet. This will catch any juices that bubble over.
- Make sure to poke a knife through the slits in the top to test the apples for doneness. They should be easy to poke the knife through.
- If the edges of the pastry start to brown too much, place a pie shield or aluminum foil on the edges. It is important to bake until the apples are cooked through, and the bottom pie crust is baked too.