Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Apple Caramel Pie

I had never tackled my own pie crust before - I had heard too many horror stories of how easy they are to mess up.  This year though, I braved my fears...and it turned out awesome!  It not only tasted amazing, it looked great too!  For this recipe, I bought a pastry cutter.  It was a smart purchase - it has made so many pastry/bread recipes easier.

2/3 C cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 TBSP pieces
6 TBSP cold vegetable shortening
2 2/3 C flour
2 TBSP sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C ice water

Filling and Topping:
6 medium, Granny Smith apples (about 2.5 lbs)
1 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
1/4 C brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg (or allspice)
1 egg beaten with 2 TBSP heavy cream
1 TBSP sugar mixed with 1/4 tsp cinnamon
caramel sauce

Sift into a mixing bowl the flour, sugar, and salt.
Using a pastry cutter (or two knives) cut the butter and shortening into the dry mixture until large coarse crumbs are formed (About the size of peas).
Sprinkle the ice water over the dough and mix lightly until the dough is moist (but doesn't form a ball).
Move the dough to a lightly floured cutting board.
Divide the dough in half and shape it into two 6" discs.
Put each dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (no longer than overnight).
Peel and thinly slice your apples (I like mine sliced pretty thin).
In a mixing bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice, butter, borwn sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Preheat the oven to 400 and place the baking rack on the lower 1/3 of the oven.
Lightly flour a cutting board and roll each disc into a round shape 2-3" larger than the pie dish.
Lift and rotate the dough many times so it doesn't stick.
Gently place one round of dough in the pie dish and press it lightly to the bottom of the pan.
Spoon the apple mixture into the lined pie dish.
Smooth out the apples on the top.
Using a pizza cutter, slice the other round into 1/2" thick strips.
Lay the strips down one at a time going each direction and layer them.
Neatly fold any excess crust over the strip patter and pinch the edges of the pie crust to make it look finished.
Brush the top of the pie crust with the egg and cream mixture.
Sprinkle the top with the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
Bake your pie for 15 minutes.
Leaving the pie in the oven, reduce the temperature to 350 and back for about 40-45 minutes until the crust is lightly browned and the apples in the filling are tender when pricked.
Remove from the oven, drizzle with caramel sauce, and let it cool on a wire rack.

Adapted slightly from the Williams-Sonoma Cooking Essentials.

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