The BEST Apple Pie With Caramel Apple Sauce!

recipe

The BEST Apple Pie

The BEST Apple Pie

Dear Reader, I discovered the secret to making apples pies today and I'm very excited to share it with you! It uses an apple pie technique that I had not yet tried.

I paired this apple pie with an apple caramel, a dark caramel flavoured with apples that is just a simple bonus that comes with this clever method of making a pie.

The BEST Apple Pie

Why is my apple pie runny? Common apple pie problems:

1 - How many times have you made an apple pie and there's just a pool of liquid when you cut into it? Apples release juice and you end up with too much liquid in the pie.

2 - Your base becomes soggy as a result as well as undercooked.

3 - There's a big gap as the apples shrink down

4 - The apple filling has a floury texture to it because you use flour to thicken up the juices

The BEST Apple Pie

The key to making the best apple pie is double cooking the apples. This was a revelation to me. Not only do you get a beautifully turned out pie without any added clagginess from flour, but the apples still retain a wonderful bite to them! You would actually think that cooking the apples twice would mean that they would turn to mush but provided you use the right apple (please see below) they will have the most luscious, tender but not mushy bite to them!

The BEST Apple Pie

What is the best type of apple to use for apple pie? You generally want to use apples that hold their shape, particularly if you're going for the stacked look. I used Pink Lady apples but other varieties that are good are Granny Smith, Gala, Fuji, Pippin, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Jonagold. You can of course use a combination of these.

The BEST Apple Pie

Do you peel apples for apple pie? Usually I am a no-peel sort of gal. I hate peeling and also there's lots of nutrients and goodness in the skin. But for apple pies, you generally do want to peel the apples to keep each bite a consistent texture. The beauty of this apple pie is the texture of the apples. Of course you can keep the skin on, just be aware that the skin will add texture to each bite.

The BEST Apple Pie

How to get that pretty stacked look? The truth is, it's a lot of stacking and takes a bit longer than just tossing the apples inside the pie crust (which is also valid and just as delicious if less architecturally sound!). Also try and use apples that are roughly the same size and bigger apples are less time consuming to stack.

Brown sugar vs dark brown sugar: I used dark brown sugar for this pie so the caramel ended up being quite dark. Dark brown sugar has a more intense aniseedy or licorice flavour to it. This isn't an overly sweet pie as most of the sugar goes into the caramel sauce. If you want to add more sugar you certainly can (I've added how much and when as an option in the recipe) but I like not adding the extra sugar in step 4 as it brings out the flavour of the apples.

The BEST Apple Pie

What can I do with the leftover peels and core? Save them to make jam! Apple peels and cores are very high in natural pectin. If I know I am making jam soon then I'll freeze the peel and cores.

I am sharing this apple pie recipe for Father's Day coming up on the 6th of September. I actually made this for Mr NQN (who is a doggy daddy) for his birthday which is the month before Father's Day but it was closer to Father's Day when I actually found time to make it. This cake with all of its layers is bit of a labour of love so you'll want to set aside a bit of time. However, it can also be done in parts over a few days if that's how your schedule works at the moment.

Every year Mr NQN jokes about asking for one particular cake that gave me PTSD. It's the thousand layer apple cake. It took so long and was so fussy that I ended up getting a sore back and neck and I really wish I hadn't started it at all. I think I almost started weeping halfway or maybe I'm just remembering it very dramatically which is entirely possible.

The BEST Apple Pie

This year's birthday or Father's day cake was the sort of pie that halfway through I may have regretted starting only because the stacking was laborious. But once I baked it and tried it all was forgiven. Apple pie would never be the same for me again. And I've told him that he can definitely ask for this apple pie again!

So tell me Dear Reader, do you ever do high effort or time consuming food projects? What is your favourite pie filling?

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella

The BEST Apple Pie With Caramel Apple Sauce

Rated 5.0 out of 5 by 8 readers

An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 75 minutes plus 2.5 hours chilling time

Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes

  • 300g/10.6ozs. flour
  • 50g/1.7ozs. sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 300g/10.6ozs. butter cold, cubed plus extra for greasing the pie dish
  • 112ml/3.8flozs. water

Filling

  • 2kgs/4.4lbs apples
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup/211g/7.4ozs. brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup/100g/3.5ozs caster or super fine sugar (optional for sweeter pie)
  • 30g/1oz. butter, cut into small cubes
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg beaten, for egg wash

The BEST Apple Pie

Using a melon baller to core an apple

Step 1 - Make the pastry as it will need to rest for 1 hour. Process the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt together in a food processor until combined. Add in butter cubes and process until you get a fine, sandy texture. Empty this mixture out onto a clean surface and add just enough water to bind it together (you may not need to use it all). Divide into 2 portions and wrap and rest for 1 hour.

The BEST Apple Pie

Step 2 - Fill a large cast iron pot halfway with water and squeeze the lemon juice into it. Peel and core all of the apples and slice into half moon crescents placing them in the lemon water. When finished, drain all of the apples and add the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

The BEST Apple Pie

Cooling apple slices on a tray

Step 3 - Bring apples a simmer and cook the apples until they can bend but are not mushy or too soft. While they are cooking, gently with a silicon spatula (a wooden spoon isn't ideal for this task) bring the cooked slices to the top and take them out moving the uncooked apples to the bottom of the pot. There will be liquid released from the apples and this will cook the apples at the bottom. It should take around 15-20 minutes in total. Cool the apple slices on two trays making sure that they're drained of liquid.

Step 4 - Once all the apples are cooked, sprinkle the two trays with the extra sugar if you want to make it a sweet pie (I didn't add this but if you like a sweet pie you may want to do this). Also take the remaining apple caramel off the heat and reserve. You can do this step ahead of time and keep the cooked apple slices in the fridge.

The BEST Apple Pie

Step 5 - Butter a deep pie dish well on the base and sides. Take out the pastry 10-15 minutes before rolling out to let it come to temperature which makes it easier to roll. Flour a surface and then flour the top of the pastry and your rolling pin and roll out so that it can fit up the sides of your pie dish. Fold the pastry in half and then gently place it on the greased pie dish. Take the cooled apples and begin stacking them on top of each other until you've used all the apples. Dot with the butter and lemon zest. Glaze the edge of the pie with egg wash.

The BEST Apple Pie

Step 6 - Roll out the other portion of pie dough as you did the previous round and carefully lift and place on top of the apples and press down on the sides and trim the edges and then crimp the edges. Brush with egg wash and cut a vent hole in the top with a sharp paring knife. Rest this pie in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.

The BEST Apple Pie

Step 7 - Preheat oven to 180C/350F and bake the pie for 45-50 minutes. Allow to cool in the dish and then serve with ice cream.

The BEST Apple Pie

The BEST Apple Pie

Step 8 - If you want extra apple caramel sauce, add 2/3 cup of water to the remainder of the apple caramel and 1/2 cup of brown sugar and bring to a boil and then simmer for 3-4 minutes until slightly syrupy. The caramel will thicken on cooling.