Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Caramel Apple Pie #41

So, I realize that this one sounds like a very similar concept to the candy apple pie, which I previously made.

They both involve: apples, caramel, a lot of sugar, and they were both pie contest winners.

So there. I just had to put that out there. I know. You know. We all know--and now I just sound defensive...

Any way, here's what was good about this pie: first of all, the filling was good. I'm beginning to believe that precooking your apples a bit before putting them in the crust might just be the right thing to do and is also the only way to combat having a big crust dome (I've been skeptical of this practice and I hope that in the future I can confirm what's best through some experiments). Also, it was like a one-stop-shopping experience, in that you just make caramel with your apples. Now, how's that for a smart, yet deliciously simple trick?
Here's what was mediocre about this pie: the struesel topping. The real reason I made this pie was because of the struesel topping. I was curious about how a crust on top of a struesel would turn out. I dreamed of the best of both worlds combining atop caramely apples and it was...well...meh.

Ryan was with me when I searched for the "toffee bars" that it "calls" for and we had a long debate in front of a not-so-thrilled clerk about what was the best thing to use. Finally we agreed to both be satisfied with scraping the chocolate off a Skor bar and using the toffee innards.

I'm not going to try and convince you that we made the best choice, because despite what I hoped for, the toffee bits just melted into the rest of the pie and there wasn't any toffee crunch or uniqueness to this whole streusel thing. Also, while I grew up loving Skor bars, I now realize that they are not quit the high-quality candy bar I remember sneaking out of my Dad's bulk-sized stash in the garage.

All I'm saying is, I would imagine that homemade toffee (or at least some high-quality toffee) would make a positive difference here. And while we had a hard time finding it in Harlem on a Saturday night, if you do have some positive success or have any good ideas, please let me know.
Here's what was not appealing about the pie: The crust. First of all, it was the most difficult crust that I've ever worked with. It crumbled, it ripped, it was hard to roll out. The crust was too thick and you know what? It was one of the first times I really didn't enjoy rolling one out.  So, if you are making notes about this pie, your second one should be: just use a completely different crust for this recipe.

However, I wouldn't throw this recipe out completely. I think that it has some great potential--most importantly the filling was awesome. But if you're not looking to experiment, I recommend you use the previously mentioned candy apple pie recipe--even though, like I said, they are different!

Caramel Apple Pie
(Winner of the Food Network Pie bake-off 2003)
Pie Crust:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled
4 tablespoons shortening
1/3 cup ice water
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 egg, beaten

6 cups apples
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter

Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon butter
2 toffee bars or 3 ounces chocolate covered peanut or pecan brittle, crushed

Pie Crust:
Chill all ingredients, including the flour and vinegar. Combine the flour, salt and sugar. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles cornmeal. In another bowl, mix water and vinegar with the beaten egg. Add the liquid mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, to the flour mixture, tossing with a fork to form a soft dough.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Peel and slice apples. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl and add apples. Toss to mix. Add vanilla and cream. Melt butter in heavy skillet. Add apple mixture and cook approximately 8 minutes, to soften apples. Turn into pie shell.

Streusel Topping:
Combine the flour and sugar. Mix in butter with fork until coarse crumbs. stir in the crushed toffee bars. Sprinkle over pie. Add top crust. Seal, flute edge and vent top. Brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake 45 minutes longer


  1. I discovered your blog on CJane, and I have to say, these pies (and I like pies) look great. I, too, like to cook the apples a little before putting them in the pie. I usually soften them sliced in a frying pan in a little butter with a tiny bit of sugar added. Then, I pile them in a crust to bake. Yum.

  2. I just adore this blog and am wildly impressed with your commitment!! I wish I had a knack for baking but alas...I do not, so all I can do is just sit in front of my computer, hand on my chin, and dream! xo

  3. I buy Skors pieces by bag when I go over the border to Canada (we're 5 miles away). They used to be available in the states but I haven't seen them in years. They are vital to my favorite cookie recipe, adding that chewy toffee element. If you ever want me to ship any to you, please let me know - way easier than scraping the chocolate off a Skors bar.

  4. I, too, came across your Pie blog thanks to CJane. I'm a mom of 6 and an English teacher at BYU. And my family LOVES your pie blog! I am making the cranberry apple one today. Thanks for the recipes, the inspiration, and the fun ideas! (PS: I used to work as a recruiter for BYU in NY/NY--and NY was my favorite place EVER, so it was WONDERFUL to learn that you are in NY. We love you even more now! Enjoy your NY Fall!)