The temperature has finally dropped and it's really starting to feel like Fall in NYC! Since apple season has officially arrived, what better way to celebrate than with a delicious apple pie? This recipe is inspired by Brooklyn-based pie shop, Four & Twenty Blackbirds, and kicks your traditional apple pie up a notch with homemade salted caramel sauce. I made it a few days ago and it was amaaazing.
Pie Crust (makes enough dough for 1 double-crust pie):
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 sticks cold, unsalted butter
- 1 cup cold water
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup ice
- 6-7 apples (I like to use a mix of Granny Smith and Gala Apples, but you can use any apples you'd like)
- 2 lemons
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 sea salt
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Egg wash (1 large egg lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon cold water and 1 pinch of kosher salt)
The Pie Crust.
To prepare the crust: stir the flour, salt, and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Take both sticks of butter and cut them into 1/2 inch pieces. Drop the butter pieces into the mixing bowl and begin combining the ingredients together using a spatula or your hands. Keep mixing until the butter turns into tiny pieces.
In a separate bowl, combine the water, apple cider vinegar, and ice. Drop a few spoonfuls of the water mixture into your batter, mixing it together with your hands, and then adding a few more spoonfuls of the water mixture. Continue doing this until your batter comes together in a ball of dough (note: you may not need all of the water mixture).
Since you're using this dough for both the bottom and top of your pie crust, divide the ball in half and flatten each section into a disk. Cover each disk separately with cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 min (note: if you want to make this even further in advance, the dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days).
Remove the dough from the fridge and let it sit on the counter for 15 min before rolling it out. While you're waiting, grease the bottom and sides of a pie dish and set it aside. Roll out one of the disks of dough until it's slightly larger than your pie dish. Next, drape the dough over the dish, gently pressing the dough into the bottom.
Your bottom crust is now complete! Put the dish in the fridge so the bottom has time to set while you work on the top and prepare the filling.
Now there are a number of ways to prepare the top of a pie crust but for this pie, I wanted to make a lattice top. Doing so takes only a few extra minutes and the end result looks really beautiful. If you have the time, I really recommend it! Here's how to make a lattice top:
- Roll out your dough so it's roughly the same size as the bottom crust that you prepared
- Next, take a pizza cutter (or a sharp knife) and slice the dough into strips about 1/2 inch thick
- Set the strips of dough aside (try not to pick them up so they don't lose their shape)
- That's all there is to it!
Caramel Sauce: Now for the fun part! Homemade caramel sauce is surprisingly simple to prepare. Bring 2 cups of granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of water to a boil in a saucepan on the stove. Reduce the heat to medium and whisk together until the mixture turns a light caramel color. As soon as it turns, remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly pour 1/2 cup of heavy cream into the mixture. Whisk together until fully combined and set aside to cool while you prepare the apple filling. You've just made caramel sauce from scratch!
Apple Filling: Now it's time to prepare the apples. First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Then peel, core and slice the apples as thinly as possible. Place in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Juice 2 lemons into a small bowl, being careful to remove any seeds that fall in. Pour the lemon juice onto your apples and toss together so all slices get coated in the juice. Mix your spices (cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, salt) along with 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle on top of the apples. Gently toss the apples with your hands so all pieces get coated with the spice mixture. Apple filling is now complete!
Remove your bottom pie crust from the fridge and begin arranging your apple slices in the dish. There's no wrong way to do this, but I like to layer them as tightly as possible so there's very little space in between the slices. Keep arranging until all of the apples are in the pan, piling the slices slightly higher in the center of the pie. Next, take your cooled caramel sauce and pour it over the apples. Note: the more caramel sauce you use, the sweeter your pie will be -- so feel free to only use some of the sauce if you don't want it too sweet. Lastly, sprinkle some coarse sea salt on top of the apple and caramel mixture.
At long last, it's time to place the lattice top on your pie. This takes a little finesse, but regardless of how you arrange it, I promise the pie will still look beautiful in the end.
Place one strip vertically on the left-hand side of the pie and work your way across the top (using 4-5 strips). Take one of the remaining strips and place it horizontally across the bottom of the pie, weaving it in and out of the vertical strips. Continue with the rest of your strips until the entire top is covered. Fold the extra pie dough from the bottom crust over the top. Either crimp with a fork or pinch tightly with your fingers.
Paint the top of the pie crust with your egg wash and you're finally ready for baking!
Place the pie dish on a baking sheet and pop it into the oven for about 30 min (or until the crust turns golden brown) at 400 degrees F. When the crust looks ready, remove from the oven and let it cool for 3 hours before serving. Here's what the finished pie will look like: