This apple pie is the perfect combination of the best flakey and flavorful pie crust, tart green apples, warm spices, and loads of delicious caramel! This pie is guaranteed to become your new favorite!
Why this recipe works:
All the flavors work together perfectly in this pie.
There isn’t too much or too little of anything. The pastry is very flakey and has tons of flavor (there isn’t anything I can’t stand more than a tasteless pie crust, which is also why I am a firm believer in a butter pie crust).
The apples are tart because my favorite caramel apples are made with super tart Granny Smith apples. And there is just enough cinnamon and allspice to make this a true apple pie.
Lastly, this recipe is perfect because of the homemade caramel. (you can use store-bought, but homemade really makes this special). The caramel sauce is cooked until it’s a deep amber brown, which gives it loads of flavor, and then it is spiked with a bit of bourbon to make it even better.
- Butter: Butter is incredibly important in pie crust. Butter not only adds fat and flavor, but it is what helps create all the flakey layers.
- All-purpose flour: flour adds structure to the pie dough; it’s what holds all the butter together.
- Water: Water helps hydrate and bind the pie dough together
- Bourbon: bourbon is used both in the pie crust and in the filling and it helps to make a really flakey crust. Part of the alcohol evaporates and makes a very flakey crust. The bourbon also adds a gorgeous flavor to the filling. You can use any bourbon but I used Woodford Reserve for this recipe.
- Fresh Granny Smith Apples: fresh and tart Granny Smith apples are used to make this wonderful apple pie filling.
- Homemade Bourbon Caramel Sauce: making your own caramel lets you control how much the caramel is cooked. Since you will be baking the sauce right into the pie, I like it to get a very deep brown (almost burnt), which helps keep the caramel taste prevalent after baking.
HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE:
This recipe is so easy to throw together!
Time needed: 3 hours.
- Start by making the pastry. Add the flour, salt, and sugar to a food processor and pulse and few times to blend everything together. Next, add in the butter, water, and bourbon; lightly pulse.
- Lightly knead on a well-floured surface, and divide into 2 disks. Chill for 1 hour.
- Next, make the caramel sauce.
Mix the sugar and water together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, until the mix begins to change color and becomes a very deep amber color. Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the cream and bourbon. Set aside to cool and thicken for about 30 minutes.
- Next, make the filling by mixing the apples with the cinnamon, allspice, lemon juice, and cornstarch.
- Roll out the dough, place one layer in a 9-inch pie pan, and pour in the apple filling. Pour all of the caramel on top of the apples. Cut the other layer into 1-inch strips and weave on top of the filling to make a lattice top.
- Cover with an egg wash and coarse sugar and bake!
Tips and tricks for this recipe:
- Keep all the pastry ingredients cold. The cold butter in the pie crust is what makes all the nice layers in the pastry.
- Use the good fatty butter. My favorite for pastry is Kerry Gold.
- Chill, but don’t freeze the dough. The goal is to make sure that the butter is nice and firm, but that the dough is still workable.
- Chill the dough between all steps. Once you roll it and put the bottom layer in your pie pan, chill it while you finish your filling.
- The trick to caramel is to get it nice and brown but not burnt. Once it gets to a deep amber color, remove it from the heat. I like to use a light-colored pan for this. It helps you see the color better.
- Gently swirl the pan from time to time to distribute the heat, do not stir the mixture while it’s cooking.
- If the caramel starts to crystalize, return the pan to low heat and stir until smooth. Let it sit for about 30 minutes so that it can cool and thicken.
While you can use any apple, Granny Smith apples are the ones traditionally used for apple pie. They are just a little bit tart and make a great apple pie slice.
Pie’s take a while to bake. You want to make sure that you give your pie crust enough time to bake the bottom thoroughly. No soggy bottoms here! Start baking it at 400 degrees for 20 minutes and then lower the temp to 350 and bake for about 80 more minutes. Start checking the pie at 60 minutes to make sure it doesn’t start to burn. You are looking for a very brown crust.
This recipe can be left covered at room temperature for 2-3 days.