Monday, November 1, 2010

Joey's Salted Caramel Apple Pie


One of the fastest growing flavor trends is the combination of salt and caramel. What originally started as an elite culinary obsession among French and American chefs, has now sprinted its way onto the menus of chain restaurants, gourmet coffee shops, and supermarkets. It's even a favorite at The White House! It makes perfect sense, though, when you think about it.  Everyone knows that salty and sweet compliment each other perfectly! Peanut brittle anyone?  Peanut butter cup? How about some kettle corn?
  I've often said that my favorite dessert in the whole wide world is a hot apple pie with caramel sauce. So, when I saw a salted caramel apple pie being made on a cooking show, I knew I had to try it for myself.
 When I started making it, I didn't really have a recipe. I just started adding things that sounded good to me, and VOILA! It turned out beautifully! As I told Paul, every so often I even impress myself!
   I really hope you'll give it a try!

Ready made pie crust for a 2 crust pie, or my Easy Pie Crust, or your own

1 bag of Kraft caramels (about 50)
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp sea salt

1 lemon
6 tart apples

1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tbs flour

1 egg

1 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 big pinch sea salt

Heat oven to 375F.
Roll out one pie crust and gently place it in a Pyrex pie plate, leaving about an inch of crust hanging over the edge. Set aside.
Unwrap the caramels. Place them in a microwave safe bowl. Add the evaporated milk and microwave until melted. Whisk in 1 tsp sea salt until smooth. Set aside.
Slice the lemon in half, squeeze the juice into a big bowl of cold water, and add the lemon halves as well. As you core and peel the apples, drop them into the lemon water to keep them from browning.
In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour.
Now you're ready to put it all together.
Slice the apples as THINLY as you can. If you happen to have a mandolin slicer, even better! As you slice each apple, lay the slices in the pie crust, making sure to overlap so that there are no spaces. Sprinkle with a tablespoon or two of the sugar mixture, then drizzle with about a quarter cup of the salted caramel sauce. Continue layering apple slices, sugar mixture, and caramel until you use everything up, ending with the remaining caramel sauce.
Cut remaining pie crust into strips. (I like to use a pizza cutter). Arrange the strips of crust over the pie. Tuck the edges under, then crimp to make a decorative edge. Gently brush the crust with beaten egg. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle over the top. Finally, sprinkle a little more sea salt over the top.
Place the pie on a baking sheet (just in case it spills over) and place it in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let it stand for at least an hour before slicing. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

If you'd like to get a little fancy, you can use Fleur de Sel, which is a much more gourmet sea salt that is hand harvested in France. If you don't have regular sea salt, you can get away with using kosher salt. I wouldn't use regular iodized table salt because it has a completely different flavor, and it's not as coarse.
Be sure your apple slices are as thin as you can make them, and shingle them in the pie plate so that there are no gaps. This lets the apples cook down on top of each other, resulting in a meatier pie.
It's important to let it sit for a while after you bake it because it needs time to set up. You'll wind up with a much neater slice. Otherwise, it'll fall apart when you cut it.
Oh, and one other thing.... I listed the ingredients in groups just so it's a little easier to follow the recipe. Since the pie has different components, I figured it would be easier to follow if each component's ingredients were grouped together.


Harry said...

Ciao Giuseppe,

Why do you have to bake for 20 min, then turn doen the heat? So it doesnt burn?
I hope all is well in your kitchen.

Joey said...

Hi Harry! You bake 20 minutes at a higher heat so that the bottom crust bakes more quickly (no one likes a soggy bottom!) and then you turn down the heat to cook the apples without burning the top crust! Thanks!!