Salted Caramel Apple Pie

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Ever since I watched this video of MasterChef winner Christine Ha make an apple pie and Chef Gordon Ramsey revealing that he does, indeed, have a heart, I had wanted to make an apple pie myself. If you have no idea what I am talking about, you have to watch the video. Did I mention that she is blind but still has the incredible capability to win such a competition?! It makes me want to cry every time.

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I’ve always been intimidated by pies. Not the graham cracker crust kind of pies, but the cut in the butter, roll out the dough, fill and roll on the top crust kind of pie. I think my intimidation comes from seeing so many Food Network pie competitions and the fact that it is America’s most popular pie. I’ve avoided it for years but while grocery shopping the other day, I saw that apples were on sale! And so I saw that as a sign that I just had to conquer the fear and do it.

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It was not as bad as I thought it was. Actually, it was a lot easier that I thought it would be and turned out a whole lot better than I thought. I had my go-to flaky pie crust that I made in the past for a baby shower and I decided to just use the same recipe since it’s easy and almost fool-proof. I made the dough the night before and made two disks of dough– one for the bottom crust and one for the top. All I had to do today was was roll it out. When you are ready to transfer the dough from the table to the pie pan, use the rolling pin to wrap around and roll. Then, you can easily transfer the dough on top of the pan and unroll it out.

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Then came the filling. While I love me some apple pie, I forgot that I had to peel them. I hate peeling things. Potatoes, apples, oranges, mangos, you name it. If I have to peel it, I better really love it. When I finally got over my annoyance of peeling things, I enjoyed the therapeutic sound of apples being sliced and the blade of the knife rhythmically hitting the wooden chopping board. Is that weird? Slicing the apples are so effortless. Peeling, not so much.

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To the sliced apples, I squeezed out the juice of one whole lemon and mixed it in to prevent the apples from browning. Some recipes only call for a tablespoon of lemon juice, but because my filling is going to be quite sweet, I used the whole lemon to offset it. In a separate bowl I mixed in the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar. I added it to the apples and made sure they were all nicely coated. I filled the apples into the dish.

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And then came the caramel. Oh, how I love this salted caramel sauce.

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I bought it at the Good Food Award several weeks ago in San Francisco and have been saving it for just the right dish. This caramel is thick and creamy while being smooth and silky. The sea salt is not overpowering but its presence is unmistakable. Just let it slowly drip into the crevices of the apples.

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Ugh so good.

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After the caramel is drizzled on, roll out your top crust and gently set it on top of the apples. Take scissors and cut both the bottom and top crust at the same time, leaving at least a half inch boarder of crust sticking out of the pan.

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Then, using your two fingers, you first want to fold top layer of dough underneath the second bottom layer of dough, pinching it closed as you go along. The point of this isn’t to create a pretty boarder, but to rather make sure both the top and the bottom crusts are sealed. Now instead of the half inch boarder hanging off the side, the crust should come up to just the edge of the dish. Once this has been done, you can crimp the crust and make it look pretty.

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Then, I brushed the top crust with a beaten egg wash and heavily dusted on cinnamon sugar. I cut four slits into the top to allow steam to escape during baking and set it into the oven to bake.

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Forty very long minutes later, the apartment smelled glorious and the pie was ready. You can tell it is ready when the top crust is deliciously golden brown and firm. You need to allow it to cool for at least two hours so the filling can set, but the wait is well worth it. You can still see specks of sugar and cinnamon on top!

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As you cut into the pie, it still maintains it’s structure and doesn’t mush down like applesauce.

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I’ve only just made this pie and am pleased to say there are zero slices left. I must say, this one is a winner!

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Salted Caramel Apple Pie

makes one 10inch pie

Chilled Flaky Tart Shell divided into two disks, recipe below

5 large and fully ripe gala apples, pealed, cored, and thinly sliced.

juice of 1 lemon

1/3 c flour

1/4 c sugar

1 Tbsp + 1 tsp ground cinnamon (4 teaspoons total)

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1/3 c salted caramel sauce

1 egg, beaten

Cinnamon Sugar for dusting (1/4 c sugar + 1 Tbsp cinnamon)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Pour the lemon juice over sliced apples and toss so it is all coated. In a small bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the apples and toss until it is evenly coated. Set aside.

Roll out one disk of dough onto a floured surface until it is at least 14 inch in diameter. If the dough begins to soften and warm up, place on a baking tray and return to the refrigerator until it has chilled and firmed up. Use a rolling pin to transfer the dough into a glass baking dish. Fill the dish with the apples and drizzle the caramel sauce all over. Roll out the second disk of dough until it is at least 12 inch in diameter. Use a rolling pin to transfer on top of the apples. Take a pair of scissors and cut away the excess dough, leaving a half inch boarder of crust hanging out of the side of the dish. Fold the top crust under the bottom crust and pinch to close and seal the two together. Then, crimp the crust whichever design you want.

Beat the egg and using a pastry brush, brush the entire top of the crust. Liberally dust the cinnamon sugar over the top and using a knife, cut four slits into the top.

Place the pie on the lowest rack and bake at 425 degrees for the first 10 minutes. Then, decrease the temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes, until the top crust is firm and golden brown.

Allow the pie to cool for at least 3 hours before serving so the filling can set. Enjoy!

Flaky Pie Crust

Recipe from Tartine Bakery

1 tsp salt

2/3 c water

3 c + 2 Tbsp flour

1 c + 5 Tbsp chilled butter, cut into cubes

In a food processor, pulse the butter and flour until it forms large crumbs. Add salt and water unti dough comes together as a rough ball. Roll out onto a floured surface and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before using.

When ready to use, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out to 1/8 inch thick and roll into desired pans. Pierce holes in the bottom using forks, line with parchment paper, and use baking beans to weigh it down. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 min, remove baking beans and parchment paper, then finish baking for 3-5 more minutes. Cool completely. Because there is already so much butter in the shell, it should come out easily.

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The PECHERPLE

This cake most definitely takes the cake. Haha, pun definitely intended.

I made this cake for our church’s annual Thanksgiving potluck. I knew that there would be pumpkin pie, blueberry pie, fruit tarts, cookies, the usual and expected things. But this year, I wanted to try something different and do something no one has possibly ever seen before. And that is when I thought to make the “Pecherple.”

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The idea comes from the “Cherpumple” which I took the concept from, but the only difference is, I used a different inside pie and outside cake. For mine, the Pecherple are 3-6in pies; Peacan Pie, Cherrie Pie, and an Apple Pie all baked into their own cake layer of spice and yellow cake from cake mix, then layering them all together into one giant cake. And I kid you not, this cake is a monster. I even downsized it by an inch diameter but it was still huge. The original Cherpumple uses 3- 8in Cherry, pumpkin, and apple pies baked into 3- 9in yellow, spice, and white cake mix. I cannot even begin to imagine how huge that must be and how much it weighs.

The ingredients of this cake are fairly simple. Three pies, three cake mix boxes, and the ingredients that are stated on the cake box. You mix up all three batters, and take your cake pan and sink a pie into each batter, making sure it is all covered. Bake until the batter is completely done and set it out to cool completely. Once it is cooled, turn it out and ice with cream cheese frosting. There are several variations people use for their frosting but I always use my own because I must say so myself, it’s pretty fab.

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The finishing product came out to be a cake over one foot tall weighing more than 10 pounds. I had to have my little sister sit in the back seat holding the cake making sure it wouldn’t topple over on itself while I drove it to church. Not only that, but I had to stick kebob skewers into it to keep it straight up.

This is most definitely a bake-once-in-a-lifetime kind of cake because of the sheer size of it. Just keep in mind that it uses three whole cake boxes. I did not even know how to make the first slice into it since it was so huge! While this concept is a little bizarre, this turned out much better than I had thought it would, fed so many more people than I thought it would, and was well worth the try.

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Pecherple

adapted from The Cherpumple by Charles Phoenix

feeds 50 people

3- 6in pies (Pecan, cherry, and apple)

3 boxes of cake mix of any flavor (I used 2 spice cake and 1 yellow)

eggs, oil, and water according to the box mix directions

Cream Cheese Frosting, double the recipe, recipe follows.

Chopped Walnuts, optional

Mix each cake batter according to the directions on the box. Butter and flour 3- 8in cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper. Pour 1/3 of each cake batter into its own pan. Place one pie in each, and pour the rest of the batter in, making sure to completely cover the pie. Bake the cake according to the box instructions.

Once the cake layers are completely baked, they must cool completely. To layer, make sure the cherry is on the very bottom as it contains the most juice and is most prone to drip. Slather the entire cake with cream cheese frosting and top with walnuts.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 box powder sugar, sifted

1 stick butter, room temperature

1 box cream cheese, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, whip the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until smooth. Add in vanilla. On low speed, slowly add in powder sugar until smooth and creamy, and it is ready to use!