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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Raspberry Sea Salt Fudge Brownies

Photo Jun 12, 9 47 58 PM

I love my conversations with my grandma. A lot of times in the afternoon, either she will come into my room just to talk about something, or I will be making something in the kitchen and she will be sitting at the table and we will just be talking about life. In this brownie making session, our conversation was about her husband, my grandpa, Agong. Although he was just two rooms over, he couldn’t hear any of our conversation as he was playing a particular fishing game on his iPad with the volume on high. And because of that, it got my grandma talking and telling her stories….

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The Fishing Game

While we were in Vietnam, we stopped by a small restaurant. Sitting there was a wife and a husband, whom we have become acquaintances with. On that day, the husband was just sitting there with an iPad. Agong goes over and asks what he’s doing and the old acquaintance says, “You’ve never played this before? It’s a fishing game that you can play on your iPad! Here let me show you.” So Agong watched while his old acquaintance played a round of fishing on the iPad and Agong’s interest in the game grew. The old friend then told Agong to come by the next day and he will teach Agong how to play. And so, the next day, Agong left at 3 to learn how to play the game of fishing on the iPad. He didn’t return until 7 at night! Oh I did not know what was taking him so long! He did not even come back for dinner! When he finally returned I asked him if he learned well, and Agong said “No, He didn’t teach me all of it because I would just forget it. So I am going to go back tomorrow to finish learning how to play.” Ahyoh what could I say? So the next day Agong went back and finished learning how to play. Now, it doesn’t matter he can play for hours into the night. Like right now. I bet he just caught another fish.

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Getting Old

Sigh…ever since your grandpa got old he isn’t very romantic anymore! Why, my favorite color is pink! Shouldn’t that give it away enough that I like that kind of stuff? Let me tell you…when we used to fight, I would able to give him the silent treatment for three days. (At this point my grandma was looking very proud of herself.) And Agong not being able to stand it, would cave in only after one day and be the first to come talk to me. But now that he’s older, I just let it go. Do you know that one time someone came up to us, pointed at me and asked him, “Is this your daughter?” Haha sigh he’s getting so old, but at least I am still looking young!

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The Lawn Mower

Just a couple days ago, Agong woke up at 4AM with a loud shout “AHYOH!” I thought he had a nightmare or something was wrong and I was really scared for him! I asked him what was wrong and let me just tell you….Last week, Agong and I went to the farmers market. You know the one on De Anza? Well, you know how theres a whole lot of antique items or discounted items? Agong found this one lawn mower that was actually very good quality and still worked and everything. Agong asked the seller how much it was, and the seller said “Since you are a senior, I’ll give it to you for only $10.” What a deal! Only $10 Agong was so happy. He paid the seller the money, but since we haven’t finished looking around the flea market, and since we didn’t want to push the lawn mower across the whole way, we asked the seller if we could leave it there and come back for it later. He agreed and we went on. Well, we did some more shopping and Agong was very excited about his new golf club and umbrella for his golf cart. SO excited that we FORGOT to go back for the lawn mower! And it wasn’t until a couple nights ago that he woke up at FOUR am remembering that he left it there! I said to him “I thought you had a bad dream or something” and he replied “I did!” So since the flea market only comes on the first Saturday of each month, he is going to go back to see if the lawn mower is still there so his $10 does not go to waste. Hopefully, it is still there….

I love my grandparents, they crack me up.

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Raspberry Sea Salt Fudge Brownies

recipe adapted from Sallys Baking Addiction

1/2 c salted butter

8 oz semi-sweet chocolate

3/4 c sugar

1/4 c dark brown sugar

3 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla

scant 3/4 c flour

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 c raspberries

2 Tbsp sea salt, either coarse or flakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter and 8 oz chocolate over a double broiler until completely melted. Let it cool.

Whisk the sugars into the chocolate mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time and the vanilla. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt until just combined. Fold 1/4 c of the 1/2 c chocolate chips and pour the batter into a 9×9 bakingpan lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 c chocolate chips and the raspberries on top.

Bake for 45 min, and for the last 15 min, open the oven to sprinkle on the sea salt, then continue to finish baking. Allow it to cool completely before slicing into squares and indulging. The fudgy chocolately goodness is countered by the slight tartness of the raspberry and subtle saltiness from the sea salt. A perfect three in one!