Two and Twenty Blackbirds is a Brooklyn based bakery that turns out awesome pies. Their first cookbook is a must have for any pie lover. Flipping through the pages makes me want to try every single mouthwatering recipe, but with Thanksgiving around the corner, I couldn't resist starting with their Salted Caramel Apple Pie.
One may think this is an overly sweet and gooey pie, but it's not. The apples have a clean fresh taste that stand up well to the caramel. I used a mixture of sweet and tart apples, which made for a more interesting flavor. I like that they are thinly sliced rather than cut into wedges. They baked evenly and had a lovely texture.
Tradition calls for a lattice top, but I found these leaf pie dough cutters at Williams-Sonoma and had a little fun with the top crust. There's so many interesting pie crust designs. Take a look at this link.
You will need to set aside some time to make this pie, but it's well worth the effort. And with a little planning, it can be easily assembled on the day you plan to serve it. The pie crust can be made in advance and frozen for up to a month, or kept wrapped in the refrigerator for a couple of days. The caramel sauce is good for 3 weeks in the refrigerator. It will thicken when chilled, so warm it gently before using. On the day you intend to bake the pie, all that will be left to do is prepare the apples, add the sugar and spices, and voila.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Salted Caramel Apple Pie
Makes one 9 inch pie serving 8 - 10
You will need an unbaked all butter pie crust (double) to fit a 9 inch pie pan
- 1 cup plus 2 T. sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 stick ( 1/4 lb.) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 lemons
- 6-7 assorted baking apples, sweet and tart (about 2-1/2 lbs.)
- 2 to 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1/3 cup raw sugar
- 1/4 t. each ground cinnamon and allspice
- Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- one grind black pepper
- 1/4 t. kosher salt
- 2 T. unbleached all purpose flour
- 1/4 t. sea salt
- egg wash (1 large egg whisked with 1 t. water and a pinch of salt)
- Demerara sugar, for finishing
Have ready and refrigerated one pastry lined 9 inch pie pan and lattice strips or top crust design of your choice.
Make the caramel:
Whisk together 1 cup of the sugar and the water in a medium saucepan, and cook over medium low heat until the sugar is just dissolved. Add the butter and bring to a slow boil. Continue cooking over medium heat until the mixture turns a deep golden brown, almost copper. Remove from the heat and immediately, but slowly add the heavy cream - be careful, the mixture will bubble rapidly and steam. Whisk the final mixture together well and set aside to cool while you prepare the apple filling.
Make the apple filling:
juice the lemons into a non-reactive bowl. Core, peel. and thinly slice the apples with a sharp knife or mandoline. Dredge the apple slices in the lemon juice and sprinkle with 2 T. of sugar. Set aside to soften slightly and release some of their juices, 20-30 minutes.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the Angostura bitters over the raw sugar. Add the spices and flour, and mix well. Drain the apples and add to the sugar spice mix.
Baking the pie:
Tightly layer the apples in the prepared pie shell so there are minimal gaps, mounding the apples slightly higher in the center. Pour 1/2 cup of the caramel sauce evenly over the apples ( you can use 3/4 cup for a sweeter pie). Sprinkle with 1/4 t. of the sea salt. Assemble the top crust using the design of your choice.
Chill the pie in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to set the pastry. Meanwhile position the oven racks in the bottom and center positions, place a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack and preheat the oven to 400F.
Brush the pastry with the egg wash to coat, and sprinkle with the desired amount of demerara sugar. Place the pie on the rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is set and beginning to brown. Lower the temp to 375F, move the pie to the center oven rack and continue to bake until the pastry is a deep golden brown and the juices are bubbling, 30-35 minutes longer.
Allow to cool completely on a wire rack for 2-3 hours.
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