Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sweet and Salty!

Salted caramel is all the rage these days.  And it's no mystery why, salty and sweet is delicious!  So why not apply that principle to a pie?  Salted caramel apple pie.  Hell yes!  As I've said before, I'm really not apple pies biggest fan.  But when you cover it with a crunchy topping and slather it in salted caramel, sign me up!

I used the salted caramel recipe from Kelsey Nixon on the Cooking Channel.  It's easy to put together and makes more than you need for the pie, so put the rest in a container and save it for drizzling over ice cream, dipping fruit or cookies in, or eating with a spoon.  When it comes to apples, pick a variety that can stand up to baking, like Granny Smith, Fuji or my choice, Honeycrisp.  Sweet and juicy, the Honeycrisp apples at work were so fragrant I could practically smell them from across the entire store.  They were the perfect match for the salted caramel.

This pie turned out to be so delicious that I did not bring it to work like I usually do.  Once in a while I fall so hard for a pie (see Sweet Potato Meringue) that I can't bear to share it.  I must be greedy and keep it all to myself.  So if you make this pie with the intention of giving it away, be sure not to taste it because it won't be going anywhere except your belly!

Salted Caramel Sauce
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 Tb. unsalted butter
1 tsp. coarse sea salt or kosher salt

In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves.  Increase the heat and bring to a boil, without stirring.  Use a wet pastry brush to wash down any sugar crystals on the side of the pan.  Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 5 to 6 minutes.  Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the cream.  The mixture will bubble up furiously.  Stir in the butter and salt.  Pour the caramel into a dish and allow to cool.

Crumble Topping
1 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sliced almonds
6 Tb. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Combine the dry ingredients and stir to mix well.  Stir in the melted butter and mix to form crumbles.  Set aside while preparing the rest of the pie.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie
1 9-inch pie crust, unbaked
2 lbs. apples
juice of half a lemon
2 Tb. sugar
2 Tb. flour
Salted Caramel Sauce
Crumble Topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place a sheet pan on the middle rack.  Peel and core the apples and slice 1/4 inch thick.  Toss the apples with the lemon juice.  Combine the sugar and flour and toss with the apples.  Pour half of the caramel sauce over the apples and stir to coat.  Pile the apples into the pie crust and then cover the top with the crumble topping.  You will need to use your hands to press the topping onto the apples, forming a compact crust.  Place the pie onto the hot sheet pan.  Bake until the pie is well browned and  the juices are bubbling all the way through the pie, including the center.  This will take about an hour to 1 1/2 hours.  You may need to cover the pie with foil to keep it from browning too much.  When the pie is cooled, drizzle more of the caramel sauce over the top and if you like, sprinkle it with more coarse salt.

The apples tossed with salted caramel.

Crumble topping

Oh la la, gooey caramel and crunchy topping!

Sweet and salty perfection!