Saturday, November 20, 2010


Caramel Apple Pie (4)

Our local farmer’s market had beautiful, big Rome apples recently.  My favorite apples for pie are, in this order:  Stayman Winesap,  Stayman and Rome.  Staymans are hard to find, and Winesaps are almost nonexistent in New Bern, so Rome is my go-to apple for pies.  They become slightly more tangy when baked and hold their shape well. 
Caramel Apple Pie

The inspiration for this recipe came from Linda Hundt, a multiple prize winner in the Crisco National Pie Contest.  Linda now has her own pie/pastry shop in Michigan where people line up for her pies.  When I read the recipe for her “Grandma Ferrell’s Caramel Apple Pie,” I was put off by the amount of sugar used – 2 cups in the pie and topping plus caramel sauce.  Whew!  No way could I eat that.  Linda also thickens the apples with flour.  I decided to use the parts of her recipe that I liked and change or discard the rest.  That meant adding some whole grains, reducing sugar and replacing some with apple juice concentrate, adding some apple jack brandy and 1 dropper of liquid Vanilla stevia, and most importantly, precooking and cooling the apples before baking. 
Caramel Apple Pie (6)

Precooking apples takes a little more time, but it eliminates the need for a thickener, because all the juices flow out of the apples when cooked.  As they continue to cook, some of the apple juices are absorbed back into the apples, intensifying the apple flavor.  It makes for a really good pie.  Instead of making Linda’s homemade caramel sauce, I opted to open a jar of Smucker’s Special Recipe Butterscotch Caramel Sauce.  Because the apples in the filling are not overly sweet, the very sweet crumb topping does not overpower the apples, and a bit of caramel sauce really takes the pie over the top. 

A crispy, crunchy, sweet crumb topping over slightly sweet and tangy apple filling, topped with rich and sweet caramel sauce -- this pie is a winner, and one that I would gladly make again.

Caramel Apple Crumb Pie
Inspired by Grandma Ferrell’s Caramel Apple Pie
Rating:  9.5 out of 10
Click for Printable Page

1 (9”) deep dish pie crust, homemade or store-bought

Crumb Topping: 
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup old-fashioned (5-minute) oats
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, soft

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix by hand or with a pastry blender until crumbly.  Set aside.

5 large Rome apples, peeled, cored, quartered, cut into wedges
1-1/4 cups frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
2 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. apple brandy
1 dropper liquid Vanilla stevia (or other liquid sweetener equal to about 1 tsp. of sugar + 1/4 tsp. vanilla)

Caramel Sauce: 
Smucker’s Special Recipe Butterscotch Caramel Sauce, or other caramel sauce of choice

Heat oven to 400F.  Combine filling ingredients in 9x12 or larger baking pan.  Bake 25-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, or till apples are barely tender.  Transfer cooked apples to a sheet pan to cool.  Return pan with juices to oven and bake till light syrup forms.  (Time will depend on how juicy your apples were.)  Alternately, you can cook the apples in a large skillet, removing apple wedges as they become tender and cooking the liquid to a syrup.  Either way, scrape the syrup over the cooling apples and toss to combine.  Cool completely, at least one hour, then spoon filling into crust. 

Caramel Apple Pie (7)

Do not put crumb topping on at this time.  Bake pie in lower part of oven 30 minutes.  
Transfer to counter and spoon crumb topping over pie.  Return to oven and continue to bake an additional 30 minutes, or till pie bubbles. 
Caramel Apple Pie (2)

If crumb topping browns too quickly, loosely tent aluminum foil over pie.  Cool pie on wire rack for several hours before slicing.  Serve with a large spoonful of warm caramel sauce.


Peggy Clyde said...

I love apple pie and this one sounds like a keeper. Thanks.

Kathleen said...

Wow! How delicious this looks!!!!

teresa said...

oh WOW. i'm still trying to figure out what pies to do this year. i think i found a winner!

Julie said...

What an amazing looking pie...that topping sounds out of this world.

Erica said...

I love pies that have a nice crisp topping and this totally fits the bill! Great work. I hope you're enjoying the weekend.

Diane said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. I am sure you would love France and all the lovely different foods we have there. I will be keeping an eye on your crab recipes, as shell fish is reasonably cheap at the markets in France and we eat a lot of it when there.
This apple dish looks delicious. Diane

ann low said...

I've just made apple turnovers last week and I would like to try yours soon.

Rita said...

You sure brought the apple pie up a few notches; great recipe.
Thank you for your visit.

From the Kitchen said...

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! To answer your question re the mushroom brush, I purchased mine at a kitchen store but I've seen them in grocery stores. Prior to getting mine, I just used a paper towel which works perfectly well. Now I'm off to explore your delicious looking blog further.


Debbie said...

This looks sooo good. Another addition in my to try folder. Thank you!

Nutmeg Nanny said...

What an amazing looking pie! I love apples and I LOVE caramel :)

briarrose said...

Looks heavenly. I love the caramel...but I am something of a caramel junkie. ;) The apple juice concentrate is interesting in the filling...I will have to remember that.

Susan said...

Wow, Judy - that looks fantastic! I love Dutch Apple Pie and the addition of caramel makes it completely irresistable!

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