Is it too early in the season to share a recipe for apple pie? I don’t think so! When you taste this spiced-buttery goodness that is this pie you’ll understand why I’m sharing it now. My version puts a boozy twist on the classic recipe by using whiskey in the filling. A flaky, buttery crust creates the perfect contaminant for the sweet and tart cinnamon apple filling. The filling is made the night before allowing time for the apples to release their juices. These juices are then reduced in a pan over medium heat before being added back to the filling. Then it is lattice topped before being brushed over with an egg wash and sprinkling with sugar and baked until golden brown perfection. A warm salted caramel sauce is drizzled over the top for one of the BEST pies ever.
Anyways, back to the pie! I was inspired by this video from Bon Appetit where they made an apple pie that looked AMAZING. I needed to make it. Alisa and I rolled our sleeves, tied our aprons tight and made pie and it was delicious. Simple as that. I learned how to lattice top (thanks to Chef John!) and ate frozen pizza for lunch. It was perfect. It was my first time making a two crusted pie, so I was learning as we went. This recipe is a combination of two worlds; my Mother’s love of salted caramel sauce and my Grandma Cooley’s classic apple pie. Every Thanksgiving, Grandma would make her three signature pies; cherry, pumpkin, and apple. Her pies were a holiday hit year after year. It’s her love of pie making which helped inspire me to develop this recipe. There is something, dare I say, magical about the combination of soft, sweet, warm apple pie topped with that gooey salted caramel sauce. Even more so, additive.
Salted Caramel & Whiskey Apple Pie
Original pie recipe adapted from Bon Appetite
Original salted caramel recipe from Food Wishes
For the crust
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
Pinch of cinnamon
For the filling
3 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 5 large), peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup whiskey
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 large egg
2 tablespoons sugar
For the salted caramel sauce
1 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons butter, cut into slices
½ cup + 1 tablespoon heavy cream
Salt to taste
For the filling. In a large bowl toss together the apples, butter, sugars, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt, whiskey, nutmeg, and flour. Cover and store in the fridge for 4 hours (preferably overnight. That’s what I did).
For the crust. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and, using your hands, cut the butter into the flour mixture until pea-sized pieces of butter remain. Drizzle ½ cup ice water over the mixture and mix thoroughly until the dough begins to come together. Divide the dough in half and press into 2 discs, roughly 1” thick. Wrap dough tightly in floured plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Assembly. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9” pie pan with butter. Take the apples out of the refrigerator and drain them and the reserved liquid into a small saucepan. Return the apples to the bowl. Bring reserve liquid to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce reduces by half, about 4 minutes. Pour reduced sauce over the apples and set aside until needed.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the dough disks to a 13” round. Transfer it to the prepared pie dish. Lift up the edges and allow the dough to slump down into the dish. Add the apples with accumulated juices into the dish. Roll out the second dough dish and place it over the top of the pie or cut into 1” strips and lattice top the pie. Bake until crust is a deep golden brown and the juices are bubbling, around 1 hour and 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool (for at least 4 hours in order for the juices to set).
For the salted caramel sauce. In a medium saucepan, heat up the sugar, whisking every so often until the sugar begins to brown, clump up, and melt into a caramel colored sauce. The longer the sauce is let cooking, a deeper and more biting taste will be achieved.
Once the sugar has liquefied and began to caramelize, take it off the heat and allow to sit for 30 seconds. Carefully whisk in the butter until combined. Gently add the heavy cream and whisk until combined. Finally, add a pinch of salt. Let cool, about 10-15 minutes, before transferring to an air-tight container for storage.