Caramelized Apple Pie

Chef Debra demonstrating how to roll the perfect pie dough using the Pie Pastry Bag

This caramel-based apple pie starts on the stovetop and is deliciously spiced! It is a spin-off from the “Humble Apple Pie” that Christine Ha made on Master Chef! This is a link to the video showing Gordon Ramsey critiquing the pie – he made her cry! But he highly praised the pie.

Yield: 1 nine-inch pie

Chef Debra wearing slice of apple pie earrings and a red apron
Chef Debra wearing her pie slice earrings with a dollop of whipped cream

Recipe tip: keep the pie dough chilled as much as possible for a flakier result.

Ingredients:

  • Two nine-inch pie crusts. They can be store-bought or use The Blind Kitchen recipe, Basic Pie Dough – the Flakiest! Our crust is much like Christine Ha’s version, but it is the recipe I learned in culinary school.
  • Five to six cups Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced. This will be six to eight apples depending on size.
  • One-half cup (four ounces) unsalted butter
  • One-half cup flour
  • Two tablespoons of apple juice
  • Two tablespoons apple brandy (Note: If you do not want to add alcohol, substitute 2 additional tablespoons of apple juice.)
  • Two tablespoons of half-and-half or heavy cream
  • One tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • One-half cup brown sugar
  • One-half cup white sugar
  • One teaspoon of cinnamon
  • One-quarter teaspoon of nutmeg
  • One-eighth teaspoon of ground cloves
  • One-half teaspoon of salt
  • Two tablespoons of corn starch
  • One egg

Instructions:

Prepare your work area

Recipe Tip: Prepare the spice blend and measure out the wet ingredients first. The stovetop sauce comes together quickly.

Step 1: In a small dish combine the following spices:

  • One teaspoon cinnamon
  • One-quarter teaspoon of nutmeg
  • One-eighth teaspoon of ground cloves
  • One-half teaspoon salt.

Set the spice mixture aside.

Recipe Tip: Freshly ground spices are much stronger than ground versions that lose their potency over time. The Mini Box Grater tool and the Cut Glove tool are the perfect tools to grind fresh cinnamon,
nutmeg and cloves.

Step 2: Combine the following wet ingredients.

Recipe Tip: It is fine to pre-measure and combine these wet ingredients as they will be added to the pan at the same time.

Recipe Tip: The Wet Measure Cups and Wet Measure Spoons are the perfect tools to allow people with vision loss to measure wet ingredients quickly, accurately, and without waste.

  • Two tablespoons of apple juice
  • Two tablespoons apple brandy (Note: If you do not want to add alcohol, substitute 2 additional tablespoons of apple juice)
  • Two tablespoons of half-and-half or heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Set the wet mixture aside.

Working on the Dough and Pastry Work Tray, Chef Debra uses the Food Corer to quickly slice an apple.
Working on the Dough and Pastry Work Tray, Chef Debra uses the Food Corer to quickly slice an apple.

Step 3: Prepare the apples

Recipe Tip: Once the apples are peeled, it is important to keep them underwater as the exposure of the fruit to air will cause them to start to break down and take on an unpleasant color and taste.

Peel and cut the apples into similar bite-size pieces. Put in a bowl, cover with water, and set aside.

Recipe Tip: The Food Corer tool from The Blind Kitchen cuts each apple into 12 wedges which are the perfect size for an apple pie. I use the Food Corer to cut the apples into sections before I peel them. This way, I can examine each section as I peel it and have the opportunity to peel away any of the rough core portions that might have come off with the section. Then I cut each wedge in half for perfect bite-size pieces.

Recipe Tip: The Palm Peeler and Cut Glove tools make this step easy and safe.

Step 4: Make a roux

In a pan that is large enough to hold the apple pieces melt 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter.

Recipe Tip: The Butter Slicer is a handy tool that allows you to precut your butter into similar-sized pats that you can store in your refrigerator to just reach in and grab as many as you need for any recipe. For this recipe you need 12 pats.

Recipe Tip: Melt the butter under the lowest heat possible, as you just want to hear it lightly sizzle. The dairy sugars in the butter can easily burn and you want the butter to just sizzle slightly. When the
butter is melted, allow it to sizzle for about 60 seconds more while moving the melted butter around in the pan.

Step 5: Combine flour and butter

Add one-half cup of flour to the pan and use a whisk to combine the flour and the butter. Cook over low heat for about 2 minutes whisking constantly. The mixture should resemble wet sand.

Step 6: Add in the wet ingredients

Add in the liquid mixture (apple juice, apple brandy, vanilla extract, and half and half). Raise the heat slightly and whisk constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer.

Step 7: Add the spice blend

Add in the spice blend (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt and whisk until combined.

Step 8: Add corn starch

Add two tablespoons of corn starch and whisk for another minute or two.

Recipe Tip: The corn starch will help to thicken the caramel liquid and also to absorb the juices of the apples that are released as they cook.

Step 9: Add sugars

Add one-half cup of brown sugar and one-half cup of white sugar and stir to combine.

Step 10: Add the apples

Drain the apples and add to the pan. (Save the bowl to hold the cooling apples.) Cook until the apples just start to soften.

Recipe Tip: Take care not to overcook the apples at this point. They should still have a slight crunch in the center. They will continue to cook in the oven and you don’t want to reduce them to an
applesauce consistency.

Step 11: Set apple mixture to cool

Place the apple mixture into a bowl to stop the cooking process and allow it to cool while you prepare the pie crust.

Step 12: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

Recipe Tip: Check the oven rack level before you turn on the oven. The racks are much easier to adjust when the oven is cold. For this recipe, the pie should be cooked in the center of the oven.

Chef Debra with the Bake-Under-the-Pie Server tool and a pie plate

Chef Debra with the Bake-Under-the-Pie Server tool and a pie plate

Step 13: Put the bottom crust in the pie pan

Place one pie crust in the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan. If you are using the Bake-Under-the-Pie Server place it under the bottom crust first.

Recipe Tip: I like stainless steel pie pans because they conduct heat evenly. Glass and ceramic pie pans can be made of various materials and can be less predictable. Also, the standard stainless steel pans are the perfect size and shape to use the Bake-Under-the-Pie Server.

Recipe Tip: When preparing the pie dough, I use the large Dough and Pastry Work Tray. Its generous size and raised edges make it an ideal place to roll out your dough without getting flour all over the
counter. It makes clean-up much easier.

Recipe Tip: I use the Adjustable Rolling Pin and the Pie Dough Bag to ensure the dough is the thickness I desire and the perfect shape.

Step 14: Add the cooled apple mixture into the crust

Recipe Tip: I like to place the apples in a mound in the center of the pan for an attractive presentation and even distribution as the apples cook.

Chef Debra demonstrating how to roll the perfect pie dough using the Pie Pastry Bag
Chef Debra shows how to roll the perfect pie dough using the Pie Dough Bag and Adjustable Rolling Pin

Step 15: Place the second prepared pie crust on top of the pie

Recipe Tip: If you are using the Pie Crust Stencil to make the steam holes, use it before you place the top crust onto the pie. Use the Pie Dough Bag to transfer the crust to the top of the pie.

Chef Debra showing how to use the Pie Crust Crimper tool
Chef Debra shows how to crimp the edges of a pie with the Crust Crimper tool

Step 16: Crimp the edges

Crimp the edges to seal the top and bottom crusts together.

Recipe Tip: Use the Crust Crimper tool to seal the edges easily and attractively.

Step 17: Apply egg wash and sugar

Lightly whisk the egg and use a pastry brush to put an egg wash on the top crust and the crust edges. Sprinkle the pie with a light dusting of granulated sugar.

Chef Debra with a fresh apple pie with the top crust baked with a pretty heart design. She is also demonstrating the Pie Pastry Stencil.
Chef Debra with a fresh apple pie with the top crust baked with a pretty heart design. She is also demonstrating the Pie Crust Stencil.

Step 18: Cut slits in the top of the pie

Cut six evenly spaced narrow slits in the top of the crust. You can skip this step if you use the Pie Crust Stencil in Step 15.

Recipe Tip: Use the Pie Marker and Divider to cut evenly-spaced steam slits into the top crust of the pie.

Chef Debra demonstrating the Pie Crust Protector
Chef Debra showing how to use the Pie Crust Protector

Step 19: Protect the edges of the pie crust with foil or a pie crust protector

Recipe Tip: The Pie Crust Protector found in The Blind Kitchen Store is adjustable and works nicely for a 9-inch pie.

Step 20: Bake the pie

Place the pie on a rack in the center of the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Do not open the oven, but reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook for another 20 minutes.

Recipe Tip: Use the Heat Gloves to pull the oven rack out halfway so that you do not need to put your forearms in the oven – only your fingertips to pull the rack out and push it back in.

Recipe Tip: It is very easy to break pieces off the crust edges when putting the pie in and out of the oven with the thickness of many oven mitts or gloves. I place the pie on a baking sheet with raised edges so that my gloved hands will come in contact only with the baking sheet and the crust remains safely out of reach. The raised sides of the baking sheet help to keep the pie on the sheet as the pie is moved – a pie can easily slide off of a flat baking sheet.

Step 21: Remove the Pie Crust Protector

Remove the protector and cook the pie for another 10 to 15 minutes until done to the desired doneness.

Step 22: Allow the pie to cool

Allow the pie to cool for at least 10 minutes and then cut and serve as desired. See our recipe for Whipped Chantilly Cream or use vanilla ice cream as toppings!

Recipe Tip: Follow this link to The Perfect Dollop to learn how to put a perfect dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream on each piece of the pie without touching the pie slice or the cream.

Enjoy!!!

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