Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Caramel Apple Pie (with really soft apples!)

One of the reasons I don't usually pick apple pie is because often the apples are hard and the crust is on the burned side. This is probably because people have to cook the pie forever to try and soften the apples! After having a caramel apple empanada at Taco Bell I wanted to make my own caramel apple pie, so I created this recipe and figured out a way to solve the problem, cook the apples first! I have also used pears and it was excellent too. Make it for Thanksgiving or any special occasion :)

I cut each round apple slice into 6-8 pieces so they are bite size and you can cut your pie pieces more easily. Can also use pears instead of apples. Can reduce or omit citrus juice if apples are extra tart.

4-5 cups chopped apple slices (peeled, slice and chop apples into bite sized pieces; Optional: use pears)

2 T lemon, lime, or orange juice (optional: reduce or omit if apples are extra tart)

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 t salt

1 t cinnamon

double pie crust (recipe at bottom)

Preheat oven at 425.

Combine apples through cinnamon in medium to large sauce pan. Heat over medium heat and stir until sugars dissolve and juices run from fruit and it begins to simmer. Reduce to medium low and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

3 T flour mixed with 3-4 T cold water

Slowly stir in above mixture and cook for an additional 10 minutes, on medium low to low, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile prepare a double crust. 

Remove from heat and let filling cool for 5-10 minutes.

1 egg white mixed with 2 teaspoons cold water 

Pour into pie crust, top with top crust, being sure to seal the edges by pressing the two layers of crust together before fluting. Cut 6 slits in top of pie crust with thin sharp knife. Brush crust with egg white mixture to give the crust a nice glossy finish and prevent burning. 

Place pie pan on cookie sheet before baking in oven (just in case the filling spills out). Bake for 20-30 minutes until crust is golden brown and cooked thoroughly. 

Double Pie Crust

2 ½ cups flour (300 grams)

1 teaspoon salt

⅔ cup white shortening (126 grams regular Crisco)

Ice water

**Refrigerate shortening and flour prior to starting if your kitchen is warm. 

Stir flour and salt together in medium to large mixing bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry blender or two knives until shortening pieces are the size of tiny peas. Sprinkle ice water 1 to 1/2 tablespoon at a time over the flour, stirring quickly with a long fork between each addition. Once the dough starts to aggregate into balls and you can press them together like a firm play dough (and very  little or no dry flour remains) you can stop adding water. Form into a large ball. Divide into two equal balls (if making a double crust) and wrap in plastic wrap until ready to roll out. 

Roll out onto a very lightly floured piece of parchment paper. 

Prior to baking brush any exposed crust with an egg and water mixture (1 egg plus 2 teaspoons cold water) using a pastry brush. This will give the crust a nice glossy finish and prevent it from burning.