With Thanksgiving in just a few days I though I’d share with you the pie that I will be bringing to my family’s dinner.
This pie has been called “the best pie I’ve ever had in my entire life” by several people, close friends and acquaintances alike. I also agree with this statement. I mean, I know. It hasn’t escaped my awareness that every pie I share with you is my “favorite pie so far”. But this one really is.
Buttery, flakey pie pastry courtesy of my favorite pie crust recipe houses soft, tart apples that are drenched in a browned butter caramel sauce made with pure maple syrup. It’s nothing short of magical. Caramel apple is a longtime favorite, but add in nutty browned butter and you have upped your pie game, friends. Vanilla beans speckle the creamy caramel sauce and mellow it with their soothing notes.
This pie is also free of refined sugars, thanks to the maple caramel. I’ve been making caramel sauce with maple syrup for a few months now and it is by far my favorite method. I mean, seeing as it starts out in liquid form, your halfway there before you’ve even started! There are no sugar crystals to thwart your bubbling syrup and turn it into a sandy mess. You do, however, have to take caution that you do not burn the syrup, as it can be hard to tell when it has caramelized, seeing as the syrup starts out at an amber brown. One trick I use to tell when the syrup has caramelized is to dip a spoon into a little bit of the syrup, then into a glass of water. If the syrup hardens up after a few seconds, its ready. If it is still pliable, it needs to cook a bit more.
Another trick I want to share with you is one that will preserve your pretty pie crust top and keep it from burning or browning too much. Cover the top of the completed pie in tin foil, making sure it is loosely tented around the crust, not pressing into it. Bake the pie for 3/4 of the time with this cover on, removing it once 75% of the cooking is done. Remove the foil and continue cooking the pie for the remaining time. Your pie crust will brown up beautifully without burning.
I hope that each one of you has wonderful Thanksgiving and get to enjoy a great dessert, whether its pie or something equally delicious!
More of my favorite pies:
- FOR THE CRUST:
- 2½ cups White Whole Wheat Flour or all-purpose Flour
- 3 tablespoons fine Cane Sugar
- ¼ teaspoon Sea Salt
- ¼ cup Shortening
- 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) Butter, cold and cut into small cubes
- ¼ cup + Ice Water
- 1 Egg, beaten
- FOR THE APPLE FILLING:
- 4 ounces (8 tablespoons) Salted Butter
- 1 cup Maple Syrup
- ½ cup Heavy Cream
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 Vanilla Bean
- 3 pounds Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, and cut into somewhat thick wedges/slices
- 2½ tablespoons Tapioca Starch (or 2 tablespoons Cornstarch)
- 4 tablespoons Water
- 1 Egg, beaten
- FOR THE CRUST:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with an 's' blade. Pulse the mixture a few times until blended together.
- Add the shortening to the food processor and pulse once. Add the cubes of butter, one at a time, pulsing a few times after the addition of each cube.
- With the processor running, drizzle in the ice water until the mixture starts to form into large clumps. Do not add too much water. Dough should not be sticky or wet, but should come together to form a nice dough.
- Divide the dough in half, wrap up one half and set aside.
- Roll the other half of dough into a ball and place in between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll to a circle that is 1½-2 inches larger in circumference than your pie dish.
- Place the sheet of dough over the top of your pie dish and remove parchment paper. Press the dough in to fit the bottom and sides of the dish. There should be a little bit of dough left hanging over the edges. Trim dough around the edge of the pie.
- Roll the other half of the dough into a circle as large as your pie dish in between two sheets of parchment paper.
- Place both of the crusts in the fridge and make the pie filling.
- FOR THE APPLE FILLING:
- Place the butter in a saucepan and melt over medium/high heat. Continue cooking until butter begins to foam. Swirl the pan every few seconds and continue cooking until the butter becomes a light golden brown and gives of a nutty aroma. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Place the maple syrup in a large pot and bring to a boil over medium/high heat. Continue cooking for another minute or two, until the syrup turns a slightly darker amber color and gives of a caramelized scent (dip a spoon into the syrup if you are unsure if it has caramelized - it should harden on the spoon when dipped in water).
- Add the cream and salt to the syrup and stir until smooth and saucy (caramel may size at first - keep cooking and it will melt down again and cream with meld into the syrup).
- Add the apples to the caramel sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until apples area soft.
- Add the browned butter to the apple mixture. Scrap the seeds of the vanilla bean into the apple mixture and stir until combined.
- Add the tapioca starch and water to a small bowl and whisk until combined. Pour the mixture into the pot of carameled apples and stir in quickly. Continue to cook for another 30 seconds to one minute, or until mixture thickens a bit.
- Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes to 45 minutes.
- Pour the apple mixture into the dough covered pie dish.
- Use the chilled circle of dough to cover the pie in any manner desired.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush the top of the pie crust with the beaten egg.
- Cover the top of the pie in a layer of tin foil - this will prevent the crust from browning too soon.
- Bake the pie in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. At the end of 45 minutes, remove the tin foil from the pie. Place the pie back in the oven and cook for another 15 minutes, or until crust is browned and filling is bubbling.
- Serve warm with ice cream =)