Monday, December 5, 2011

My Signature Spiced Caramel Apple Deep Dish Pie

Before...and After!
Though I've only made it twice, it was so amazingly delicious and received such worldwide acclaim (from the 5 people that tried it), I hereby declare my Signature Thanksgiving Pie...drum roll please...The Spiced Caramel Apple Deep Dish Pie!  Oooh even the description makes my mouth water.

I made this extraordinary pie at Thanksgiving last year, and it was the obvious winner over every other pie made by my friends and family.  **This statement may or may not be verified by aforementioned friends and family who, granted, also made some yummy pies.  (I come from a competitive family.  You've been forewarned if you ever dare play a game of flag football with us).
The Amazing Pies of 2010.  Oh Look!  There's
the Best Caramel Apple Deep Dish Pie Ever!
I decided to make the pie again this year, with some changes.  I started with a base recipe, but I should tell you that I don't follow recipes very well.  It's not that I think I know better (bake with me once and you'll realize I clearly do not), I just like putting my own spin on everything.

I found an online recipe called "Caramel Apple Pie II" (Boh-ring.  I improved upon the pie name just a little.  I love naming things.  When I was little I wanted my job to be Crayola Crayon Namer--who doesn't want to color with Supersilly Purpleness?)

It's a pretty easy recipe, a little time consuming.  It took me about 30 min to prepare the pie, then another 45 minutes to bake.  Here are the steps I followed.  I included the real recipe below.

1. Buy/Make 2 Deep Dish Pie Crusts: I thought I'd save time so I bought a pretty crappy frozen pie crust.  I'm still trying to figure out how the grocery stores work around here.  Sometimes I feel like I moved to Turkey.  Turns out I should have just made the pie crust from scratch (more on this later).

The very perfect frozen pie crust

2. Slice Some Apples.  I like to use a variety of apples, for the burst of color and the mix of flavors.  Granny Smith are a favorite, and I also found some wonderful organic Honeycrisp apples at the Lincoln Square Farmer's Market.  How you slice the apples is key: I used an apple corer (what an awesome invention) and a mandolin to slice the apples very thinly.
Gorgeously cored and mandolin-sliced apples
3. Add cinnamon, sugar, lemon and flour to the bowl of apples and mix thoroughly.  I also added a secret ingredient this year because I walked by the spice counter at Trader Joe's and thought the bottle looked really cute.  Welcome to the recipe, Pumpkin Pie Spice.
Makes a great pie filling, or snack...
4. Add a thin layer of the apple mix to the pie crust.
Layer #1: yummy Apple filling
5. Then add a layer of caramels.  Then a layer of apples.  Then a layer of caramels.  You get the idea.

An extremely generous layer of caramels
6.  Keep building layer upon layer until you've built a beautiful dome of apples and caramels.  (I skipped the toffee layer since I more than made up for it with these little caramels).
Delicious Caramel Apple Mountain
7.  Cover the layers with the second deep dish pie crust.  Now this is where I ran into trouble.  I planned to take the second frozen pie crust from its shell and elegantly drape it over the apple mix.  The pie crust had other plans.  It decided to crumble like an old dry cookie.  Thank you, frozen pie crust that I will never buy again.  So I had to make my second pie crust.  I quickly grabbed some flour, butter and water and made what turned out to be one of the ugliest pie crusts known to man.  I hate making pie crust.  It's truly an art, as I learned from my mom and my friend Amy, both of whom could win pie-crust making competitions.
Not my finest hour, but I made it work.
Miraculously, this silly homemade crust fit.  I then designed a
little flower on top and egg washed the crust.
8. Place it in the oven, covered in foil for the first 30 minutes or so.  Then uncover to help the crust turn crispy and brown.

Et voila!  The Spiced Caramel Apple Deep Dish Pie
9.  Let cool and then eat it.  I actually didn't have a chance to try this lovely pie.  I had two Thanksgiving meals that day and was a bit full by the time I arrived at the second meal, so I left this wonderful treat at my friend Margaret's house.  She reportedly enjoyed it to the last bite.

I guess I'll just have to make another one next year.

  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust deep dish pie
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups thinly sliced apples
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 20 caramels, halved
  • 2 tablespoons milk


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. To Make Taffy: In a small bowl combine brown sugar, melted butter or margarine, and 1/3 cup flour. Mix well and set aside.
  3. To Make Apple Filling: Place apples in a large bowl. Add white sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Toss until all ingredients are mixed well and apples are thoroughly coated.
  4. Spoon half of apple filling into pastry-lined deep-dish pan. Top with half of caramels and half of taffy mixture. Repeat process with remaining apple filling, caramels and taffy mixture. Place top pastry over filling and seal well (this is very important--if edges are not sealed, caramel will leak out all over). Cut steam vents and brush top crust with milk or light cream.
  5. Cover pie with foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil from pie and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until crust is golden. Serve warm.

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