Apple cider infused caramel provides all the flavor of a traditional Thanksgiving apple pie but lends itself to delightful new presentation when drizzled atop ice cream and finished with a crumble crust.
Whenever I order a slice of apple à la mode, I hope for a unabashedly hefty scoop of ice cream to accompany my chosen sweet. This dessert fulfills all my à la mode expectations by flipping that traditional apple pie on its head, providing a hearty dose of ice cream while maintaining that undeniable caramel apple pie flavor.
First, we made a caramel, whisking in reduced apple cider (to concentrate its flavor without adding too much excess liquid) and apple pie spices alongside the cream and butter addition. Since forgetting a crust is a travesty in our house, we whipped up an impossibly simple crumble crust to sprinkle atop the finished dish.
Drizzled atop a scoop of vanilla ice cream it was exactly the way I like my apple pie - plenty of à la mode. An added bonus? Our entire house still smelled exactly like apple pie.
Deconstructed Caramel Apple Pie À La Mode
For the Apple Cider Caramel:
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup apple cider - reduced to 1/4 cup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 stick butter; cubed
For the Crumb Crust:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light-brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
To make the caramel sauce:
In a saucepan over medium-high heat reduce the apple cider to 1/4 cup. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
In a heavy bottomed saucepan combine sugar, honey and water. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is amber in color (about 15 minutes). While the caramel is cooking, use a pastry brush soaked in water to occasionally wipe any sugar off the sides of the pot.
In the meantime, whisk together the heavy cream, cooled cider, vanilla, spices and salt in a small bowl.
When the caramel is amber, remove from heat and whisk in butter cubes, taking care as the caramel may bubble up. Whisk in cream mixture to combine. Return the caramel to low heat and cook an additional 5 minutes until smooth and thick. Remove from heat and pour into a heatproof glass jar, cool completely and store in the fridge until ready to use.
To make the crumble crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Use your hands to blend in butter, working until large clumps form.
Spread mixture on a baking sheet and bake 12-15 minutes until the mixture is golden brown. Cool completely.
Scoop out your favorite à la mode flavor, drizzle with caramel sauce and top with crumb crust.
(Images: Rebekah Peppler)