Salted Caramel Apple Pie

published Sep 27, 2021
4th of july
Salted Caramel Apple Pie Recipe

Homemade salted caramel sauce mingles with spiced apples in this sweet-salty apple pie.

Serves8 to 12

Makes1 (9-inch) pie

Prep50 minutes

Cook1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes

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salted caramel apple pie in a pie dish on a table
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

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A double-crust apple pie is one of the best parts of autumn and apple-picking season — and there’s an easy way to make it even better. Adding homemade salted caramel to the filling makes every bite taste a bit like a candied apple and acts as the perfect counterpoint to the buttery crust. Here’s how to make this seasonal showstopper.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

What Are the Best Apples for Apple Pie? 

For this pie, I prefer tart or sweet-tart apples because the tartness balances out the sweetness of the caramel. A combination of Granny Smith and Pink Lady tastes great here, and both varieties are easy to find. Use medium or large apples, as they take less time to peel and slice than small apples.

How to Make Salted Caramel Apple Pie

I suggest dividing the work for this pie into two days. On day one, make the salted caramel so it has a chance to cool, and make the double-crust pie dough (or purchase pre-made dough). I love buttery, flaky pie crust so try to always make it from scratch, and it’s easy to do if you use our food processor method.

On the second day, line the pie plate (use a regular one, not a deep dish) with one of the crusts, fill with the spiced apple mixture, drizzle with some of the caramel, and top with a lattice crust. For extra crunch and sparkle, sprinkle with some coarse sugar before baking.

Do You Cook Apples Before Putting Them into Pie?

There’s no need to cook the apples before baking them into the pie. Simply toss with the spices, sugar, and flour and dump right into the pie plate. Wait to slice the apples until right before you need them to keep them turning brown. And don’t let them sit too long in the spice mixture before baking, or they’ll start letting off liquid.

Can I Freeze a Caramel Apple Pie? 

Yes, you can freeze caramel apple pie for up to two months. Here are a few ways to do it.

  • Fully baked: Bake the pie, then cool completely. Wrap in a few layers of plastic wrap or aluminum foil and freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Unwrap and rewarm in a low oven.
  • Unbaked: Place the fully assembled, unbaked pie on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Wrap in a few layers of plastic wrap or aluminum foil and freeze. Unwrap and bake directly from frozen. It will take more time to bake.
  • Freeze just the filling: Line the pie plate with plastic wrap. Transfer the filling into the pie plate and freeze until solid. Take out of the pie plate, wrap in a few layers of plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and freeze. When ready to use, line the pie plate with the bottom crust and drop the unwrapped frozen block of filling directly into the pie plate. Cover with the lattice and bake immediately. It will take more time to bake.

Serving Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Once the pie is baked, channel some patience and wait for it to cool completely, which gives the filling a chance to set and the crust time to crisp up. If you like warm pie, just rewarm before serving.

There will be leftover salted caramel (that’s on purpose!) to drizzle onto each slice — you can serve it at room temperature or warm it up slightly if you’d like. To take it over the top, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the ultimate in à la mode.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Recipe

Homemade salted caramel sauce mingles with spiced apples in this sweet-salty apple pie.

Prep time 50 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes

Makes 1 (9-inch) pie

Serves 8 to 12

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the salted caramel:

  • 3/4 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup

    water

  • 1 cup

    heavy cream

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

For the crusts and filling:

  • 2

    (8- to 10-ounce) store-bought or homemade flaky pie crusts, thawed if frozen

  • 1

    large egg yolk

  • 1 tablespoon

    water

  • 1/2 cup

    packed dark brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup

    all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground nutmeg

  • 2 1/2 pounds

    Granny Smith or Pink Lady apples (about 6 large or 7 medium), or a combination

  • 1 tablespoon

    turbinado or coarse sugar (optional)

Instructions

Make the salted caramel:

  1. Place 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup water in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved, then stop stirring and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, measure out 1 cup heavy cream, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.

  2. Continue to boil, swirling the pan occasionally but not stirring, until it turns a dark-amber color (380ºF to 390ºF). This will take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, depending on your pan and stove. There will be pale yellow streaks, then darker ones will appear. When you see these, pick up the pan with the handles and swirl occasionally, and be attentive.

  3. Remove the pan from the heat. While whisking continuously, immediately but slowly pour in the cream. Be very careful — it will steam and bubble up violently! It may also ball up or clump, but just keeping whisking until smooth again. Add the butter and salt and whisk until smooth.

  4. Return the pan to medium-low heat and simmer until slightly thickened and reduced to about 1 1/4 cups, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof bowl or container and let cool for at least 1 hour before using (it will thicken more as it cools). Meanwhile, prepare the crusts.

Prepare the crusts:

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Roll out 1 pie dough on a lightly floured work surface into a 12-inch-wide round about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer into a regular 9-inch pie plate (not deep dish). Press the dough into the plate, but do not trim the edges. Refrigerate.

  2. Roll out the second pie dough into an 11-inch-wide round. Place on a sheet of parchment paper. Cut into 3/4-inch-wide strips. Slide the parchment onto a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate.

Assemble and bake the pie:

  1. Place 1 large egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl and whisk with a fork until combined.

  2. Place 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg in a large bowl and stir to combine, breaking up any clumps of sugar.

  3. Peel 2 1/2 pounds Granny Smith or Pink Lady apples. Halve and core the apples, then cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Add to the bowl of spiced sugar and toss to combine, making sure there are no clumps of sugar or flour left in the bottom of the bowl.

  4. Pour the spiced apples into the crust, slightly mounding the apples in the center. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of the salted caramel sauce.

  5. Create a lattice pattern with the pie dough strips (step-by-step photos here): Lay half the strips horizontally over the apples, using the longer strips in the middle and the shorter strips toward the edges. Space the strips evenly apart (about 3/4-inch). Fold every other strip back on itself about halfway.

  6. Lay one of the longer remaining pie strips vertically over the apples so that it lays across the unfolded horizontal strips in the center. Swap the folded and unfolded horizontal strips: Unfold the folded horizontal strips so they lay over the vertical strip, and fold the strips running under the vertical strip back over top.

  7. Lay another vertical strip of pie crust over the apples. Continue swapping the folded and unfolded horizontal strips and adding one new vertical strip each time. Continue until one half of the pie is completely latticed.

  8. Lattice the second half of the pie following the same pattern. If the strips start to soften too much while you're creating the lattice, refrigerate the pie and dough strips for about 5 minutes before continuing.

  9. Trim the edges with kitchen shears if needed, then roll the edges inwards toward the center of the pie. Firmly crimp the edges to seal. Place the pie on the now-empty parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the lattice and edges with the very thin layer of the egg wash. Sprinkle the lattice with 1 tablespoon coarse sugar if desired.

  10. Bake until the crust is golden-brown and the filling is bubbling around the edges, 50 to 60 minutes. Check 40 minutes into baking: If the crust starts to brown too quickly, loosely cover the pie with aluminum foil and continue baking.

  11. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool for at least 2 hours before slicing. Serve slices with the remaining caramel sauce.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The caramel can be made and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Let come to room temperature before using.

The pie dough can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated. Let it sit out at room temperature for 10 minutes before rolling out.

Storage: Cover leftover pie in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.