Here in Minnesota, fall and apples go hand-in-hand. As soon as the weather turns a bit cool, Labor Day arrives, and the kids go back to school, I start thinking about apples. Minnesota is known for its apples; I found more than 20 varieties grown right here in my home state. My favorites are harvested later in the apple season when the cool air produces crisp, tart apples – the kind that are perfect for apple pie.
For more than 28 years, we lived just a block from a small neighborhood orchard. The boys and I could walk up to their little store and buy a bag of apples (after tasting every variety available that day). On our walk home, we’d discuss what we should make with our apples. Sometimes we simply sliced the apples and drizzled them with a little caramel ice cream topping. Other times we got down to work and baked a special treat – apple pie. This recipe is the best of both of these favorites – Caramel Apple Pie. Caramel ice cream topping is used as part of the sweetener in a homemade, fresh-baked apple pie. Served warm with a scoop of vanilla or cinnamon ice cream, this pie is, well, simply delicious!
Before I make the crust, I peel and slice the apples. Then I make the dough for the crust. A butter crust is, by far, the best for both flavor and texture. Start by heating the oven to 400°F. In a medium bowl combine the flour and salt.
Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Starting with cold butter is critical, as it will allow small pieces of butter to be coated with flour. When the butter melts in the oven, steam is created from the moisture in the butter, forming flaky layers of crust.
Stir in enough cold water with a fork, just until the flour is moistened and the mixture forms a ball. Don’t over-mix the dough, or you’ll destroy the little pockets of flour-coated butter that later turn into the flaky layers.
Divide the dough in half forming two balls. Flatten each ball slightly and wrap one ball with plastic food wrap. Refrigerate the wrapped ball while you roll out the other.
Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle.
Fold the circle into quarters so you can easily transfer it into a 9-inch pie pan.
Unfold it, pressing the dough firmly against the bottom and sides of the pie pan. Trim the crust to 1/2 inch from the edge of the pan. Set aside.
In a large bowl, lightly toss together the caramel ice cream topping, apples and lemon juice.
Add 1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon.
Toss lightly to coat the apples and carefully spoon the apple mixture into the prepared crust.
To make a lattice top crust, roll the remaining ball of dough into an 11-inch circle. Cut out 10 (1/2-inch) strips with a sharp knife or a pastry wheel.
Place 5 strips, 1 inch apart, across the filling in the pie pan.
Weave the remaining 5 strips at right angles to the strips already in place.
Trim the ends of the strips. Fold the trimmed edge of the bottom crust up over the strips and build up an edge of dough.
Crimp or flute the edge. Brush the strips with 1 tablespoon melted butter.
Then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar.
I love the look of a lattice top crust, but you can certainly just make a simple top crust using an 11-inch circle of dough. Just be sure to cut some slits in the top crust so the steam can escape during baking. Cover the edge of the crust with a 2-inch strip of aluminum foil (or a handy-dandy pie protector/crust shield like the one in the photo) to help prevent it from overbrowning.
Bake for 35 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil (or pie protector/crust shield) and continue baking for 20 to 30 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned and juice begins to bubble through the openings or slits in the top crust. And here’s a tip to save you potential work later: Cover a 15x10-inch pan in aluminum foil, and place it on the rack underneath the pie in case any of the juices boil over. It will make clean-up much easier.
Cool the pie for 30 to 45 minutes. Serve warm. Of course, I add a scoop of ice cream to each piece of pie.
Enjoy! And don’t forget to come back to rate and review this recipe. I’d love to hear what you think.