Happy Holidays and (almost) New Year! Truth be told, I wasn’t going to share anything this week, but then I remembered that I made and photographed one of our favorite holiday pies before Thanksgiving and never shared it here. So, here it is: Chai Spiced Caramel Apple Pie!
I’ve made some version of this pie for the last few years during both Christmas and Thanksgiving–basically, since we bought our home and had a baby. The recipe is finally where I want it to be, so it’d definitely time to share it with you guys. I think the key is a very dark caramel that is almost burnt but not quite there. I have found that a lighter caramel can’t stand up to the apples and spices. This specific pie pictured here actually went to our local firestation as part of http://www.ohladycakes.com/Ashlae’s #PieItForward movement and I can attest that if you bring treats to a firehouse they will be so excited and so appreciative! We planned on dropping and dashing, but they offered to give Casper a tour of the firehouse and climb into the fire truck, so obviously we went for it.
Anyway, I am literally about to call an Uber to take us to the airport, so I’ll leave you with a very Merry Christmas, a robust Happy Holidays, and I’ll see you in 2017!! Oh, and pie, duh.
- Caramel Sauce:
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2-3 batches pie dough (RECIPE HERE)*
- 2½ to 3 lbs apples (use a mix of soft and firm apples, I used granny smith, honeycrisp, and macintosh)
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne (optional)
- pinch of kosher salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- sugar for sprinkling.
- To make the caramel sauce:
- Place the sugar and water in a heavy bottom, 2-quart or larger, saucepan. Stir to moisten the sugar and set over medium-high heat, stirring as needed to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved bring the syrup to a boil, without stirring, until it become deeply golden (go as dark golden as you dare without burning it). Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the butter until smooth--it will steam and sputter, so be careful. Stir in the cream, vanilla, and salt, return to a boil for about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Roll out one batch of pie dough into a large rectangle--about 1-2 inches larger than your pan. For the dough into the pan, leaving the scraps hanging over the sides. Place the pan into the refrigerator to chill. Roll out the remaining dough and cut into lattice strips or whatever shape you like, place in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill until ready to use.
- Peel, core, and chop your apples. Place them in a large mixing bowl and toss with the brown sugar, cornstarch, spices, and salt. Fold in the caramel sauce and spread the mixture into the prepared pie crust. Cover the top of the pie with the lattice strips and/or other shapes. Set the entire pie in the refrigerator to chill while the oven preheats.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Whisk the egg and tablespoon of milk together and brush over the top of the pie and sprinkle with sugar. Place the pie pan on a sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes, turn the oven down to 375°F and bake an additional 4- to 60 minutes, or until the pie filling is bubbling throughout. If the top starts to become too dark, tent with foil and continue baking. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for at least 60 minutes before slicing.
I like to place the pie pan on top of a preheated sheet pan to catch any drips. Preheating the pan in the oven ensures that you won't wind up with a dreaded soggy bottom!
For a pie decorated with both a lattice and cut-outs, you will need 3 batches of pie dough.