I think it’s safe to say that it’s (FINALLY!) fall here in upstate New York! In proper upstate fashion we went from 80 degree temps to the 40’s in the blink of an eye. I, for one, am ready to stop sweating 24/7 and having to de-frizz my hair everyday and to start wearing cozy clothes! In our neck of the woods we swing from one extreme temp to another, rarely enjoying a comfortable middle ground! In the spring we can go from the 30’s to the 70’s from one day to the next, in the summer (especially this summer!)we tend to stay in the 80’s and 90’s with anywhere from 70%-100% humidity.
Although I love to cook and especially to bake, in the summer I become a true slacker in that department! First of all, our schedules are crazy with all of the kids working, and second of all, IT’S HOT PEOPLE! and this momma’s hot flashes can’t take more heat in the kitchen! Basically, if it can’t be cooked on the grill then we don’t eat it!!!
When true fall temps finally come around I get the urge to get back in the game. There are plenty of pumpkin and apple recipes that come out of my kitchen this time of year and my family is usually quite thrilled to have those amazing aromas wafting throughout the house! So, without further ado, I’d like to share with you all one of our very favorites!
I received this recipe from a friend of mine twenty two years ago when I was deciding on the menu for a luncheon we were throwing after our son’s Baptism celebration. Neither of us can remember where she found the recipe, but I remember her saying it was from a magazine. I’ve tried to look for it all over the web and I finally found the exact recipe on bhg.com. Back then there was no bhg.com so I’m assuming it came from an actual Better Homes and Gardens magazine! I couldn’t even try to estimate how many times I’ve made it since then, but it’s A LOT! I make it every Thanksgiving and Christmas, for fall birthdays and whenever I make a meal for others. I’ve passed the recipe on to so many people because it’s truly that good and anyone who likes to bake wants to make it.
In all honesty, I’m not an apple pie fan, but this recipe is the exception! First of all, it only has a bottom crust and it is actually kind of a cross between apple pie and apple crisp. Win-win, right?
Crunchy Caramel Apple Pie
Single pie crust
1/2 C sugar
3 TBSP all purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
6 C thinly sliced apples (I find Granny Smith to work best)
crumb topping (see below)
1/2 C chopped pecans
1/4 C caramel topping
If you’re not into making your own pie crust then a store-bought crust works just fine! I’m going to share my favorite crust recipe from Martha Stewart’s Menus for Entertaining, a cookbook my Aunt ‘Sis’ gave to us at our engagement party in 1994. It’s the only crust I ever make. My aunt’s love of cooking and entertaining had a large impact on me and I think of her every time I whip out this much-used, well-loved cookbook! The recipe makes two pie crusts so I wrap the second and freeze for the next time, BONUS! It is a sweet crust, so if you’re using it for a savory recipe (ie.chicken pot pie) just omit the sugar.
Martha’s Sweet Pie Crust
(Makes two 8-10 inch pie crusts)
2 1/2 C unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
3 TBSP sugar
1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
4 TBSP ice water
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
Put the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. All ingredients should be cold. Add the butter and process for 10 seconds, or just until the mixture resembles coarse meal. (To mix by hand, combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender or two table knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.)
Add the ice water bit by bit, alternating with the egg yolks; process just until the dough holds together without being wet or sticky. Do not over-process. Test the dough by squeezing a small amount together. If it is too dry and crumbly, add a bit more water. Divide the dough in half and form into two discs. Wrap each well and chill for at least an hour.
If I am freezing the extra one I wrap in plastic wrap then put into a ziploc bag with the date on it. It’s such a treat when you want to make a pie and you remember one already in the freezer ready to go! I made this for many years mixing by hand before I owned a food processor and it works just fine. Good arm workout! If you do have a food processor, though, it’s super easy and quick!
Once you’ve got your crust chilling, move on to the crumb topping, or what I like to call the ‘magic!’
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C flour
1/2 C oats
1/2 C butter
Put first four ingredients into a bowl, cut cold butter into small pieces and cut into mixture with a pastry blender or two butter knives. Set aside.
Now for the apple filling:
I usually buy 6-8 Granny Smith apples, depending on their size, to make six cups of sliced apples. I’ve tried several different types of apples but I find Granny Smith to work best; others were not firm enough and the pie turned out runny. Use whatever you like best! You can also add more flour or possibly a bit of cornstarch if using other types.
In a large bowl stir together the sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. I use this large bowl with measurements on the side from Pampered Chef so I know when I’ve sliced enough apples to equal 6 cups. Add apple slices and toss to coat.
Roll out your pie crust (or open the package from the store!) and place in pie plate, trimming the edges and crimping. Add apple filling and top with crumb topping. Cover edges with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove foil from edges and bake 25-30 minutes more or until top is a deep golden brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle with pecans (I omit this step, nut allergy in our house!) and drizzle with caramel topping. Let cool before serving.
We like to serve this pie warm with whipped cream on top or ice cream. Vanilla is a go-to for most but, little secret, coffee ice cream on top takes it to a whole new level, in my opinion!
Full disclosure…I was making this pie for a friend that asked for a donation to a bake sale fundraiser, so in my rush to get it made and delivered to her I forgot to take a picture of it out of the oven until I got it into my car. Sorry for the crummy shot!
TIP: When placing pie in oven put a large piece of foil, with edges folded up, under the pie plate or place pie on a large cookie sheet to catch any drips. It will bubble up! I’ve set off many smoke alarms when I forgot this step, including one visit from the fire department!
I’d love to hear if any of you decide to try and make this! You won’t regret it! Let me know if you have any questions! Please scroll down and share your comments! Happy baking!