In just a few short days, one of the best days of the year will be upon us. Thanksgiving! It is hands down my favorite holiday of the year! I love it! I can’t wait to spend the day with my family, and fill my plate(s) with turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes and turnips and cranberry sauce….just to name a few things.
Last year I celebrated Thanksgiving in a much different way. I didn’t partake in the typical Thanksgiving Day festivities. I was in the midst of traveling around the South Island of New Zealand. So, instead of cooking, watching football and eating obscene amounts of turkey and apple pie, I spent the day hiking up Franz Josef Glacier and later enjoying an amazing rack of lamb. I can’t believe it’s already been a year since my kiwi adventure!
I spent this past weekend testing out some new recipes for this year’s feast. It was quite productive, to say the least.
I can’t wait any longer, so before I started rambling on I have to tell you one thing. It’s about this pie. It’s AMAZING! This is quite possibly one of the best apple pies I’ve ever tasted. So, if there is just one thing you make this Thanksgiving, make this pie! You won’t be disappointed and your Thanksgiving guests will love you forever.
There’s one key component to pie that I think we should talk about – the crust. Before I started FCI, I think I made my own pie crust once. That one time was enough to let me know that when it came to pie crust, I was happy to purchase mine from the freezer section. I’m singing a different tune these days. Now, there’s no chance of me buying pie crust ever again.
Making pie crust isn’t nearly as terrible as you might think, and it’s totally worth the effort!
Here are a few key things I think are important when making pie dough:
* Use cold, cubed butter
* A pastry blender makes this job much easier
* Do not over work the dough
* Give you dough time to chill
* Use ice cold water, and use just a little bit at a time
* It’s always helpful to keep some extra flour on hand to use on your work surface
For this pie I used a great, basic go-to, buttery, flaky pie crust, from Smitten Kitchen, that makes enough for 1 double or 2 single pie crusts.
Near my neighborhood in Brooklyn is an amazing pie shop called Four and Twenty Blackbirds. Seriously, it’s awesome! They make some of the best pies. If you live nearby should should check it out. And if you don’t live nearby, you should make the trek to Brooklyn and check it out….it’s worth the trip. I’d give you a recommendation on what to order, but it’s all delicious…you can’t go wrong with anything you order. Anyway, I sampled the Salted Caramel Apple pie there a few weeks ago, and was determined to re-create it at home.
Cook the sugar and water together over low heat, until just dissolved. Add the butter and bring to a slow boil. Continue cooking at a low boil until the mixture turns a deep, golden brown color, almost copper (this will take a while). Once the mixture has turned a copper color, remove from the heat immediately and add the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble rapidly and steam. Whisk the mixture together well over low heat, and sprinkle in the sea salt.
To make the apple filling:
While the sugar mixture is boiling, begin to work on the apple filling. Juice the lemons into a large bowl. Peel, core and very thinly slice the apples. Coat the sliced apples in the lemon juice - this will prevent the apples from browning and will add flavor. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg, and mix together. Sprinkle this mixture over the apples, and use your hands to gently mix and coat the apple slices.
Roll your pie crusts, cut your lattice and fit the bottom crust to the pie dish. Layer 1/3 of the apples in the bottom on the crust, and move to adjust so that there are minimal gaps. Pour 1/3 of the caramel mixture of the apples. Add 1/3 of the apples and another 1/3 of the caramel for the second layer, then add the third layer of apples and all but a small bit of the remaining caramel. Note: save a small portion of the caramel to pour on top of the lattice once it's assembled.
Patiently assemble the lattice crust on top and flute the edges of the crust. Pour the last bit of caramel on top. Brush the crust with beaten egg and lightly sprinkle with granulated (or turbinado) sugar and sea salt.
Place pie on a baking sheet (the caramel will bubble over during baking). Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees F. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F and make 35-40 minutes, or until the top of the pie is golden brown and apples are soft.