Caramel Apple Pie
I made this tonight and thought I'd share the post here.
2 pie crusts (if you make them great, if not, store bought work just fine) I have a recipe for crusts if anyone wants it, I can post it here too.
8-10 ripe, peeled, cored and sliced apples.
Approx- 1 cup brown sugar (more if you like super sweet)
3 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 tbsp cornstarch
Just a quick warning, I don't measure. I've been doing it free hand, so I'm giving ROUGH amounts. If it seems like too much for your taste, then adjust it. You can also add cloves or ginger if it's Christmas and have a seasonal taste (careful with cloves, they have analgesic properties and can numb your mouth if you use too much).
1. After I peel, core and slice my apples (I slice the 'long' way, rather than the 'round' way), I put them in a colander (strainer) propped over a large pot. I toss the sugar and the cinnamon in with the apple slices. Then I wait.
2. Letting the apples rest before you put them into the crust lets some of the excess water/ juice drain out, and helps keep the apples firm-ish and the pie non-sloppy. It also deflates the apples a bit, so the crust doesn't 'fall in' and become hollow after you bake it.
3. Do #4 first if you are using a pie cone. If you aren't, the continue here. After about an hour (if you forget about them- it's fine- for some reason, they don't get the yucky brown old apple look), simply take the drained, seasoned apples and layer them into the crust. I like to alternate the direction of the layers. I find keeping space between the apples makes them cook more evenly.
4. I wish I had a pie cone. They look so cool. I don't have one, so if I think the apples are still going to be really juicy, I make one out of tin foil (it keeps the steam rising out of the pie, so your top doesn't bubble). A pie cone looks like a cone. With a space (like a volcano mouth) from top to bottom, I wrap the tin foil around my finger and squeeze one side in more than the other side. The reason #3 and #4 are out of order is me. I'm having a mental lapse.
5. Now, once the apples are happily layered in the crust, I take the pot of leftover juice, sugar and cinnamon, and put it on the stove with the cornstarch. Medium high heat until it starts to bubble, at which point remove it from the heat, whisk vigorously and return to heat. Continue doing that (whisking/ heating) until the juice is a dark caramel colour and thickness. Let it cool a minute or so, then spoon it gently over the apples. If you added more sugar, you'll have a more caramel-ified taste than you will with just a smidge of sugar.
6. Top crust the pie, and trim and flute the edges (I'm not very good at that bit). Cut several steam escape holes (or if you pie coned it you probably don't have to bother). Then brush it with milk, or egg wash, or even butter and sprinkle a bit of sugar on the top. The sugar crystallizes and gets crispy and delicious when it's baked.
7. Throw the pie in at 400 F, for about 45- 60 minutes. Check every 15 minutes to make sure your crust isn't browning too much, and if it is, tent it with foil. If it's just the OUTER edge of the crust turning too brown, take a large square of foil, and cut a circle in it (a circle smaller than the brown part of the crust). Then, just lay that foil circle over the pie to keep the edge from browning more.
8. LET IT COOL DOWN COMPLETELY. At room temperature. Don't put it in the fridge. That won't work the way you hope it might.