This recipe for Salted Caramel Apple Pie (with Bourbon-soaked raisins and pecans) was my entry in the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center Blue Ribbon Country Fair. It was beyond thrilling to win first place (Blue Ribbon) in the category of Fruit Pies and Best in Show (Purple Ribbon) for all eleven baking categories.
Of course, I’m sharing my recipe with you.
This was the fourth time I’ve competed in the Blue Ribbon Country Fair over the years, in baking and canning and even produce. My ribbon count is 23 and I am proud of them all. The competition is fierce. There are some amazing bakers in this area, so it really is an achievement to win a ribbon.
This year my goal was to win Best in Show for baking, then retire from the competition. I figured it was someone else’s turn to win ribbons. Ironically, I have never been nervous about competing. I figured I’d do my best and hope for the best. This year was different.
By having a goal, I put so much more pressure on myself. I was a basket case! Thankfully, my efforts paid off; I’m not sure I could have done it again. *wink* I talked about my entry with my friend, Donna. She told me that the best apple pie she had ever eaten contained walnuts and caramel sauce. I decided to use pecans, but really liked the thought of the pie she loved so much. So, she gets total credit. Always.
The only thing I did differently from what is printed in the recipe was that I made a decorative crust. For my pie I used a 4 inch oak leaf cookie cutter and cut out the leaves to drape over the top of the domed up apples. It took two layers of leaves, with three small one inch leaf cutouts for the very center. Everything else I did is right here. So, this is it.
Hope you’ll try it! P~
- FOR THE PIE DOUGH:
- 8 ounces, by weight, all-purpose flour (this is about 2 cups MINUS 4 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 ounce lard (2 tablespoons - you could use shortening)
- 7 ounces butter (1¾ sticks or 14 tablespoons), cut into cubes room temperature
- ice water
- FOR THE SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE:
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- FOR THE PIE:
- The day before:
- 1 cup golden raisins
- Bourbon enough to cover the raisins. Allow to soak overnight.
- 4 pounds apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I used a combination of Jonagold, Ginger Gold, Cripps Pink and Granny Smith) tossed with
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- ¾ cup salted caramel sauce
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons corn starch
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 beaten egg
- 2 teaspoons sanding sugar
- FOR THE DOUGH:
- Put flour in mixing bowl, add sugar and pinch of salt.
- Add 8 tablespoons of butter to the flour.
- Using your hands, rub the butter into the flour to lightly mix. Do not overwork this.
- Add the ice water, just a bit at a time, and using a fork or table knife, stir the dough between additions just enough that the dough STARTS coming together. Do not overwork this.
- Place the dough on a very lightly flour dusted surface and press the dough together, forming it into a rectangle.
- Using a rolling-pin, roll the dough into a rectangular shape. Do not overwork this. One roll should be enough to flatten the dough.
- Cut off small pieces of the remaining butter and lightly spread the pieces on the length of the rectangle on the sides.
- Cut small pieces of the lard and lightly spread down the length of the rectangle in the middle, between the buttered sides.
- Starting at the width of the dough, roll it up along the length.
- Turn the dough 90 degrees.
- Pat the ends to flatten and roll the dough out into a rectangle.
- Repeat the process of spreading the butter and lard, rolling the dough, turning 90 degrees.
- You should have enough butter and lard to incorporate, that this process will be repeated a total of 5 times.
- After you have added the last of the butter and lard and rolled the dough, cover with cling-wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
- When ready to use the dough, simply cut the dough to the size you need (this makes a two pie crust) and roll out on a lightly floured surface.
- FOR THE SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE:
- In a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan, over medium heat, add the sugar, water and lemon juice.
- Stirring frequently with a wooden spoon for the first couple of minutes.
- Then cook until the mixture begins to bubble and turns golden (about 10 minutes) total.
- Remove from heat immediately once a golden color is achieved.
- Very carefully add the cream (this will bubble, and may splatter; use caution).
- Using a long-handled wooden spoon, stir until smooth.
- Stir in the salt and allow to cool.
- FOR THE PIE:
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Line a 9" deep dish pie plate with one of the disks of rolled-out dough.
- In a very large bowl, combine the drained raisins, sliced apples in lemon juice, pecans, caramel sauce, brown sugar, corn starch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
- Toss to combine well.
- Pour into the prepared pie plate.
- Roll out the second disk of dough and cover the pie, using beaten egg to adhere the top to the bottom edge of the crust.
- Brush the top crust with beaten egg and sprinkle with sanding sugar.
- Place the pie on a baking sheet (It will likely run over) and into the preheated oven.
- Bake for 30 minutes, cover the pie loosely with foil to prevent over-browning of the crust and continue to bake for another 1½ hours.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool.