Salted Caramel Apple Pie
on Nov 09, 2022
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If you’re looking for a star for your Thanksgiving table or just a homemade fall dessert, this apple pie recipe is for you. You can’t go wrong with the combination of Granny Smith apples, Honeycrisp apples and salted caramel. This recipe gives you step-by-step instructions from the dough to the filling to assembling the pie with a lattice top.
Table of Contents
- Why This Recipe Works
- Best Apples for Pie
- Tips for Perfect Pie Crust
- How To Cut Butter Into Flour
- The Ingredients
- How To Make Salted Caramel Apple Pie
- Tips for Lattice Pie Crust
- More Fall Dessert Recipes
- Salted Caramel Apple Pie Recipe
Why This Recipe Works
It has everything you want from classic apple pie:
- Flaky, buttery crust
- Sweet & tart apple filling
Including salted caramel sauce is a bonus that makes this recipe special. A touch of salt in any dessert enhances everything that’s sweet and is a nice counterpoint.
Best Apples for Pie
There are countless types of apples. Some are better for baking than snacking. My strategy for pie is to combine tart and sweet apples to create a good balance of flavors in my filling. I use two kinds of apples in a 50-50 split.
For tart, I go for Granny Smith apples. They are firm and hold their shape when baked. Your filling should not turn out mushy. You want to be able to see apple slices in the baked pie and Granny Smiths give you that structure.
For sweet, I use Honeycrisp apples. They have more apple-y flavor than Granny Smiths, but they are not as firm. This makes the texture of the filling more interesting. You can substitute with Pink Lady or Braeburn apples.
Tips for Perfect Pie Crust
Great pie crust is buttery and rich and still manages to be flaky and light.
Keep it simple. I am not one for tricks or extras all in the hopes of getting the right consistency. The most basic pie dough is flour, fat, sugar, salt and water. And that’s what I stick to in order to keep it uncomplicated.
Use butter for the fat. Lard yields flaky crust but lacks flavor. Shortening has a high melting point, so it’s easy to mix, however, it also doesn’t deliver on taste. Once you get the handle of cutting cold butter into flour, you will end up with flaky crust that’s buttery, of course.
Make sure your ingredients are cold. This is applies to the butter and water. Wait to take the butter out of the fridge until you are ready to cut it into cubes and mix it into the flour. For the ice water, I take that literally. I will use water that’s chilled in the fridge, and I will still put ice cubes in it.
When you spoon the apple filling into the bottom crust, leave the excess juices in the bowl. The last thing you want is a pie with a soggy bottom. When you stir the filling together, juices from the apples will collect in the mixing bowl. Use a slotted spoon.
How To Cut Butter Into Flour
If you’ve never made pie crust, you might not know what it means to cut butter into the dry ingredients. Unlike cookies where you beat soft, room-temperature butter into sugar until it’s light and fluffy, you do the opposite for crust.
Start with cold butter cut into cubes. I take a stick of butter and halve it lengthwise. Then I halve those halves, again lengthwise. With these 4 long sections stacked together, I slice the butter crosswise into 8 equal sections. The result is 32 cubes from each stick of butter.
You can use a fork or pastry blender (also known a pastry cutter) to push the cold butter cubes into the flour. The consistency you are looking for are pea-sized clumps distributed throughout the dry ingredients.
It is very important that the butter is cold because when it is mixed into the dough and bakes, it releases steam giving you wonderfully flaky crust.
This is what you need:
- Apples: Granny Smith & Honeycrisp
- All-purpose flour
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Spices: cinnamon, ginger, ground cloves, nutmeg and kosher salt
- Vanilla extract
- Lemon juice
- Heavy cream
- Sanding sugar
- Sea salt
How To Make Salted Caramel Apple Pie
Make the dough
1. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
2. Add the cubed butter. Use a fork or pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour until you get the consistency of pea-sized clumps.
3. Stir in the cold water. The mixture will be shaggy at first. Then use your hands to press it into dough. You should see streaks of butter in it.
4. Divide the dough in half. Form it into 2 disks and cover with plastic wrap. Chill them in the refrigerator for 1 hour up to 2-3 days. (It is a good idea to make the dough a day in advance, so you have one less thing to do when you’re ready to assemble and bake the pie.)
Make the Caramel
5. Combine the sugar and water in a large saucepan over medium low-heat. Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves. Then stop stirring and don’t touch it.
6. Continue cooking the sugar mixture until it turns a deep amber color. Be patient. Use a pastry brush dipped in water to dissolve any sugar on the sides of the pot. But don’t disturb the caramel as it is bubbling.
7. Add the butter, stirring until it has melted. This won’t take long because the mixture is so hot.
8. Remove the pot from the stove and slowly whisk in the heavy cream, followed by the vanilla extract and sea salt.
Make The Apple Pie Filling
9. Combine the apples, lemon juice, sugar, flour and spices including cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg.
Assemble The Pie
10. Roll out one of the dough disks into a circle about 11 inches in diameter. Carefully transfer this to the pie dish, letting the excess overhang the edges.
11. Roll out the remaining dough into another 11-inch diameter disk and cut it into strips for the lattice crust top.
12. Spoon the filling into the pie leaving the juices in the bowl. Using a slotted spoon helps.
13. Pour the caramel over the apples.
14. Lay half the dough strips on the pie.
15. Carefully fold back every other strip and add a perpendicular strip. Fold those strips down again. Repeat with the rest of the dough to create a lattice.
16. Trim the edges of the dough using a paring knife or kitchen shears.
17. Crimp the edges of the pie. You can do this by pressing a fork all the way around. Or use your thumb and fingers to press points around the border.
18. Whisk together the egg wash. Brush it all over the crust and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bake the Pie
19. Bake the pie until it is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Put the pie on a foil-lined sheet pan in the oven when you bake it. The caramel will ooze out of the top of the pie, and this way you will avoid any messy cleanup.
Tips for Lattice Pie Crust
A lattice for pie is easier than it looks. The essential tools are a metal ruler and a sharp knife or a pizza roller. The ruler helps you get clean, straight cuts and uniform strip widths. If you don’t feel like measuring, you can cut the strips the width of the ruler, which is what I did for the pie in these photos.
At any point when you’re rolling out the dough for the base or the top of the pie and the dough seems to soft to the point of being sticky, put it back in the fridge to chill for 5 minutes or so. A rimless baking sheet dusted with flour helps you move the dough from your work surface to the fridge.
Give the pie a little time to cool because the caramel in the filling will be very hot. You can serve the pie warm or at room temperature. Feel free to go a la mode and top your slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The pie is best the day it is baked. Put leftover pie in an airtight container and store it at room temperature for up to 2 days. You can warm slices in a 300-degree F oven.
Always use Granny Smith apples because they are tart and firm enough to keep their shape when baked. Then include sweet apples such as Honeycrisp, Pink Lady or Braeburn to add good apple flavor. Use half tart apples and half sweet apples in your filling.
No. Just peel the apples and slice them. The raw apples will cook when they are inside the pie as the filling.
More Fall Dessert Recipes
Did you make this pie? Please leave a rating and comment below. Thanks!
Salted Caramel Apple Pie
- For dough
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for work surface
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
- 4-6 tablespoons ice water
- For caramel
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter cubed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- For filling
- 6 large apples 3 Honeycrisp and 3 Granny Smith, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch of ground cloves
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- For pie
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon sanding sugar
- For the dough, combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
- Use a fork or pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour mixture until it forms pea-sized clumps.
- Stir the water into the dry ingredients. When a shaggy dough starts to form, use your hands to press it together. Start with 4 tablespoons water and add 1-2 tablespoons more as necessary.
- Divide the dough in half, press into disks and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour up to 2-3 days.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with foil.
- To make the caramel, combine the granulated sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until the sugar has dissolved. Stop stirring. Increase the heat to medium and bring the caramel to a boil. Brush down the sides of the saucepan with a wet pastry brush as necessary. When the caramel is a deep amber color, stir in the butter, letting it melt. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the heavy cream, vanilla extract and sea salt.
- For the filling, in a large bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one of the dough disks into an 11-inch diameter circle about 1/8-inch-thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate.
- Roll out the other dough disk into an 11-inch diameter circle and cut into strips for the lattice top.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the filling into the bottom crust, leaving the juices in the bowl. Pour the caramel over the apples.
- Lay half the strips over the pie. Fold back every other strip and lay another strip in the perpendicular direction to “weave” it. Fold back the strips and repeat with the remaining dough.
- Trim around the edge of the pie using a paring knife or kitchen shears. Crimp the edges of the pie.
- Place the pie on the prepared sheet pan. Brush the crust all over with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sanding sugar.
- Bake the pie for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. If the crust starts browning too quickly, loosely cover it with foil.
- Let the pie cool before serving warm or at room temperature.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Originally published November 15, 2018. Updated: November 9, 2022.