Caramel Dutch Apple Dream Pie

It's no wonder Bob Miller's caramel dutch apple pie won our Pie Dish Off. The crust is made with shortening and vodka, which keeps it moist and tender. The caramel is homemade, and the filling brings bold flavors to the pie. And when it's all topped with a crispy brown sugar and butter crumble, It's the kind of pie that reminds you of the ones your mom made — but better.


INGREDIENTS

Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup shortening, in small chunks
  • 1 tablespoon butter, in small chunks, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons vodka

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon caramel extract

Filling:

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons Vietnamese cinnamon
  • 6 cups (2.25 lbs) thinly sliced Jonathan or Macintosh apples plus 1 Granny Smith
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup blackberry wine (such as Arbor Mist)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Caramel:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Splash of caramel extract
  • Egg white, for brushing
  • Granulated sugar, for sprinkling
  • Red, orange, yellow food coloring (diluted with water), for decorating

STEPS

Make the Crust:

  1. Sift flour and salt into a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the shortening and butter to the flour mixture.
  3. Cut the shortening and butter into flour with a fork until mixture is crumbly.
  4. Mix in water and vodka with a fork, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  5. Form dough into a ball.
  6. Cut dough into 2 pieces and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour while preparing the other ingredients.

Make the Topping:

  1. Mix topping ingredients together, allow to cool slightly and use a fork to form crumbles.
  2. Set aside to cool in the refrigerator while preparing other ingredients.

Make the Filling:

  1. At this point, preheat the oven to 365 degrees F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients (sugar, flour, cinnamon) together in a large microwave-safe bowl, then add the apples and toss together.
  3. Mix wet ingredients (heavy cream, wine, vanilla) and mix into the apple mixture.
  4. Microwave the apple mixture uncovered on high for 8 minutes, until soft but not mushy. Remove apples from microwave and strain off excess liquid in a colander.

Make the Caramel:

  1. While apple mixture is in the microwave, make the caramel.
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan first, then add the brown sugar, corn syrup, condensed milk, and vanilla and caramel extracts and heat to 245 degrees F using a candy thermometer.
  3. Then add roughly half of the caramel to the warm apple mixture.

Assemble the Pie:

  1. Now, roll out one of the dough balls for the bottom crust and lay in a 9-inch pie pan.
  2. Put the apple/caramel mixture into the crust and pour some of the remaining caramel over the apples (you may not use all of it).
  3. Sprinkle the topping over the pie.
  4. Roll out the second dough ball and cut (10) 1/2-inch strips and lattice over the pie.
  5. Cut leaf shapes with a cutter from any remaining dough and use to decorate the outer edge.
  6. Glaze with an egg white and lightly sprinkle with granulated sugar.
  7. Bake in the oven at 365 degrees F for 55 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Allow the pie to cool for a couple hours and color the leaves with a mixture of food coloring and water, using fall colors such as red, orange, and yellow.

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