Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Caramel Apple Pie For When You've Got Something to Prove

Dear Reader,

A few weeks ago I had dinner at my friend Claire's house.  Claire is an amazing cook, so we were all looking forward to a delicious dinner, which we had.  But then for dessert, she brought out these little caramel cookies.  She had cut them really small so they were almost like petit fours, and I didn't feel at all guilty devouring about six or seven of those bad boys.  I tried to take a picture, but they were gone so quickly - kids hovering over the plate, grownups swatting  away tiny hands - this was all I could manage.

The recipe for those cookies is from Martha Stewart, and if you're going to someone's house for Thanksgiving, you might want to make some of these to bring along.  They are amazing.  Today I have the house to myself and thought I'd get a jump on Thanksgiving and make an apple pie.  Easy enough.  But how about if I incorporated some of Claire's amazing caramel into the pie?  Ooh la la, right?  Claire warned me that making caramel is a tricky business, and I'd never tried it, but I thought I could handle it.  So I put on the Breaking Dawn soundtrack, threw some sugar and butter into a pan, and this happened:

Totally not caramel.

I decided to look around for someone to teach me how to make caramel, and lo and behold, I found Gordon Ramsay!

Elsewhere on the internets, I learned that caramel is best made in a heavy bottomed pan, so I dug out my trusty cast iron skillet, and I sprinkled in some sugar.

One cup of sugar sitting in a pan.

 Starting to melt and turn caramelly.

I went and effed it up.  I could hear Gordon Ramsay's voice in my head, "No! What have you done, you donkey?" I put away my spoon.  Would I have the confidence to let it go really nice and dark?

 Now I added some butter - 6 Tbs. Let that melt, then poured in half a cup of cream, which you can see in this photo, at the ready.

Here is my pie crust waiting to happen.  In my food processor I have 2 cups of flour, 10 tbs. butter, 1/3 cup sugar, and the zest of one lemon.  WHIZ! Then add 2 egg yolks and a little water.

Rolled out dough.

If the dough doesn't fit perfectly, nobody will know unless you take photos and put them on the Internets.

I love this little contraption.  Caroline Ingalls would be consumed with jealousy if she saw mine.

I mixed the apples with a little lemon, sugar and then drizzled on the caramel.  I didn't go too crazy with it, figuring that it would lend a nice goo to the pie, and I could serve extra caramel, warmed up over ice cream to go on the side.  That's how I roll.

1 comment:

  1. Is it annoying for me to leave a tip on making caramel? Well...anyway...using a light-colored pan is usually better because with the darkness of cast iron it's harder to tell when your caramel is done. I usually turn off the stove when the caramel is one shade lighter than I want it to be. It will still cook a little bit because the pan is still hot.


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