Last week, Shannon and I shared with you our three best Thanksgiving side dishes. Today, we’re going to show you how to bake an All-American classic Apple pie with a flaky, buttery crust and a homemade salted caramel sauce that will knock your socks off.
Buttery, Flaky Pie Crust
Now, there’s no shame if you’ve used the boxed or pre-made pie crusts available at the market. I’ve been known to use those a time or two. Today, however, we’re preparing an Apple Pie for Thanksgiving Dinner and we want to bring our “A” game. That “A” is for Apple Pie, of course.
First off, let me tell you that the ice box is your pie crust’s best friend. About two hours before you start making the pie crust, put the butter, shortening and flour in the ice box. We want these ingredients cold. Trust the cowboy on this!
Two Hours Later . . .
Get you a large bowl and add about 2 1/2 cups of the flour. Set the rest aside for now. Add a little cinnamon if you prefer, and the baking powder. Take a knife and cut the butter and shortening into small slices and stir them in with the flour.
Tip: Freeze the butter and shortening, then use a cheese grater to add them to the dry mixture.
Use two forks, a fork and a knife, or a pastry cutter to cut the butter and the shortening into the flour. Continue until the texture of the mixture is that of cracker crumbles.
Now, standing by should be some well-chilled ice water. Either you’ve recently filled it with ice or its been in the freezer a while, we want this water to be ice cold. Pour about 1/4 cup into the pie crust mixture. Fold the dough around until it starts to firm up. Keep stirring and folding until firm.
Tip: In order to get a pie crust to rise, some people use Vodka. For Apple Pie, use Apple Cider Vinegar.
Add the Apple Cider Vinegar to help make the crust puff up. When firm enough to be able to get a grip on it, form it into a brick like shape. Cut in half.
Chill the dough from 2 – 24 hours in an ice box, covered in plastic wrap or in a covered bowl.
Filling the Pie
To start, get ready to peel some apples. Growing up, my grandpa would get me a wooden stick and ask me to peel dozens of apples, so I’m pretty experienced.
I like to use both Granny Smith and a sweet red apple, like Fuji or Gala or Honeycrisp, peeled and uniformly cut so that each bite will be of equal size when the pie is finished. Add white and brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Mix well and add a little corn starch and lemon juice. Set aside for about two hours.
Assemble the pie
Roll half the dough for the crust out until it can cover the bottom and sides of your pie pan or Dutch oven. The cold dough is so nice and easy to fold up, lift the dough into the pan, and unfold. Mold the crust to the side. It’s time to add those apples.
You’ll notice that the sugar and flour brought out some delicious apple juice while they sat in the ice box. Fill the crust to the very top with the apple filling.
Easy Caramel Sauce
We call this an easy caramel sauce. It’s just butter, cream, sugar, brown sugar, cornstarch, a little vanilla, stir until it gets good and thick. Stir frequently to avoid burning. At the end, add coarse kosher salt -about half of a tablespoon. Stir and take a little taste. If a piece of salt bursts with flavor in your mouth, it’s ready to go.
Pour the caramel sauce across the top of the apples. Save the excess to pour over each slice of pie when it is ready.
Roll out the rest of the pie crust and cut into equal strips. Arrange into a lattice pattern as shown in the photograph below.
If you’re baking this pie inside, see the below recipe for instructions. For those of you wanting to impress your friends and family by cooking on hot coals, head out into the backyard.
Tip: When cooking outdoors on hot coals, always rotate the bottom of the oven one way, and the lid the opposite way.
Using a 5″ trivet, place the dutch oven on top of it and surround the outer edge with hot coals. If you have a lot of wind, like I do today, you’ll need to rotate the oven frequently to avoid hot spots. Scatter coals over the lid of the Dutch oven, and rotate often until the pie crust is cooked through.
Tip: To determine if the bottom of the crust is baked through, lightly press down on the crust at the side of the oven. If there is not much give, the crust is finished.
As soon as the crust feels firm along the edges, remove from heat and set for at least four hours. Bon Appetite!
As always, thank you for stopping by and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel. We will be back every Wednesday afternoon with a new recipe. Thank you for watching and stopping by the blog. I’ll see you down the salted caramel apple pie trail.
Best Ever Flaky Pie Crust - Cowboy Kent Rollins
- 2 ½ all- purpose flour plus more for sprinkling
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon optional
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 6 tablespoons butter chilled
- ¾ cup crisco chilled
- ¼ cup ice water
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 tablespoon water
- In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, cinnamon (if using) and baking powder. Slice or grate the butter and shortening in the mix.
- With a pastry cutter or fork, cut the butter and shortening into the flour until it becomes a cracker crumb consistency but still has some butter and crisco chunks in it.
- Stir in the ice water, a tablespoon at a time, and fold in. Stir in the vinegar.
- Flour your hands and begin working the dough into a ball. Place the dough on a floured surface and cut it into 2 equal pieces.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the icebox for at least 2 to 4 hours to set up.
- When ready to use, roll the dough out onto a floured surface to the desired thickness.
Caramel Apple Pie - Cowboy Kent Rollins
- 3 teaspoons cornstarch
- ¼ cup water
- 1 stick butter softened
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ to 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
- 3 Granny Smith apples
- 3 sweet apples fugji, gala, etc.
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ⅓ cup flour
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water and mix well. Set aside.
- Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a small saucepan.
- In a small bowl, mix together the cream, sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Pour into the melted butter, bring the mixture to a boil and stir in the cornstarch mixture. Keep stirring, about 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mixture thickens.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and sea salt. Set aside.
- Peel and core the apples. Slice the apples and place them in a large bowl. Stir in the sugar, light brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and cornstarch. Toss with your hands to coat the apples well.
- Sprinkle the lemon juice over the tops of the apples.
Roll out a bottom pie crust to about ⅛-inch thick and place into a 9-inch pie plate or 10-inch Dutch oven.
- Spread the apples evenly over the crust. Drizzle about ½ cup of the caramel sauce over the apples.
- Place the second crust on top. If using a solid crust, be sure it has at least 6 vent holes.
- Whisk together the egg and water and brush over the top of the crust.
- Brush the egg wash on the crust.
- Place the pie in a preheated to 375 degrees F. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until the crust is set up and the pie is bubbling through. You may need to use a pie shield around the outside edges as it cooks to prevent it from burning.
- Remove from the oven and let rest at least 2 hours. Cut and drizzle with the remaining caramel sauce. Serve.