Sweet, Sweet, Home-Baked Goodness

This post is sponsored by Pepto-Bismol.

As a lover of dessert, I consider myself fortunate to be surrounded by amazing bakers - my wife and my mother both know their way around the pantry and are constantly working their magic with butter, flour, eggs and sugar, with a little chocolate and vanilla for good measure. And just like a slow roasted chicken or a stew bubbling away on the stove top, something freshly baked, sweet and warm from the oven is always the perfect end to any meal (and sometimes the perfect start to the day even!) There’s nothing like the anticipation and amazing aromas that fill the house when something sweet is in the oven. 

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One of my all-time favourites is a warm apple pie - that smell of fresh apples and toasted cinnamon gets me. The flaky, buttery crust goes perfectly with vanilla ice cream, a piece of sharp cheddar and a steaming cup of Earl Grey. And as much as I love eating apple pie, making one is another story all together. Pastry is daunting - I was raised eating perfect pastries made with all different types of fat - lard, butter, shortening - you name it, I’ve eaten it. But the chef in me really needed to conquer the butter pastry. Over work the dough and your pastry becomes tough and hard to cut through. Failure to cook it long enough and your base and top crust become a soggy mess. Never fear friends, I’ve got just the recipe for you. 

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I faced my fears and with a little help from my friends (and my wife) I tackled the apple pie. Of course I couldn’t just make any apple pie. I decided to go big and make a Salted Caramel Apple Pie with Maple Sugar and as you can see by the pictures my first go turned out pretty good! BUT as we know, what LOOKS good and TASTES good sometimes doesn’t always sit well. What some don’t realize is rich, buttery pastry (which is your friend most of the time) can cause uncomfortable symptoms like heartburn, nausea and upset stomach. Let’s admit it, the older we get our stomachs aren’t what they once were. And if you’re going in for a second piece, like I usually do, keep that bottle of Pepto Bismol handy for fast relief of nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach or diarrhea. You’ll thank me later. To ensure this product is right for you, always read and follow the label.

 

SALTED CARAMEL APPLE PIE

Ingredients

  • 2 chilled discs of pie dough (see recipe below) 
  • 6 large apples
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice 
  • 1/4 c all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1.4 tsp ground cloves 
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 2 tbsp whole milk
  • course maple sugar 
  • 1/2 c salted caramel plus extra to garnish (see recipe below)

ALL BUTTER PASTRY

  • 2 1/2 c (300g) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c (228g) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 6 tbsp cold water, or more as needed

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the butter cubes, tossing them quickly through the flour until each piece is well coated. Quickly work the butter cubes into the flour by pressing the pieces through your palms or your fingers, flattening the cubes into big shards and continuing to toss them through the flour as you work, re-coating the shingled pieces of butter as you mix. Continue cutting the butter into the flour just until the pieces of butter are about the size of pecan halves. Make sure to work quickly and handle the butter as little as possible 

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Starting with 6 tbsps, pour water into the well and toss to combine with your hands. Add more ice water, 1 tbsp at a time, continuing to mix with your hands just until the dough comes together. When it begins to come together, you can knead it a few times to make sure it’s fully incorporated. It’s important not to over-hydrate the dough, which should never be sticky—it should hold together easily in a ball, but still feel almost dry to the touch.

Form the dough into 2 even discs and wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight. 

SALTED CARAMEL

  • 1 c granulated sugar 
  • 6 tbsp salted butter in pieces, room temperature
  • 1/2 c 35% cream 
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Heat the granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a high heat resistant rubber spatula or wooden spoon. The sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown, amber-colored liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn.

Once the sugar is completely melted, add the butter immediately. The caramel will bubble up when the butter is added so take care not to burn yourself during this step. Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted, whisking well to incorporate if the butter and sugar start to separate. 

Slowly drizzle in the heavy cream while stirring with a whisk - the heavy cream is cooler than the hot caramel, so the mixture will rapidly bubble and may splatter when it's added. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute after the cream is added - it will rise in the pan as it boils.Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the salt and allow to cool down before using.

Method

On a floured work surface, roll out one of the discs of chilled dough (keep the other one in the refrigerator). Roll the dough out to 12” in diameter, quarter turning it to create a rounded circle. Carefully place the dough into a 9” metal pie plate, glass will work as well but I like metal for a crisper bottom. Form the dough into the creases of the pie plate, ensuring smooth coverage. Trim the overhanging dough about 1” from the outer edge of the pie plate, discarding the scraps. Fold the 1” overhang under itself and crimp the edges using your preferred method i.e., thumb & forefinger, fork, etc. Place filled pie plate back into the fridge. Prepare your egg wash by mixing 2 tbsps of whole milk with 1 beaten egg and set aside.

Remove the second disc of chilled pie dough from the refrigerator and roll the dough out to 12 inches diameter. Using a sharp knife cut 12 strips 3/4 inch wide, using a clean ruler or straight edge as a guide to assure the lines are straight. Remove the pie plate from the fridge and fill the chilled dough with the apple mixture. Drizzle 1/2 cup of salted caramel evenly over the filling, avoiding the dough around the edge. Carefully thread the dough strips, for the lattice top, over and under one another, pulling back strips as necessary to weave. Using a small and sharp knife, trim the extra overhang. Crimp the edges of the dough with a fork or your fingers. Lightly brush the lattice top with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse maple sugar.

Place the pie onto a large baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Keeping the pie in the oven, turn the temperature down to 375°F (190°C) and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes. If the top of your pie is getting too brown, cover loosely with aluminum foil. The pie will be done when the caramel begins to bubble up.

Allow the pie to cool for 4 hours before serving. Warm each piece individually to prevent the filling from pooling in the pie plate, drizzling with the extra caramel sauce and maple sugar to serve. 

I created this blog post as a paid ambassador for Pepto Bismol. All opinions and advice are my own and I only work with companies I genuinely love and have used prior to being contacted.

 

Erin Neal