Is late March too early to call Dish Of The Year for 2016? Because I think I have a winner.
At the very least, my version of Four and Twenty Blackbirds’ Salted Caramel Apple Pie will be Top Ten. I would love to think that over the course of the next nine months I could cook ten things that are better than this. I just very much doubt it will happen. It’s THAT good!
Salted Caramel Apple Pie. Even the words sound good together. You know how when you first fall in love and you want to say the name of your beloved all the time? That’s what I’ve been like all week, just walking around with my head full of “Mmmm…caramel…salted caramel…with apples…in a pie….salted caramel apple pie….oooohhhh yyyyyeah”. And sometimes not only in my head. There’s been a few awkward moments when I’ve said some version of the above only to be met with a blank look and someone saying “Ok, sure…but what’s the time?” That’s how good this is. It will send you into inner rhapsodies. Which sometimes become outer rhapsodies.
It’s starting to get a bit colder here now, much more autumnal – and nothing quite says Autumn like an apple pie! I pretty much used the Four and Twenty Blackbirds Recipe that you can find here for this.
However, I twisted it up a bit as follows:
- I used Rhubarb Bitters instead of Agnostura Bitters in the filling – because I already had some and rhubarb and apple is a classic combo right?
- The original recipe calls for four to six lemons. I think this is waaaaaaayyyyy too many. I used three and I feel my apple mixture was too wet. I had to drain a lot of liquid off before I put the apples in the pie. I would use two as a maximum and ideally, the minimum amount I needed to stop the apples from browning.
- I also used less nutmeg because I’m not overly fond of it and for my palate, a little of it goes a long way.
- I used bought pastry – a sweet shortcrust pie shell for the base and puff pastry for the topping
- I used less salt than the recipe specified because the fussiest eater in the world is not a fan of salt and sweet.
- I also swapped out the flour in the recipe for almond meal and used demerara sugar in the filling and sprinkled over the top of the pastry.
To me, the salted caramel sauce is the star of this dish. Without it, you have…apple pie. Tasty but ho-hum. With it – with the caramel sauce taken to the edge – so you get a hint of bitterness, then a flood of sweet then a kick of salt in the finish – you have a taste sensation!
Having said that, the spiced apples had a lovely flavour!
This was the first time I had ever latticed a pie and it shows. My lattice was quite uneven. Or, as we shall be calling it henceforth – rustic!
Here is a guide on how to do it properly!
How to Make A Lattice Pie Crust
This was soooo good! We ate it plain and also with cream and some of the leftover caramel sauce. It would be DIVINE with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The leftover sauce can be used over ice cream or other desserts and will keep in the fridge for a week or so. I am combining it with chocolate mousse and raspberries for a recipe from our latest Tasty Reads book which I hope will be as amazing as this.
- 1 sweet pie crust
- 1 1/2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed and cut into even strips
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 113g unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2-1 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
- 4-6 medium to large apples,
- 2 lemons
- 1/3 cup demerara sugar
- 2 tbsp almond meal
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 4-6 dashes Rhubarb bitters
- 1 egg beaten
- Demerara sugar to sprinkle
- Cook the sugar and water together over low heat until just dissolved.
- Add the butter and bring to a slow boil.
- Continue cooking until the mixture turns a deep golden brown, almost copper colour.
- (Keep an eye on it, it can turn from under done to burnt very quickly.)
- Once it is the coppery colour, remove from the heat and add the heavy cream. Be careful as the mixture will bubble and steam.
- Whisk the mixture over a low heat and add the salt.
- Set aside.
- Juice the lemons into a large bowl. Add the bitters. Core, peel and thinly slice the apples - a mandoline is perfect for this. Place the apples in the mixing bowl, ensuring each slice is dipped in the lemon juice to prevent browning.
- In a large measuring cup combine the sugar, almond meal, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Pour over the apples in the mixing bowl. Use your hands to gently mix and coat the apple slices in this mixture.
- Preheat your oven to 190-200C (375-400F).
- Place 1/3 of the apples into the sweet shortcrust pie shell, ensuring that the base is well covered and there are minimal gaps.
- Pour 1/4 of the caramel over the apples.
- Repeat with the caramel and apples twice.
- Assemble the lattice crust from puff pastry.
- Brush the crust with beaten egg.
- Sprinkle with demerara sugar.
- Place the pie on a baking paper lined baking sheet (to protect your oven if the caramel bubbles over).
- Reduce the oven temperature to 165C / 335F and bake 25-35 minutes or until the apples are just done when tested with a skewer.
- Allow to cool. Serve with the remaining sauce, cream or ice cream.