November 27th, 2011

Bourbon Caramel Apple Pie

I don’t really make apple pies any more because I find them a little boring.  When I saw the recipe on 20something cupcakes, however, I was actually curious.  I like bourbon.  I like caramel.  I like a crunchy top instead of double pie crusts.  So I added the recipe to my thanksgiving baking list. 

I worried a bit about overcooking the apples as you saute them first and then bake the pie so I shorted the saute time just a bit and everything was fine.  I did not, however, give the caramel enough time to reduce and the piw was a little loose when cut.  Next time, I’d let it go a few extra minutes after you think it is done (or maybe add some flour or cornstarch to thicken the filling.

If I make another apple pie in my lifttime, it is sure to be this one.



Bourbon Caramel Apple Pie
Based on the Pastry Queen’s Chef Mark’s Southern Comfort Apple Pie

Basic Pie Crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup (10-2/3 tablespoons) chilled unsalted butter
4 to 5 tablespoons ice water

Using a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar by pulsing a few times. Cut butter into 1/2-inch cubes. Add butter to flour mixture and continue pulsing the processor until mixture looks crumbly, with bits of dough the size of peas. Add 4 tablespoons ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing for 10 seconds after each addition. After final addition, dough should begin to clump together in a ball. If it doesn’t, continue mixing for about 10 seconds longer. (If it still looks too dry, add 1 more tablespoon ice water.) Gently mold dough into a disk, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Transfer unwrapped dough to a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 1/8-inch-thick circle large enough to cover bottom and sides of a 9-inch-diameter deep-dish pie pan; do not use a regular (shallow) pan. Transfer dough to pie pan, crimping edges with your fingers or a fork. Prick bottom with a fork all over. Put the crust in the freezer while you make the other components. For the picture above, I took out a piece of the dough, roll it into a long strip and braid it for the edge.


1/2 cup pecan halves
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (5-1/3 tablespoons) chilled unsalted butter

Coarsely chop nuts and set aside.

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process sugars, cinnamon, salt, and flour for about 1 minute. Cut butter into small pieces and add to sugar-flour mixture. Pulse 10 to 15 times until mixture is crumbly. Remove from processor and stir in pecans. Refrigerate topping, covered, until ready to use.

Apple Filling:

5 to 6 medium-sized tart apples, such as Braeburn, Cortland, or Winesap
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup bourbon (I like Maker’s Mark)
1/2 cup whipping cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel, core, and cut apples into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When butter starts to foam, add apples and sauté for 5 to 8 minutes. In a small bowl stir together cinnamon and sugar; sprinkle on apples, and stir to combine. Simmer apples over medium-low heat for about 1 minute longer. Remove apples from skillet with a slotted spoon, leaving as much of butter-sugar mixture in skillet as possible. Transfer apples to a baking sheet and arrange in a single layer until ready to use. (If heaped in a pile, they will become soggy.)

Pour bourbon into butter-sugar mixture in skillet. Simmer mixture over medium heat until alcohol burns off, at least 5 minutes (sniff mixture at close range; if it burns your nostrils, the vapors are still burning off). Add cream and continue simmering until mixture is quite thick but still pourable, 5 to 10 minutes. Return apples to skillet and stir to coat.

Pour apples and cream mixture into unbaked piecrust (do not fill to more than 1/2 inch below top of crust) and sprinkle evenly with topping. Bake until filling is bubbling and topping is brown, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool before serving (with vanilla ice cream).