Apple Pie: Cure-all for Seasonal Confusion

This past weekend we had our first snowstorm of the season.  Of the FALL season.  We’re seven weeks out from the beginning of winter and the ground has a mud-incuding covering of white and our fall cleanup/landscaping has been suddenly put on hold.  With ninety-degree weather only two short weeks ago, the drastic changes in temperature and precipitation have left me torn between nostalgia for summer nights on the lake and anticipation of holiday shopping and Christmas decor.  Somewhere in the midst of this manic atmospheric change  I lost the ability to enjoy my favorite season—fall.  I may have missed apple picking for the first time in a long time, but that didn’t stop me from buying a peck and whipping up this amazing pie.  It was my first from-scratch crust, and the crust was the best part of the pie.  It was extremely easy, and left me wondering why anyone resorts to Pillsbury.  The only thing I would change in the future would be the tartness of the lemon juice, so I’ve halved the amount in the recipe listed below.  Next time you’re feeling seasonally misled, grab this recipe for an autumnal reminder.  Enjoy!

For the pie dough:
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
10 tbsp butter, cut into cubes + 1/4 cup melted butter for top of pie
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup vodka (helps make the crust flaky!)
1/4 cup cold water
2 tbsp sugar for top of pie
For the apple filling:
5 cups granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into thin slices
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp apple sauce
For the caramel filling
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
– Add 2 cups of flour, salt, sand sugar to a food processor and pulse to combine.
– Add cubes of butter and shortening and pulse until combined, about 1-2 minutes.
– Add the remaining flour and process until it’s all combined – but don’t mess with it too much or the dough will become tougher.
– Move dough to a large bowl and add the water and vodka. Knead it gently until it’s combined. The dough will be moist but you can add a bit of flour to help hold it together. Split it into 2 evenly-sized disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 2 hours (can be made up to 3 days in advance).
– Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
– In a large bowl combine the apples, lemon juice, and salt; toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Add the sugar, flour, cinnamon, apple sauce, and nutmeg and toss to coat.
– For the caramel sauce, add the brown sugar and cream to a pot over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and allow the mixture boil, untouched, until it reaches 210 degrees. Remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla. Allow to cool to room temperature.
– Roll out one pie dough disk to fit your greased pie pan with a little bit of overhang. Pat the dough into the pan and pour the caramel on the bottom with the apple mixture on top.
– Roll out the remaining pie dough circle and either lay over the apples or cut out shapes to cover. Use melted butter to adhere the dough on top and brush the entire thing with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.
– Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
This recipe was adapted from http://www.ericassweettooth.com…visit her blog for more amazing recipes!
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