(adapted from Farm Journal’s Caramel Apple Pie and the National Honey Board recipe booklet)
For the Caramel
½ cup mild flavored honey
¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 oz. sweet butter
½ cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon good quality vanilla
1 teaspoon sea salt
In a heavy-bottomed pan (mine is a 3 qt. size), combine honey, brown sugar, and butter. Cook over medium high heat until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally with a wooden or silicone treated spoon. Allow the caramel to cook until it deepens in color a bit. Slowly add the heavy cream, the mixture will steam and get foamy. Stir gently to combine, then continue to cook until the caramel thickens. I cook it until my insta-read thermometer registers 238 degrees. Stir in the vanilla and the salt. (The mixture will continue to thicken as it cools.) Let the caramel cool completely before using it in your pie.
For the Pie
2 discs of Pate Brisée (enough for a double crusted 9” pie)
2 ¾ lbs. of apples (I prefer a combination of Granny Smith and Honeycrisp), peeled, cored, cut into ¼ inch slices
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
zest of one lemon
1/3 cup of Honey Salted Caramel, cooled
egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 Tablespoon heavy cream)
Turn the oven on to 400 degrees. Roll out one disc of Pate Brisée and fit it into a 9” pie plate. (My pie plate is 2” deep- don’t use a shallow little pie plate or you will be scrubbing caramel out of your oven.) Roll out the second disc for the top crust; set it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Let the pie shell and top crust chill in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
In a large bowl, toss the sliced apples with the lemon juice and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cornstarch and the lemon zest.
Combine the sugar, spice, cornstarch mixture with the apples to coat well. Mound the apples tightly in the pie shell, then drop dollops of the caramel on top of the fruit. Drape the top crust over the apples. Fold the top layer of dough under the bottom layer of dough, and tuck the two together, sealing the pie. Crimp the edges. Brush the pie with egg wash and poke three or four steam vents in the top crust. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover the edges of the pie with strips of aluminum foil to prevent overbrowning, and bake on the bottom rack of your oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Remove the foil strips and bake approximately 10 minutes longer or until the apples test tender with a sharp knife. The pie needs to cool for 3 hours or more before slicing.