Well friends, the holidays are officially upon us – with Thanksgiving in our past and Christmas creeping up steadfastly. Naturally, I have been avoiding carbs for at least a month to prepare for the madness we’re about to partake in, but really – I can’t avoid it for forever. Also, we all know how much I love carbs.
This Thanksgiving, Mr. Grumpy and I spent several days at his parent’s house, which he fondly calls the Sweat Shop. Why, you ask? No, not because we’re forced into labor when we get there (ok, sometimes we are), but because his mom is an amazing quilter. And she’s always quilting up a storm over there (while I try to sneak away with all her latest creations).
Mrs. O.G. had just gotten back from a trip to Shanghai for work – and as such was a bit jet lagged. She was welcomed home with a house full of guests, including Mr. Grumpy and myself, and the wonderful Grandma Sue (a snow bird). Mrs. O.G. had emailed me while in China letting me know she’d need help with the turkey. This was a frightening email as I’m not typically allowed to even go near the bird. In fact, I’m usually assigned to all the side dishes. My concern was that I would RUIN the turkey and we’d have to get Kentucky Fried Chicken and I would officially go down in history as “that old girlfriend of yours who ruined our turkey.” Old girlfriend because I’m pretty sure ruining the turkey on Thanksgiving is a federal relationship offense. Especially for a meat eater like Mr. Grumpy.
Needless to say, it went pretty smoothly. I was in charge of the salt and pepper, while Mr. O.G. was in charge of other miscellaneous spices, Mrs. O.G. handled the stuffing and the cracking of the bones, which we all know makes me very nervous. Mr. Grumpy didn’t really do much except help empty the crate of Christmas Ale (helpful).
Now, I know you’re wondering, “Cari, salt and pepper? That’s it?? Really not that helpful, whatsoever.” Geeze, you guys are needy. Ok, ok, I KNOW. And don’t worry. Because I’m a good old fashioned Midwestern gal, you know that I didn’t show up empty-handed to the Grumpy Family Holiday. In fact, I decided I would wow the masses with my pie making. That was a disaster…
I tried to find the apple pie recipe I always make with my mom. And I thought I found it. But I realized I had no time to go to the grocery store to get the ingredients. So I sent Mr. Grumpy (who did surprisingly well). Except Mr. Grumpy had to go to TWO grocery stores to find the Pillsbury pie crust (which made him pretty grumpy). Then, we peeled the apples and got ready to make the pie when I realized I had no pie pan. Why, you ask? WELL, I always make pies at my mom’s house. So, this need has never come up. So, at 9:45 p.m. the night before we were leaving for the Grumpy’s, we ran to Target and got a seriously awesome pie pan to cook the pie. Then, we came home and I went to work – and two hours later (yes, at midnight), I texted all my favorite peeps pictures of the perfect creation that came out of my oven (pictured below). But, this was DEFINITELY NOT the recipe I make with my mom – sorry, Suzie Q… I think it may have been better (cringe).
Caramel Apple Pie
The trick to this pie is using your mandolin on the second setting so your apple slices aren’t too thick and not too thin. This is really important because they’ll get nice and soft without turning into mush. And it will make for the best layer of filling on the inside. I found this recipe on the Pillsbury website, and it won a blue ribbon at their pie contest. But, I changed it a bit because some of the portions were just not really adding up to me and I didn’t want to go overboard on the filling. As Suzie Q always reminded me, “Less is more.” And in this case, it really was. So, let’s get cooking, shall we?
What You’ll Need:
- 8-10 small, green apples (about 5-6 cups when you slice them)
- 1 box of Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts (there are two crusts per box, and you’ll need both)
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp caramel apple dip, plus 1/4 cup
- 2 tbsp low-fat milk
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, unsoftened
First, make sure you follow the instructions on your Pillsbury box about thawing the pie crusts. About 10-15 minutes before you’re ready to put together your pie, make sure you take them out of the fridge, then take them out of the box (but keep them in their plastic bags) and let them sit for about 10 minutes. This will make them really nice and easy to work with and will avoid tearing.
Now, preheat your oven to 375. Now, peel your apples. Slice them on level 2 on your mandolin slicer (they should be about as thick as a dime but thicker than your finger nail). In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/4 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and cinnamon. Mix in the apple slices until they’re evenly coated and the flour/sugar/cinnamon combination starts to turn nice and goopy.
Spray your pie pan with non-stick cooking spray. Take one of the pie crusts and put it onto the bottom of your pan, making a nice, straight crust. Line the pie crust with the apple slices and make sure they’re packed evenly throughout.
Then, in a small mixing bowl, combine 2 tbsp caramel apple dip and milk by whisking together lightly. Pour slowly over the apples until they’ve all gotten an even taste. Now, you can reuse your large bowl that had the apples in it – but combine flour and brown sugar. Add in the butter and cut it in using a pastry blender (mine is handheld). Keep cutting it in until you have nice, thick crumbs. Sprinkle this evenly over the apples and caramel apple dip/milk mixture.
Now, using a pastry cutter or a thin, sharp knife, cut 1/2 inch slices of your final pie crust. Place half of the slices going vertically over the pie. Don’t pinch in the edges yet. Then, starting from the middle going horizontally, start weaving in the remaining slices, leaving about 1/2 inch spaces between each slice. You want it to look like a Longaberger basket, like so:
Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes, until the crust is a slight golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and using a small spoon, drizzle the remaining caramel apple dip over the top. Let it cool over night – but do not do what I did … I asked my mother (who thought I made a pumpkin pie even though I told her EIGHT TIMES I was making caramel apple pie) and she told me to put it in the fridge. Nothing will happen if you make this mistake, you’ll just have a very Mr. Grumpy tell you he was right, and you’ll have to let it get back to room temp because that’s really when it will be the most delicious.
Well let me tell you that this pie was a hit among the Grumpy Family – I got approval from a Grandma and an Aunt and the parents and it felt really good! So, if you need to impress anyone this holiday, whip this recipe out. You won’t regret it.
What is your favorite holiday pie recipe?? What were you thankful for this year?