Now this is truly comfort food isn’t it? I love caramel, in truth, even cheap caramel but give me something with homemade caramel and add the richness of Bourbon and I’m in trouble! Add to those ingredients a flaky crust and apples and it’s sort of a fall, fruit flavor combination I could not resist. I know, I know…I just did an apple crisp with booze too but the apples on my tree are coming in and I need to use them! The booze part, well..need is not the word but sure I sure like!
This is unique in that the apples are precooked a bit in the sugar and spice mixture, removed after just a couple of minutes of cooking and the remaining sugar and liquids are cooked down to create a very caramel type mixture that the apples are then mixed back in with before being put into the butter pie crust and topped with a toasted pecan mixture. Sounds good, huh?
That being said, I got the urge but didn’t have Southern Comfort. I had both Seagram’s 7 and Maker’s Mark. Seagram’s 7 is a blended whiskey and Maker’s Mark a Kentucky Bourbon that’s in my liquor cabinet for serious sippers so I went the Seagram’s route. It’s always worked well for me in food preparation so had no problem making that substitution. I also added a bit of nutmeg to the original recipe from a book by Rebecca Rather…I just can not help doing something other than what a recipe calls for! Some browning of the butter and my caramel has a unique taste that is lucky if it gets into the pie, I could literally eat it with a spoon! But I didn’t, promise.
I couldn’t wait to try this pie. I needed a dessert for a small dinner for some neighbors this evening but mostly I’m hoping that this combination of ingredients will result in that To. Die. For. pie that I want to serve for Thanksgiving. Last year I tried an ‘award winning’ recipe I thought was terrible, just one of the worst ever so I won’t trial one of those on my guests this year…besides, testing is fun! I love making cakes and all of the attendant work that goes towards decorating them but as I’ve improved the results of my pies by using all butter pie crusts, I think I actually love them more.
Know what else I love? That red handled rolling pin. I can’t tell you it’s the best ever (even if I think it is!), or ergonomically perfect but what I can tell you is it was my Grandma’s. She died almost 30 years ago at the age of 94 and that was her original rolling pin; it could be close to 100 years old! Nothing quite makes pie making more fun than thinking of her; she was the absolute best. Still miss you Grandma!
Do you have a kitchen tool or utensil that has special meaning to you?
Bourbon Caramel Apple Pie with Toasted Pecan Crumble
1 hr 20 mins
An amazing apple pie with the flavors of bourbon and toasted pecans.
For the Pie Crust
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2/3 cup (11 tablespoons) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 4 to 5 tablespoons ice water (So dry here in Denver, I've used more...just enough for it to hold together)
For the Topping
- 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
For the Filling
- 5 to 6 medium-size tart apples, such as Braeburn, Cortland or Winesap
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup Seagram's 7, Southern Comfort or your favorite bourbon
- 1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream (half and half will require a bit more time to cook down to sauce)
- Vanilla or cinnamon ice cream
- Whipped cream
- Caramel sauce (purchased or use this recipe with or without the cinnamon and rum)
To Make the Crust:
- Pulse the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Add 4 tablespoons ice water and pulse until the dough begins to form a ball. Add an additional 1 tablespoon water of water at a time until it does. Form the dough into a disk,; wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
To Make the Topping:
- In a food processor, process the sugars, the cinnamon, salt and flour for about 1 minute. Add butter; pulse 10 to 15 times, until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the pecans. Refrigerate the topping, covered, in a a medium bowl until ready to use.
to Make the Filling:
- Peel, core and cut the apples into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter starts to foam, allow it to cook until it starts to turn a warm brown color; watch very carefully!
- Add the apples and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Combine the cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle it on the apples, and reduce the heat under the skillet to medium-low. Simmer the apples for about 1 minute.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apples from the skillet to a large baking sheet and arrange them in a single layer. This will keep them from getting soggy.
- Pour the bourbon into the butter-sugar mixture in the skillet. Simmer the mixture over medium heat at least 5 minutes, until the alcohol burns off. Add the cream, and continue cooking about 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture is thick as pourable caramel. Allow to cool while preparing crust.
Putting it all together:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Transfer the pie dough to a lightly sugared flat surface (I use powdered sugar in lieu of flour when making pie crusts for a sweet dish).
- Roll it into a 1/8-inch-thick circle large enough to cover the bottom and sides of a 10-inch deep-dish pie plate. (To keep the dough from sticking, gently pick it up every once in a while and rotate it in place, adding more powdered sugar underneath if necessary.)
- Wrap the dough lightly over the rolling pin, and set it in the un-greased pie plate. Press it into place, and crimp the outside edges with your finger or a fork.
- Spread the apples evenly onto the crust; pour the filling over the apples and then sprinkle the topping evenly over the top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the topping is brown. Serve the pie warm or at room temperature with ice cream, whipped cream and/or caramel sauce.
Adapted from Rebecca Rather’s “The Pastry Queen”