| Normand Caramel Apple Pie |
Inspired by Caramel | Suzanne Vega
My addiction to apple pies began in 1996 when I went to the US for the first time. They aren’t really popular in Brazil so imagine a (fat) kid surrounded by those warm nice sweet pastry pies for the first time… I would have them for breakfast, lunch and diner !
Only… they weren’t really… apple pies. Well… at least not as the French know them and after trying many different types (of pie crust and apple based fillings) I must say the French got it right. Actually, it’s the Normand really got it as today I’m confident saying that my absolute favorite is the traditional Normand apple pie recipe.
And just as the Normand understood the power of this tasty recipe… Suzanne Vega understood the power of Caramel ! Let’s be honest, it’s one of those things – like bacon – that makes anything and everything better. So trust me and mix them. I promise you will not be disappointed!
Luckily for me and my friends, lately I’ve been having to make a lot of these to train for my upcoming CAP exam… and I must admit sometimes I’m like.. “yeah.. it’s ok… but I think I need to try again” just to have an excuse to dip it in caramel sauce one more time and implode with the sugar rush… !
If you do try it, I am sure it will become one of your joker-desert recipes as it truly is an easy and fast recipe. It will serve you well when needed!
| Ingredients |
Brisée Pie Crust
_ 250g of flour
_ 125g of unsalted butter
_ 50ml of cold water
_ 5g of fine salt
_ 1 free range egg yolk
_ 5 red apples
_ 200ml of milk
_ 200ml of double cream
_ 3 free range eggs
_ 100g of caster sugar
_ 1 table spoon of calvados
_ 200g of caster sugar
_ 50g of unsalted butter
_ 100ml of double cream
| Method |
The first thing to do, as with all pie recipes is to make the pie crust ourselves ! I know that sometimes we don’t have time and it’s just 10 times easier to buy a pre-made one, but this is what makes the difference… and it really does. To make a brisée pie crust is quite easy. You can be lazy and get your mixer going… or to it by hand. If you decide to take upon that challenge bare in mind that the secret to a successful pie crust is to not overwork it with your hands. We tend to forget but our body heat is a little above 30°c and that’s more then enough to melt butter.
Start by mixing the flour and the butter (cut into small cubes) as if you were making a crumble dough. Place it “en fontaine” (like a little well of dough) and add the yolk, water and salt in the middle. Mix it well until the you obtain an homogenous pie dough ball. Now film it and place it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
While the dough rests, preheat the over to 250°C and start preparing the flan filling. This is quite simple, whisk together the milk, double cream, eggs, sugar and calvados and reserve. Now peel your apples and cut them in 8s.
Get the pastry dough out of the fridge and use a pastry roll (or a clean glass bottle) with some extra flour (no excess) to match your pie pan shape. I recommend using baking paper before placing it in the pan, as it will make your life much easier (to get the pie out of it, and to clean it…). Now place the apples randomly at the bottom of the pie and cover them with the filling (we don’t want the apples to be entirely covered and we will be looking for that caramelized top edges effect).
We will be having a temperature drop while baking, so first get it in the oven at 250°c for 10 minutes (this will make sure the apples get a bit caramelized on top) and then drop it to 180° and keep it in for another 20 minutes.
While your pie is baking, get started on the caramel sauce. Nothing out of this world…get the sugar going (with a little bit of water if you are scared of burning it) on a medium pan. We are looking for a brown caramel (160°c) so if you have a thermometer just wait until it hits that mark. If you don’t… pay attention as it can go very quickly from a blond (120°c) caramel to a brown one… to burnt! Once it’s ready and take it out of the stove and add the butter, mixing it until it blends in, then to the same with the double cream. One important detail : make sure to previously heat up the double cream (to make it easier when mixing them, otherwise the temperature difference will make a mess!) & you are done.
One of my favorite things about this recipe is the numerous combinations when it comes to serving temperature. You can serve it straight out of the oven, let it cool for a while or wait until it cools down completely…
Just pour some caramel sauce on top or on the side… & it will be delicious !