Yield: 1 9-inch pie

Ingredients

For the caramel: 

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 4 oz. (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream, warmed
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract

For the filling: 

  • 2 lemons
  • 6-7 baking apples (about 2½  pounds)
  • 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground allspice
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • One grind fresh black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp. flake sea salt such as Maldon, plus more for finishing
  • Egg wash
  • Demerara sugar, for finishing
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  • step 1: HideShow Images

    To make the caramel, combine 1 cup of the granulated sugar in a medium sauce pan with the water. Cook over medium-low heat just until the sugar is dissolved. Add the butter to the pan and bring the mixture to a low boil. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has turned a deep golden brown. Remove from the heat and slowly add the heavy cream, whisking in each small addition fully before adding more, and being very careful as the mixture bubbles and steams. Stir in the vanilla and set aside to cool.

  • step 2: HideShow Images

    Juice the lemons into a large bowl. Core, peel, and thinly slice the apples, adding the slices to the bowl as you go. Toss lightly, dredging the apples in the lemon juice. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Set aside to soften slightly and release some of the juices, about 20-30 minutes.

  • step 3: HideShow Images

    In a large bowl, sprinkle the bitters over the raw sugar. Add the cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, pepper, kosher salt, and flour, and mix well. Add the apple slices to the sugar-spice mixture, leaving behind any excess juices in the bowl from the apple slices. Fold together gently to evenly distribute the spice mixture.

  • step 4: HideShow Images

    Line the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate with pie dough, trimming the edges as needed. Tightly layer the apples in the shell so that there are minimal gaps. Pour a generous ½ cup of the caramel sauce evenly over the apples. (You will have leftover caramel sauce – a travesty, I know.) Sprinkle with the ¼ teaspoon of the flake salt. Assemble a lattice top on the crust, or a row of braids. Trim and crimp the edges as desired.

  • step 5: HideShow Images

    Chill the pie in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to set the pastry. Meanwhile, place an oven rack in the upper middle position and heat the oven to 400˚ F. Brush the top of the pie with egg was to coat and sprinkle with the desired amount of demerara sugar and flake sea salt.

  • step 6: HideShow Images

    Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is set and beginning to brown. Reduce the oven temperature to 375˚ F and continue to bake until the pastry is a deep golden brown and the juices are bubbling, 30-35 more minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • step 7: HideShow Images

    *Note: To make a braided crust as picture, I recommend making a triple batch of pie dough. Use one third for the pastry shell base and the remaining two thirds for the braided top. You need plenty of dough to work with to ensure enough of the proper length of strips for braiding.