Pies are of my favorite dessert. Crispy flakey crust topped with sweet custards or braised fruits. Literally nothing better! The thing is, they’re hard to master. Pie crust can be pretty finicky, and the recipes just take so long end to end. So I rarely make them traditionally. One of my favorite parts of this Caramel Apple Pie (aside from how delicious it tastes), is how easy it is to prepare.
This recipe was born when a friend said they wanted apple pie for their birthday dinner. I’ve made bannoffee pie, my strawberry dulce tart, and my honey apple cake. This Caramel Apple Pie is a love letter to all three.
The crust here is made of graham cracker and butter, just like a bannoffee pie. The center is a simple dulce de leche: either out of the can, or made from sweetened condensed milk. More on that later. And the topping? Almost the same as the honey apple cake, but with a few spices you’d want in an apple pie. The bourbon whipped cream atop ties it all together, but in a pinch you can skip this without losing the integrity of the dish.
How to make Dulce de Leche
You can buy dulce de leche straight from a can. Or, you can turn sweetened condensed milk into dulce de leche. I’ve done this two ways:
- Boil a can of sweetened condensed milk for 4 hours, making sure the can is fully submerged in water the whole time. If you go this method, make sure to perform this step at least 24 hours before so the inside will cool down
- Baking, via the method shared by Preppy Kitchen here. This you can do day of.
How to make the Caramel Apple Pie with Bourbon Whipped Cream
- Chop the apples. You don’t need to peel them! You can use all of one variety like Granny Smith, but I often like to mix it up with half pink apples (such as gala or pink lady).
- Toss the apples with the sugars, spices, and flour. Bake the apple mixture on its own for about 1 hour. This will taste just like the apple pie centers we know and love!
- Make the crust by crushing graham crackers together and mixing with melted butter, then baking.
- Make the topping by whipping the cream and adding the powdered sugar and bourbon.
- Assemble the pie: On the crust, first pour over the dulce de leche and spread evenly. Then top the dulce de leche with the baked apples, and lastly spread the whipped cream over.
Caramel Apple Pie
- 14 graham crackers full sheets
- 6 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 14 oz dulce de leche can be from a can
- 4 apples chopped (I like a combination of granny smith and any pink varietal such as honeycrisp, gala, or pink lady)
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon white sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease a 9 inch spring form pan and a large sheet pan or baking dish.
- Chop the apples up into bite sized pieces and add them to a bowl. No need to peel. Sprinkle the sugars, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and flour over the apples and mix. Using your hands will be easiest here. Then add the lemon juice and vanilla extract. Add the apple mixture to the baking dish and bake for about 1 hour, stirring the apples every 15-20 minutes. Take the apples out when they are soft and easy to poke through. You don’t want them toasty or burnt.
- While the apples are cooking, pulse the graham crackers in a food processor until broken up. Add the melted butter, teaspoon brown sugar, and teaspoon of salt and pulse until fully combined. If you don’t have access to a processor, you can crush the graham crackers in a ziplock back and add the crumbs and other ingredients to a bowl. When the ingredients are mixed up, add to a 9 inch pie or tart pan. Lower the oven to 350F and bake for about 5 minutes and let cool.
- To make the whipped cream, add the heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar to a stand mixer and mix on low for about 2-3 minutes, then high for about 5. You can also use a handheld mixer for this. Add the bourbon and vanilla and mix for an additional minute or so.
- To assemble, pour the dulce de leche from the can or baking dish onto the crust. You will need to smooth it out if pouring from a can. Add the apples on top of the dulce, then top with whipped cream if using. I like to sprinkle a tad of cinnamon at the top for a finished look. Hope you enjoy!
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