Caramel Apple Pot Pie

by Elena on October 18, 2014

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No one can deny the popularity of the apple.  This time of year people become obsessed, myself included.  Beach season has come to an end and maybe we all are looking for another outdoor activity to take up our weekend, and without fail people run off apple picking.  The interesting thing is that we can get apples all year round.  Apples are always a staple at every supermarket or market you go to, but those perfectly round commercial apples, usually ripened in the back of some large truck or silo, are less flavorful and more mealy that an apple you pick from its branch.  You can immediately taste the difference at the end of summer when the local orchards begin to ship their wares.  Suddenly all kinds of varietals make their way to our shelves likes Macouns, Empires, Courtland, Braeburns, and Pink Ladies.  There are many varietals but there is one apple king among them.

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If you’ve tasted a Honeycrisp apple you know that it is delicious.  It’s sweet but still tart with a firm flesh and thin skin.  They are good for eating right off the branch, as well as for cooking.  The Honeycrisp has grown in popularity since its creation over thirty years ago and it seems like lots of news outlets are reporting on this popular varietal right now.  So what is all the fuss about?  These apples are marked up much higher than any other apple on the market.  While most apples cost around $1.50 to $2.00 a pound, in New York City, a Honeycrisp will cost you a pretty $4.50 a pound.  You have to ask yourself why it cost so damn much.  Honeycrisps were developed at the University of Minnesota by crossbreeding the Macoun and Honeygold apple, and now the university holds the patent for the apple.  I find it a little strange that an institution can patent something that grows in nature, but they can, and for that reason for every Honeycrisp you buy a percentage will go to the University of Minnesota.  There are other reasons why this apple is so expensive.  These finicky apples are also difficult to breed, and they require to be picked delicately by hand.  They also have a thin and easily bruised skin.  All of these factors add up to the fact that this apple is one of the most expensive apples in your supermarket, not to mention the demand for them.  As long as people want them, they can charge the higher price.

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I’ve been tempted a lot going to the market and I have treated myself to some Honeycrisps lately.  While I love taking a huge bite right out of the flesh, I also love using them for baking.  I find that you can even cut down the amount of sugar in your recipes because these apples are so sweet when you cook them.  When I want to cut my calories for the day, I eat one of these apples and my sweet tooth is satisfied.  On the days that I want to treat myself and indulge I make something like these caramel apple pot pies.  It is so simple to make because most of the cooking is done on the stove.  You make a caramel sauce, one of my most favorite things in the world, and you cook the apples right in the caramel.  When cooking the apples will release some juice and that juice will cook down to concentrated, caramel apple greatness.  We topped ours with French vanilla ice cream and it felt like eating a caramel apple sundae.

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Caramel Apple Pot Pie

I have made puff pastry a couple of times and this may be my culinary background talking (as opposed to a pastry background) but I think it is more trouble than it is worth.  Even Michelin starred restaurants sometimes use pre-made puff pastry because the process is laborious and time consuming.   If you are so inclined to make your own, I usually to go Martha for her dough recipes.

You can use any baking apple for this recipe such as Honeycrisp, Braeburn, Granny Smith, or Red Delicious.

Makes 6

Ingredients
1 package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets)
1 cup sugar
3 tbs. water
2 tbs. butter
1 tbs. lemon juice
1 tbs. light corn syrup
8 apples (such as Honeycrisp or Macintosh) peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 egg, whisked with 1 tbs water

Take out the frozen puff pastry to thaw out.  Heat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large skillet combine the sugar, water, butter, lemon juice, and corn syrup.  Cook on medium high without stirring until the sugar melts.  Using a pastry brush and a small bowl of water, wet the sides of the saucepan to ensure that any sugar crystals that are stuck to the side won’t burn.  Stir occasionally and cook until the caramel is a deep amber around 7 to 10 minutes.  Add the apples and cornstarch to your caramel.  Cook the apples until they are tender and the caramel has thickened about 20 minutes.  Cook the apples fully on the stove.  Fill six 4 inch ramekins with the apple filling and place on a parchment lined half sheet tray.

Take the frozen puff pastry and roll to 1/4 in thick.  Using your ramekin as a guide and cut out circles that are 1/2 inch larger than the rim.  Use a ring cutter or carefully cut with a paring knife.  Place the circles over the top of each apple-filled ramekin.  Using your fingers press the dough over the side of each ramekin to hold it in place.  Brush the egg wash (1 egg and 1 tablespoon water) over each pie.  Bake for 20-30 minutes until the puff pastry is fully cooked and golden.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

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