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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Salted caramel is big at the moment and I can see why; it goes with everything and I have yet to find a dessert that it doesn't double in deliciousness. It's dangerous stuff, but in the best way!

I decided to use the salted caramel decadence in an apple tart - apples are in season, cheap and always cheerful. The tartness of the apples really works well with the richness of the salted caramel and the whole thing is just crazy-good.

I am giving you two methods to make the salted caramel - the second is for those who aren't very confident in the kitchen and makes more of a salted 'butterscotch' than a 'caramel', but it's just as delicious and much less stressful.

Salted Caramel

1 cup castor sugar
130g butter
½ cup cream
2 pinches of flaked sea salt  (not table salt)*

Place the cream and salt in a saucepan and heat together gently until the cream is warm, then remove from the heat, do not boil.
Place the sugar into a high-sided saucepan on medium heat and when it begins to melt in areas, swirl the sugar around to ensure that the sugar melts evenly. Continue to swirl until the sugar has all melted and is beginning to turn golden in colour. Be careful now, as you don’t want to sugar to burn, continue to swirl the caramelizing sugar and as soon as it has turned ‘caramel’ in colour, add the cubes of butter (be careful as it can bubble up the sides of the pan) and swirl again until it is all incorporated.

Once the butter is incorporated, slowly pour in the cream while swirling the saucepan. Once all the cream has been added, whisk the caramel on the heat for a further minute before removing from the heat. 
Allow to cool for a few minutes before pouring into a glass jar.

Place the cream, salt, butter and sugar in a high-sided saucepan on medium heat.
Whisk until the sugar has dissolved and all the ingredients have melted together (about 5 min).
Continue to whisk and bring to a simmer.
Allow to simmer for 5 minutes, whisking all the while, then remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before pouring into a glass jar.

*Tip 1: You should use sea salt flakes such as 'Maldon salt' rather than table salt as the flavour is far superior and you will taste the difference in the finished product.
Tip 2: You can store the salted caramel in a jar in the fridge for about 2 weeks, but you should always warm it up a little before serving.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

350g Sasko Cake flour
1 tbsp castor sugar
175g butter/margarine (cubed)
pinch salt
approx 140ml cold water

600g peeled, cored and sliced Granny Smith apple segments (approx 8 apples)
150ml salted caramel

30ml milk to brush over pastry

To serve:
Remaining salted caramel and ice cream

Mix the flour, sugar and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
Rub the butter into the flour until you have a bread crumb-like consistency.
Add the water and stir with a fork or a knife until the pastry begins to form a ball, use your hands to bring it all together, roll into a ball and cover with cling wrap. (If you need to add a little more water to bring the pastry together then do so.)
Pop into the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
Preheat the oven to 180*C.
Line and grease a large baking tray.
Place you apple segments in a bowl, pour over the 150ml salted caramel and toss until all the segments are well coated in the caramel.
Dust a large work surface with flour and roll the pastry out to a width of about 50cm and a thickness of about 6mm.

Make sure that there are no wholes in the centre of the pastry, if there are, take small pieces of excess pastry and, using a little water to help it stick, place it over the whole and press down to seal.
Carefully transfer the pastry to the lined baking tray (the ends may hang off the sides). 
Place the apples in a pile the centre of the pastry, leaving a border of about 10cm. Pour over any caramel leftover from the bowl.

Fold the pastry border carefully over the apples.
Brush the pastry border with a little milk.
Bake in the oven for 50 - 60min (rotating the tray after 30 minutes to ensure that it bakes evenly) until the pastry is browned and the apples are cooked through.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10-15min on the tray before serving. 

Brush over remaining salted caramel just before serving with vanilla ice cream.

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