Thursday, March 5, 2015

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Today is the last day of Chinese New Year. Happy Chap Goh Mei to all my chinese friends and readers!  Sorry that i have not been dropping by at any of your blogs, i will try to catch up whenever i can.

JoyceZoe  and myself are making apple pie this week but this is no ordinary apple pie. The ingredient that makes it not so ordinary is the salted caramel and it's homemade!Ya, i sound excited because i never knew that making salted caramel is rather quite simple. Before this, i thought making salted caramel would require a candy thermometer and is a complicated process., i am so wrong and ignorant. The recipe here is using fleur del sel for making the salted caramel and i hv read that using maldon salt is also another alternative. I have some fleur del sel at home which is kept in a precious container and i have been keeping it for 3-4 years! I think it's alright cos i guess salt doest have any expiry they? They are still in good form, not in clumps and i have tasted them...yes, they are salt...hehe..

Putting the salted caramel into the apple pie filling, you will get some sweetness, sourness and saltiness altogether. Hmm..i dont know if you like that ..and while baking these individual pies which have been baked using a non stick muffin pan, some of the caramel oozed out from my small pies, otherwise the taste of the salted caramel would have been richer. But hey, we can still drizzle the caramel all over the pies upon serving, i actually like it this way more!

I wished i could bake a little more longer than i had here, but at the same time the caramel was flowing out so i had stopped baking after 35 mins. This is bcos i find that my crust turned a little flabby the next day.  The actual whole recipe actually indicates baking for a total of 80 minutes for baking the whole large pie.

Recipe ( from the book, Back in the Day Bakery ) with some changes
this is half of the recipe which makes a dozen muffin sized pies.
Ingredients for Pie Crust
125gm  plain flour
63gm cake flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 egg ( take 1 egg, lightly beaten and take half of it )
40m ice water, plus more if necessary
1/2 tsp white vinegar
113gm cold butter, cut into cubes*

Put the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of the food processor. In a large measuring cup,  beat the egg with water and vinegar. Turn on the food processor and blend together the flour, sugar and salt. Put in the butter cubes and blend them using pulse mode till the butter resembles small peas. Add in the egg mixture slowly until the dough comes together. ( i did not use all of the egg mixture ). If the dough seems dry, add a little more ice water, a little at a time as necessary.

Gather the dough together on a lightly floured surface and shape into ball. Flatten it with the palms of your hand into a disk . Chill for at least 1 hour and store in refrigerator up to 4 days. Let the dough comes to slightly soft or soft enough to roll out.

* the book has indicated to use half shortening and half butter to create more flakiness in the tart but i have used all butter. 

For the Salted Caramel
there's probably 1/3 cup left after making these individual pies
1/2 cup/125gm sugar
1/2 tsp fleur del sel
85gm unsalted butter, at room temp
1tbsp heavy cream

Method: Combine sugar, fleur del sel and add 1/4 cup of water in a medium saucepan and cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Wash down any crystals from the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush. Turn the heat down to medium and cook without stirring, until the syrup becomes a medium dark amber caramel, about 15 minutes, we can carefully swirl the pan around to check the colour.

Remove the pan from heat and immediately stir in the butter and heavy cream.Do not worry if the butter starts to separate, it will come together once the caramel is cooled. Using a hand whisk, whisk the caramel until it comes together. Set aside.

For the Apple Filling
1tsp lemon zest
1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
2 large Granny Smith ( or you can use a combination, cored, peeled and sliced, i hv cut them into cubes )
1/8 cup plain flour
1/8 tsp ground cardamon ( skipped )
1/8tsp ground allspice ( skipped )
1/8 tsp freshly grated nuteg ( i used nutmeg powder )
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup turbinado sugar, for sprinkling ( i did not sprinkle any sugar )

some beaten egg for egg wash
fleur del sel for sprinkling
ice cream for serving ( optional )

Put the lemon zest and lemon juice in a small bowl, add the apples and all the spices in and toss gently.

Method :
Dust the rolling pin with some flour. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled dough into a thickness abt 1mm. Cut the dough using cookie cutter ( here , i have used a 3" round cutter for the bottom crust and 2.5" for the top crust) Place the dough for the bottom into the base of a muffin pan
, poke a few holes in the dough and spoon some filling in the crust , followed by a dollop of the salted caramel and cover it with the dough for top crust. Pinch both the crust together to seal them and cut a cross across the top crust. Reserve the remaining caramel for serving. Brush the crust with some egg wash and sprinkle lightly with some turbinado sugar and a pinch of fleur del sel. ( i hv put the pies into the fridge for about 15mins before baking them ). Preheat oven to 205C

Turn the oven down to 190C and bake them for about 30-35 mins till the crust turns golden.(  Note that there may be some caramel ooze out from the pie itself while baking them). Remove from oven and remove completely from muffin pan after several minutes.

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