Not Your Mom’s Apple Pie…

I love to make these apples at Thanksgiving.  One year my sisters were over and I was in a particularly silly mood while finishing them up.  I started imitating Julia Child, explaining each step along the way in a loud, high-pitched voice.  I always remember that moment when I bake them.  They are best if served with French vanilla ice cream.

These actually taste as good as they look.  Get in your kitchen and get crazy making these on “Baking Wednesday”. They hold up perfectly in the refrigerator.  Make the caramel sauce the same day you serve them.

I hope you have a happy, safe Thanksgiving and that fabulous things are happening all around you!

Baked Apples with Caramel Sauce

1 recipe Pâte Brisée (below)
6 small Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
18 pecan halves
1 teaspoon cinnamon and ½ cup each sugar and brown sugar, mixed
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup pecans, chopped
12 ½-inch chunks of unsalted butter, about ¼ cup
juice of 1 lemon
1 egg, beaten
1 recipe Caramel Sauce (below)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Dip the apples in lemon juice as they are peeled and cored. Combine sugar mixture with raisins and chopped pecans. Roll each apple in the sugar mixture. Then place one chunk of butter inside the bottom of the cored apple. Place some of the sugar mixture with the raisins and chopped pecans inside the apple and top with another butter chunk.

Roll out one of the six Pâte Brisée disks and place the prepared apple in the center of the pastry. Pull up all the sides to enclose the apple at the other end of the core. Wet the edges to seal and pinch to close. Invert the apple so that the sealed edge is down on the baking pan and curve the excess pastry around the sides of the apple, smoothing it gently and tucking any excess underneath. Continue with the remaining apples and Pâte Brisée until all have been wrapped. Cut a small X in the pastry at the top of each apple with a sharp knife. Brush the pastry with beaten egg on the top and sides and bake at 425°F for 10 minutes or until pastry begins to brown. Turn the oven down to 350°F and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes until the apples seem to soften. Check them with a sharp knife. While still warm remove the apples to serving platters or plates. Top each with 3 pecan halves and Caramel Sauce just before serving. Serves 6.

Half Size Baked Apples:  If you can only find large Granny Smith apples it is a good idea to cut them in half. Follow the instructions, filling where the core would have been with the sugar nut mixture and placing a smaller chunk of butter on each end. Place the apple cut side down on the rolled out pastry dough and wet the edge of the dough all around the perimeter before bringing the edges up to form three sides which meet in the center. Pinch the edges together all the way to make a point at the center top. Fold over the edges and then as you place the apple on the baking sheet fold the edges of the three points of pastry underneath the apple. Brush with the egg as noted. Prick the pastry with a fork on all three sides before baking as directed.

Note: These apples hold up very well in the refrigerator for a few days. Reheat them before serving for about 20 minutes at 350°F.

Pâte Brisée

2 cups flour
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
7 ounces unsalted butter, chilled (1 cup less 2 tablespoons)
1 egg
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon milk

Mix flour, sugar and salt together. Using your hands, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly; small chunks of butter may still be visible. Whisk eggs and milk together in a separate bowl. Add into the flour mixture all at once and mix just until combined. Use your hands to press the mixture together until it is mostly holding its shape with just a few loose areas. Place on a floured board and fold and flatten 4 times. The dough should now be mostly uniform with a few flecks of butter here and there. Press the dough into 6 round disks. Wrap each disk individually in plastic wrap. Chill for at least an hour. Remove from the refrigerator about an hour before using. Makes enough for 6 baked apples.

Caramel Sauce

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
11/3 cups brown sugar
11/3 cups heavy cream, divided

Combine butter, brown sugar and 1 cup of the cream in a sauce pan, reserving remaining cream. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly with a whisk and keeping the whisk in contact with the bottom of the saucepan. Continue cooking for about 5 to 10 minutes until the mixture thickens and browns to a caramel color. Use caution since the mixture will bubble and steam. Continue stirring until the mixture is the desired consistency, adding the remaining cream if necessary. Makes 2 cups.

Note: The sauce may be refrigerated for about a week. To reheat, return to boiling, adding small amounts of cream, until desired thickness is reached.

Did you know Baking Pure & Simple is available on Amazon…  
and you can peek inside.

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