Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Caramel Apple Crumble Pie... how YOU doing?!

With all of the baking I've accomplished lately, I need to up my game with my blog posts.  I have come to view my blog as a way of saving recipes "on the cloud" so that if something ever happens to my binder of recipes I've been building over the years, i won't be devastated since I will have my backup digital copy.

Also in the coming months, I am trading a wedding cake for services from a graphic/web designer.  I am now charged with the conundrum: do I employ her services for a professional HR personal website or make a kickass blog?  Decisions, decisions...

As for today's blog, you can guess from the title I have been keeping myself BUSY.  Last weekend (as I also posted to FB,) I made my first ever globe basketball cake.  Needless to say, regardless of the hard work I put into it, it still fell short of my expectations...but hey, there's a first for everything, so I am determined to keep trying!  This coming weekend, however, I am working on a super cute "down on the farm" baby shower cake for my friend, aka Andy's co-workers spouse (one of the few non-teacher spouses I get to converse with at predominantly teacher functions!)  BUT FIRST!

Caramel Apple Crumble Pie

I finally snapped a picture of a homemade creation. I use this Caramel Apple Crumble Pie recipe.  I omit the slivered almonds from the crumble topping, but everything else is spot on and I usually make a double batch of topping so I have leftover for next time I need it.  It's an easy recipe that I make with my hands in a couple of minutes and the leftovers are saved in the freezer. As for the pie, I mostly stick to the recipe, but with some tweaks: I use cinnamon, but also add in 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, a couple pinches of allspice, and several dashes of clove.  I also add in a little kosher salt, vanilla extract, and instead of flour I use cornstarch.  Plus if I had to guess, I use more than a 1/2c. homemade caramel sauce (because IMO it is so easy to make, why would I ever buy it?)...I use enough to coat the bottom of the pie shell and a healthy layer on top of all the apples!

Why did I have the urge to make apple pie (a traditional fall/winter pie) right at the beginning of summer you may ask!?  Well I bought a 12pk of granny smiths from costco and never got around to make oatmeal with them as originally planned, and since nothing goes to waste in my kitchen, I decided on the fly on Sunday evening to throw a pie together and send it off with my mother-in-law to choir practice last night.  Since I already had premade crumble topping + caramel sauce, it came together pretty quick (mind you, I bought premade deep dish pie shells since I don't have those laying around!)  I turned on the oven as soon as I got home and thankfully the late hour didn't infringe upon Game of Thrones time!  It baked away while we watched the finale...my fav part I think was the sword fight between The Hound and Brienne of Tarth.  NO SPOILERS though in case you haven't watched!

I make this pie every Thanksgiving, along with some homemade vanilla bean ice cream.  I've finally gotten this recipe to where I am happy!  My helpful hints: 1) I par-bake all pie crusts so I get a crispy crust every time, 2) bake the pie on a foil-lined baking sheet (helps with cleanup), 3) bake at 350 for 65mins (i like the topping to get a little more color); it doesn't burn the crust.  The bottom of the pie tin will have juices/caramel sticking to it, so i end up letting it cool on a wire rack and then add aluminum foil to the tin (it will stick on its own) so there's no need to bother trying to get the exterior of the pie tin clean.  And as always, I serve almost all my pies at room temp!  It also doesn't hurt to have some warmed up caramel sauce nearby in case you need a little extra :)

Below is the recipe with my edits!
Up next, Dark Chocolate Ganache, Dulce de Leche Frosting, and Double Chocolate Cake are on their way for my next blog (as previously mentioned with the Down on the Farm cake).  The recipe for the frosting can be found here; I will be providing separate recipes for the ganache and cake, but if you're curious I'm sure the recipes on the website are just as good!  And yes there will be pictures; I bought the cutest John Deere tractor cake topper!

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