Salted Caramel Apple Pie


  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 6 to 7 baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 to 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • ⅓ cup raw sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • One grind fresh black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 all-butter crust, recipe follows
  • ¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt, plus more for finishing
  • Egg wash, as needed
  • Demerara sugar, for finishing


Heat 1 cup granulated sugar with water in a medium saucepan to dissolve sugar. Add butter and bring to a slow boil, cooking over medium heat until the mixture turns a deep golden brown. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in heavy cream; set aside.

Dredge apples in lemon juice and sprinkle with remaining sugar; macerate 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, sprinkle bitters over the raw sugar and add cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, black pepper, kosher salt and flour, and mix well. Add apples, leaving behind any excess liquid. Toss mixture gently.

Tightly layer the apples in prepared pie shell, mounding the apples slightly higher in the center. Pour a generous ¼ cup to ¾ cup of  caramel sauce evenly over apples depending on desired sweetness. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of flake sea salt. Assemble lattice on top of the pie and crimp edges. Chill 10 to 15 minutes to set. 

Brush pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle with the desired amount of demerara sugar and flake sea salt. Place pie on the rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack in preheated 400F oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Then lower to 375F and continue to bake until deep golden brown and juices are bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes longer. 

To make butter crust, combine 2 ½ cups flour, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 tablespoon sugar in large bowl and work in ½ pound unsalted cubed butter with pastry blender. Mix together ¼ cup cup cider vinegar with 1 cup ice water and add 2 tablespoons to flour mixture. Add just enough so that the dough comes together in a ball, with some dry bits remaining. Divide in half and shape into two flat discs, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Owners Emily and Melissa Elsen; Four & Twenty Blackbirds, Brooklyn, N.Y.