Kathy's Saltie Caramel Apple Pie

Source: Amber Sather, Pie Contest Winner

Recipe Type: | Seasons:

This pie won first prize in CUESA’s Harvest Festival Pie Contest on October 25, 2014.

This pie was named after my mom, Kathy. So much of my baking inspiration comes from her. She always uses the fork method on her apple pie crust, and I like to do the same.

Makes 1 (9-inch) pie (with a little leftover pie dough)


1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ to ½ cup ice cold water
¼ cup heavy cream (for crust assembly)
¼ cup turbinado sugar (for crust assembly)

Saltie Caramel Sauce
1 cup white sugar
¼ cup water
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons sea salt (Maldon is nice)

Apple Filling
Almost 2 pounds apples, peeled, cut into quarters, and then sliced thinly lengthwise (enough that you can pile apples high; I used a combo of Pink Lady and Gala)
Juice of 4 lemons
2 tablespoons apple brandy
⅓ cup coconut sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Dash of freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch


1.   To make the crust, combine the butter, flour, white sugar, and salt in mixing bowl. Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter and combine the ingredients until dough pieces are smaller than pea size. Add the cold water, starting with less and adding more if needed. Use a rubber spatula to stir and bring the dough together. The dough should come together but will still have some dryer pieces. Divide in half. Turn out onto plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour before using.

2.   To make the caramel sauce, combine the sugar and water over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the butter and let it melt, then bring to a boil and let it continue cooking until you see the color change to a creamy amber color. Turn off the heat and whisk in the heavy cream. This mixture will bubble up at you! Please be careful. Once your sauce comes together, add the sea salt and stir to combine. Set aside to cool.

3.   Preheat the oven to 400°F.

4.   On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie crust for a 9-inch glass pie dish, with consideration for just under 1 inch of overhang. Place the dough in a pie dish and firmly turn the dough under, all the way around crust. Use a fork to indent. (I like the fork method for this particular pie because the caramel will bubble up and into the crevices. Yum!) Place in the refrigerator. Roll out other half of the dough and cut into small rounds (or whatever shapes you like!) to make the upper crust. Place these pieces in the refrigerator too.

5.   To make the apple filling, combine the apples, lemon juice, apple brandy, coconut sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, flour, and cornstarch. Mix all of the ingredients; I’ve always found using my hand works best.

6.   To assemble the pie, layer the apples topped with the caramel sauce twice, then finish with a very thin layer of apples before the top crust. (I do not use all of my caramel sauce. Save the rest for ice cream!) Brush the forked edge of the pie crust and the tops of the cut-out rounds with cream. Place rounds with the edges slightly overlapping. This will form a cohesive top crust but will also give the pie room to breathe and room for that delicious caramel to ooze out in spots. Sprinkle the top and forked edge with a healthy amount of turbinado sugar. This will create a perfect crunch and amazing caramelized texture with every bite.

7.   Bake at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375°F for another 35 to 40 minutes (maybe more depending on your oven). Don’t be afraid to let those sugars caramelize and to develop all of those amazing flavors inside your pie. Let the pie cool to set up. Enjoy!

Photo by Jennifer Kregear.

Farmers Market Ingredients