I already know it is the exact wrong time of year for apple pie. But I was making a dinner for some of my girlfriends last Saturday night and the menu for the evening was based on the movie “When Harry Met Sally.” You can see more about it here. One of the food items mentioned in the movie is apple pie. It is in the first diner scene when Harry and Sally are driving to New York. She ordered apple pie a la mode with strawberry ice cream and real whip cream. So if I was going to create a menu with food from the movie, you better believe apple pie had to be one it.

Okay, have you ever had the caramel apple pie at Costco? I know I am a foodie and should probably despise Costco’s baked goods for some reason or another. But I don’t. Secretly I love their caramel apple pie and their chocolate chip ‘muffins.’ Look Costco those ‘muffins’ are not muffins at all. They are delicious pieces of chocolate cake that I so happily eat for breakfast because you label them a muffin. However, my heart, thighs, blood sugar, and arteries do not thank you. And in case you think I actually eat this stuff more then once a year, you are wrong. Usually a piece of the pie in the fall when church has 4 million ‘holiday’ potlucks and a muffin during some breakfast/brunch thing at work or church. I enjoy every last bite too! This fall I will attempt to create that caramel apple pie!

So this pie, back to the pie, is delicious, or so I have heard. See, it’s still Lent (I gave up dessert for Lent) so I didn’t even get to try it. But I had 12 girls at my house giving me detailed descriptions of it. All of them said it was the perfect sweetness. Not too sweet, or gooey, or tart. But it was the perfect combination. Which pleased me very much.

I love that the recipe called for extracting the juices from the apples and boiling them almost like a caramel sauce. It gives the pie an extra depth of flavor that you wouldn’t get if you just mixed the cornstarch into the apples with their juices without boiling them. Do your taste buds a favor and don’t skip this step!

Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker
1 package refrigerated pie crusts (2 pie crusts in 1 package)
2 1/2 lbs baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick.
1 orange, squeezed
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg, preferably fresh grated
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch

In a large bowl, combine the sliced apples, fresh squeezed orange juice, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and salt and toss to mix. Allow the apples to macerate (soak) at room temperature for a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 3 hours.

Transfer the apples and their juices to a colander suspended over a bowl to capture the liquid. The mixture will release about 1/2 cup of liquid.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Allow it to sit for about 20 minutes or until it is soft enough to roll.

On a well floured surface, roll the bottom crust 1/8 inch thick or less and 12 inches in diameter. Transfer it to a pie pan. Trim the edge almost even with the edge of the pan.

In a small saucepan over medium/high heat, boil down the apple liquid and the butter, to about 1/3 cup or until syrupy and lightly caramelized (this takes about 15 minutes) Swirl the liquid but do not stir it. Meanwhile, transfer the apples to a bowl and toss them with the cornstarch until all lumps have disappeared.

Pour the syrup over the apples, tossing gently (Do not be concerned if the liquid hardens on contact with the apples; it will dissolve during baking.)

Yes, I left the peel on about half the apples. Laziness is my only excuse.

Roll out the top crust large enough to cut a 12-inch circle.

Transfer the apple mixture to the pie shell. Place the top crust over the fruit. Trim the overhang of the top crust so that there is only 1/2-inch of overhand. Tuck the overhand under the bottom crust boarder and press down all around to seal it. Crimp the border using a fork or your fingers and make about 5 evenly spaced 2-inch slashes starting about 1 inch from the center of the pie and moving toward the edge.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F at least 20 minutes before baking. Place a large piece of greased foil on top of the sheet to catch any juices.

Set the pie directly on the foil topped baking sheet and bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until the juices bubble through the slashes and the apples feel tender but not mushy when a cake tester or small sharp knife is inserted through a slash. After 30 minutes, protect the edges from over browning with a foil ring.

Cool the pie on a rack at least 4 hours before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature with your choice of ice cream or strawberry frozen yogurt.

Mmmm, Look at this beautiful perfectly brown flaky crust!

Well, maybe not perfectly brown. When you live in an apartment you are at the mercy of your ghetto oven, and sometimes it heats unevenly, so you have an apple pie that is perfectly browned on about 75% of it.