One of my earliest childhood memories was baking apple pie with my Nanny. But it wasn’t just about learning her baking secrets (like a splash of OJ in the crust), it was the passing-down of a family recipe without anything written down, just the experience of baking together, grandmother to granddaughter. Today, every time I bake a pie, I think of her. I’m an experimenter in the kitchen, so my latest creation involves adding homemade caramel to my apple pie. And if you’re wondering, my Nanny would not approve! But, she’d applaud the effort and I know after one bite, she’d agree it’s delicious.

Baking with apples: In New Jersey alone, there are 30 different varieties of apples, all in season right now. While everyone has an opinion of which apple’s best for baking, if they’re fresh off the tree, that’s what you want.  Most apple orchards will let you pick the apples for a fun family excursion (many come with a free hayride to get to the trees). But, if you just want the apples, they’re usually sold ready to go at the orchards for a quick pit stop.

Using raw sugar: Raw sugar naturally contains molasses, which gives the sugar a richer depth of flavor. It’s a perfect complement to caramel and apples as in this caramel apple pie. You can find raw sugar right next to the white stuff in your grocery store.

The bubble-done method: Has this happened to you? your pie is in the oven, and after 15 minutes, it looks done, but is it done? While the top may be golden brown and pie-contest gorgeous, it takes the apples a good hour to cook and the bottom crust even longer. After decades of pie baking, I rely on the bubble method:  after an hour in the oven, the filling will begin bubbling up through the crust, which means it’s perfectly done. Works every time.

Caramel Apple Pie
Caramel apple pie is the best of everything. I’m an experimenter in the kitchen, so my latest recipe involves adding homemade caramel to the iconic classic.

Caramel Apple Pie

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Serving Size: 6-8

Caramel Apple Pie


    All-Butter Crust
  • 2 ½ cups four
  • 2 teaspoons raw sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold and cut up
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 2-3 tablespoons cold water
  • Cream to brush on unbaked crust
    Caramel Apple Filling
  • 3 ½-4 pounds apples (about 8)
  • ¼ cup raw sugar + more for sprinkling
  • Juice of ½ lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup caramel sauce (recipe below)


    Crust – In a food processor mix flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add orange juice, then water one tablespoon at a time and pulse until dough forms. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times. Divide into two discs, 1 slightly larger. Wrap smaller disc in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes. Roll out the larger disc on lightly floured surface, and then gently place in a 9-inch pie plate. Chill 30 minutes.
    Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
    Caramel recipe- In a small saucepan, heat 1/3 cup of sugar and a tablespoon of water over low heat until sugar dissolves. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Cook until sugar is a deep amber color, about 3 minutes (watch closely to avoid burning). While the sugar’s cooking you can swirl the saucepan around to distribute the sugar, but try not to stir. Turn off the heat and whisk in 1 tablespoon of butter, then ¼ cup heavy cream. The mixture will bubble up, but stay with it and you’ll have smooth caramel. Add a pinch of salt and set aside.
    Filling – Peel and core apples and cut into 8 slices. Toss apples lemon juice, flour and caramel. Pour filling into chilled piecrust. Roll out smaller piecrust and using a pizza wheel make strips about 1-inch thick. Place the longest strip across the middle of the pie, then place the second longest strip across the pie the other way. Repeat alternating the strips until they’re all used up and you have a lovely lattice pattern. Brush with cream and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake 1 hour until bubbly and crust is golden brown.


Please allow 30 minutes to chill pie crust.