Making the dough for this all butter pie is easy as, well, pie! It only requires six ingredients and comes together in just a few quick minutes. By adding just one additional ingredient (the heavy cream) to a traditional apple pie filling, this dessert becomes a glorious gooey caramel apple pie.
Notes for the Pie Dough: If you'd like to make it with part butter and part shortening, reduce the amount of the chilled, unsalted butter to 12 tablespoons and add 4 tablespoons of shortening that's been chilled in the freezer for 10 minutes.
For the All Butter Easy Pie Dough:
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse together the flour, sugar, salt and butter until the mixture resembles cornmeal.
In a small bowl, stir together the ice water and the lemon juice. Slowly add the liquid to the flour mixture, pulsing, until the dough just comes together. Squeeze a small piece of dough between your thumb and index finger to make sure it holds its shape.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide the dough into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Gently turn the piece of dough a few times so that any dry bits are incorporated. Form each piece into a loose disk, cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350º.
After at least 20 minutes, roll the larger portion of the dough into a rough 11-inch round. Line the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan with the dough. Tuck the edges under and crimp them, then dock the bottom. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Roll the second piece of dough into a rough rectangle, about 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thick. Using a 3-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out 16 or more heart shapes. Place them on a parchment lined sheet pan and refrigerate until needed.
For the Filling:
Peel, core and cut the apples into slices 1/4-inch thick. In a large bowl, toss the slices with the lemon juice and zest to keep them from browning. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Sprinkle this over the apples and toss until the fruit is evenly coated.
Melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Add the apple mixture and saute for 5 minutes. Add the cream and vanilla bean paste and continue to cook the apples, stirring often, until the juices thicken and the apples are tender. Make sure not to overcook the apples or they will become mushy. Transfer the cooked apples to a large bowl and set them aside to cool completely.
While the apples cool, dock the bottom crust, line with parchment and fill to the rim with uncooked rice or dry beans or pie weights if you have them. Make sure the "weights" reach the very top of the pie plate. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the pie weights and parchment and continue baking until the bottom of the dough losses its rough dough sheen. Remove from the oven and set aside until the apples are cooled.
Spoon the filling into the crust and top with the hearts, placing them along the outer edge first, with the pointy ends facing inward (make sure the outer edge of the heart slightly overlaps the edge of the bottom crust--this takes about 10 hearts). Create an inner, overlapping circles of hearts, using 5 more hearts and place the last heart in the center. The hearts should all overlap in such a way that you cannot see the filling.
Brush the egg wash over the top crust and sprinkle with sanding sugar.
Bake for 45 minutes or until the filling is bubbling and the top and bottoms crusts are golden brown (you'll need to use a glass pie pan to see the bottom crust). Serve.