Soft apples, caramel and buttery homemade pastry: What could be better?
Technique tip: Use a mix of apples for the best flavor, a combination of Golden Delicious, Macintosh, Granny Smith, and Rome works particularly well but use whatever apples you can get.
Swap option: If you can’t find dulce de leche at your local supermarket, it’s easy to make. Take an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk (label removed) and place it on its side in a large pot of water, making sure the water covers top of can by several inches. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 3 hours, refilling water in pot as it evaporates. Make sure to always keep can covered by at least 1 inch of water as it boils. Use tongs to remove can from pot. Let can cool completely before opening. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for several weeks.
Or swap out purchased butterscotch or caramel sauce for the dulce de leche.
Basic Pie Dough
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
- 4 to 10 tablespoons ice water
- Dough for a double crust (see above)
- 3 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced crosswise (1/8-inch)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar, more as needed
- 30 grams (2 tablespoons) dark brown sugar
- 30 grams (2 tablespoons) quick-cooking tapioca
- 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger root
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup dulce de leche, purchased, or see note, plus more for serving
- Whipped cream, sour cream, or crème fraîche, for serving
For the basic pie dough:
1. In the bowl of a food processor or using your fingers, pulse or stir together the flour and salt just to combine. Drop in the butter pieces and run the motor or smush the butter until crumbs the size of lima beans form. Add the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse the motor or mix with your hands just until the dough comes together, taking care not to overmix the dough.
2. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and divide it into half. Press each half together to make a flat disc. Wrap in the plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Or you can freeze the dough up to 6 months.
For the apple pie:
1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one piece of dough to a 12-inch circle. Transfer crust to a 9-inch pie plate. Fold over any excess dough, then crimp edges. Prick crust all over with a fork, then chill crust for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
2. While the dough chills, heat oven to 425°F. Line chilled crust with aluminum foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 12 minutes; remove foil and weights and bake until pale golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. Cool on rack until needed. (You can pre-bake the crust up to 24 hours in advance.)
3. Reduce oven to 400°F. Toss apples with sugars, tapioca, ginger root, spices, salt, and lemon juice. Fold in dulce de leche. Transfer apples to pre-baked crust and press gently to make sure fruit is tightly packed.
4. Roll out remaining dough ball to a 10-inch round. Use a knife to cut strips 1 1/4 inches wide. Arrange strips over the filling in a lattice pattern. Brush top of crust with heavy cream or milk. Sprinkle with additional granulated sugar.
5. Place a pie on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350° and continue baking until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling thickly, about 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes more. Let pie cool on a wire rack for at least 2 hours before cutting. Serve with whipped cream, sour cream, or crème fraîche and more dulce de leche on the side.