Novin and I decided to skip Thanksgiving this year to travel to warmer weather in the Dominican Republic. Novin hates turkey anyway, and I thought a healthier Thanksgiving dinner of rice and beans and plantains sounded like a good change. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy and green bean casserole, but every year we have 2 or 3 family dinners to attend and by the end of the night I’m like a beached whale, bloated and banished to stretchy pants the rest of the weekend.
Turns out, rice and beans are a fabulous alternative to a traditional turkey dinner! The only thing missing from our Dominican Thanksgiving…was pie. When we were in the town of La Romana I discovered these amazing little passion fruit empanadas at a local grocery store bakery. Unfortunately, I made the tragic mistake of buying just one. We spent Thanksgiving in the city of Santo Domingo, and after dinner we walked the streets in search of these fruit empanadas, with no such luck.
Turns out, we didn’t get to skip the holiday as we planned…my mom just decided to celebrate Thanksgiving on December 11 instead. I volunteered to make dessert, as I usually do. I thought about making empanadas, but without the passion fruit filling it just wouldn’t be the same. So for our Thanksgiving in December I decided to get my belated pie fix with a Caramel Apple Pie. It’s like an apple crisp and apple pie rolled into one, and will not disappoint!
I adapted this recipe from “Yummy Crunchy Caramel Apple Pie” from food.com. If you want to follow the original recipe go to: http://www.food.com/recipe/yummy-crunchy-caramel-apple-pie-31128
Instead of a single pie crust I made a double pie crust so I could make a larger pie in a rectangular baking dish. I also doubled the recipe for the crumb topping because I like a lot of it.
Makes one 8×11″ pie. Serves 10-12.
(For a “2 crust” pie if you want to make an extra big pie like I did. Follow a recipe for a one-crust pie if you want something smaller)
2 1/2 cups flour
2 sticks COLD butter (1 pound)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
6-8 T ice water
In a large bowl, mix flour, salt and sugar. Cut cold butter into chunks, and add to flour mixture. Using hands, mix butter into dough, until it begins to clump. Make sure to leave small chunks of butter in the dough, so the dough will become flaky. Begin adding water tablespoon by tablespoon, mixing by hand as you go, just until you can pinch some of the dough together and it sticks. You may or may not have to use all of the water. Form dough into a ball (it should still feel a bit crumbly, not super sticky or smooth) and refrigerate in a bowl covered with plastic wrap for 30 minutes to an hour. You want the butter chunks in the dough to be nice and cold when you roll it out later, again– for that flaky crust! Roll out on a floured surface for a 8×11″ rectangular pie. Trim edges after placing into pan.
For Pie Filling
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
6-8 cups thinly sliced peeled Granny Smith Apples (or about 5-6 apples)
2 tablespoons lemon juice (to prevent browning)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/2 cup chopped pecans
To Make Filling: In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Sprinkle lemon juice on apple slices. Add apple slices to sugar/flour mixture and gently toss until they are coated well. Transfer mixture to pie crust.
To Make Crumb Topping: Stir together brown sugar, flour, and oats. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until topping resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over apple mixture in pie.
To prevent over-browning while baking, cover edge of pie with foil. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake 25 to 30 minutes more, or until top is golden. Remove from oven. Drizzle top with caramel topping; sprinkle with pecans.