This Bourbon Caramel Apple Pie with Toasted Pecan Crumble has everything I love in an apple pie. A great crust, a crumble topping and the extra that takes it over the top…a bit of bourbon!
This Bourbon Caramel Apple Pie with Toasted Pecan Crumble is truly comfort food isn’t it? Apples are sauteed and mixed with a combination of sugar, butter, and cinnamon…not to mention the richness of Bourbon and I’m in trouble!
Add to those ingredients a flaky crust and apples and it’s sort of a fall, fruit flavor combination I could not resist…in May! There is a reason for my madness though and truth be told, after getting rave reviews I wonder why I limit my apple pie baking to the fall anyway.
A friend gave me a copy of the book, ‘The Pastry Queen: Royally Good Recipes from the Texas Hill Country’s Rather Sweet Bakery & Cafe‘ and this recipe was so up my alley. The author called for Southern Comfort which I don’t keep on hand but I knew I could modify that ingredient so decided this was the pie I had to make.
So I did and then I posted it on this blog. TEN YEARS AGO! The post was so old that I had actually put it back into drafts so that I could get the pie made again and republish it with new photos. Better photos. I mean MUCH better. I pretty much had no idea what I was doing with a camera 10 years ago and it showed!
But why now? Well, in a nutshell, I got a phone call from the nicest young man in North Carolina, wondering what had happened to the recipe. He had insisted his dad try it but it was nowhere to be found. You can imagine my surprise.
A ten year old recipe with lousy photos was missed? So I found it for him, made it live again and then set out to right the wrong of those awful photos. Thanks Adam; I and my neighbors thank you for being the catalyst for enjoying this pie in the middle of May!
I made two pies, one for a neighbor’s birthday and one to share with the rest of the neighbors. They all assured me that a Bourbon Caramel Apple Pie ala Mode was not seasonal; that is was perfect year round. They might be on to something…I loved it too and well, ice cream helped.
This is unique in that the apples are precooked a bit in the sugar and spice mixture, removed after just a couple of minutes of cooking and the remaining sugar and liquids are cooked down to create a caramel type mixture (called caramel but not really the flavor of caramel in my book). The apples are then mixed back in with the liquid before being put into the butter pie crust and topped with a toasted pecan mixture. Sounds good, huh?
As to that Southern Comfort? First…did you know it’s actually considered a liqueur? Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey would be more similar than using a bourbon but SoCo is still loved by many; it’s just never been by me…so I had to reboot a bit.
I had both Seagram’s 7 and Maker’s Mark on hand. Seagram’s 7 is a blended whiskey and Maker’s Mark a Kentucky Bourbon that’s in my liquor cabinet for cocktails so I went the Seagram’s route. Use whatever you prefer, bourbon or whiskey; the brand is not important, even SoCo is not important. 🙂
I also added a bit of nutmeg to the original recipe from the book by Rebecca Rather…I just can not help doing something other than what a recipe calls for! Some browning of the butter and my caramel has a unique taste that is lucky if it gets into the pie, I could literally eat it with a spoon! But I didn’t, promise.
I remember the first time I made this pie and couldn’t wait to try it. I needed a dessert for a small dinner for some neighbors and was anticipating a grand finish…it did not disappoint. It had been awhile, too long actually, and the anticipation was as great this time around. Honestly…this is an amazing pie!
One thing you might notice if you look closely at the photo above? I never peel my apples. Such a time consuming waste if you ask me. The peels soften so much that I think unless you know they weren’t peeled you might not even notice. I also used my new electric food slicer on the apples. I see even more apple pies in my future, it made that job SO easy. I’m still having fun with it.
When I originally made this pie, I made my favorite homemade crust using lard. It is truly spectacular. However I’m down to my last piece of frozen lard and needed enough crusts for two pies so I went the quick and easy route and used the Pillsbury pie crusts that you unroll and put into your own pie pan. Yes, sometimes I do love convenience foods too!
This is one of the old photos I’ll keep. I love that red handled rolling pin. I can’t tell you it’s the best ever (even if I think it is!), or ergonomically perfect but what I can tell you is that it was my Grandma’s. She died almost 30 years ago at the age of 94 and that was her original rolling pin; it could be close to 100 years old!
Nothing quite makes pie making more fun than thinking of her; she was the absolute best. Still miss you Grandma! Do you have a kitchen tool or utensil that has special meaning to you?
I hope you try this pie in spring or summer but once you do I’ll bet you’ll want it for your holiday table too!
PIN IT! ‘Bourbon Caramel Apple Pie with Toasted Pecan Crumble’
For the Pie Crust
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2/3 cup (11 tablespoons) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 4 to 5 tablespoons ice water (So dry here in Denver, I've used more...just enough for it to hold together)
For the Topping
- 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
For the Filling
- 5 to 6 medium-size tart apples, such as Braeburn, Cortland or Winesap
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup Seagram's 7, Southern Comfort or your favorite bourbon
- 1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream (half and half will require a bit more time to cook down to sauce)
- Vanilla or cinnamon ice cream
- Whipped cream
- Caramel sauce (purchased or use this recipe with or without the cinnamon and rum)
To Make the Crust
- Pulse the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Add 4 tablespoons ice water and pulse until the dough begins to form a ball. Add an additional 1 tablespoon water of water at a time until it does. Form the dough into a disk,; wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
To Make the Topping
- In a food processor, process the sugars, the cinnamon, salt and flour for about 1 minute. Add butter; pulse 10 to 15 times, until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the pecans. Refrigerate the topping, covered, in a a medium bowl until ready to use.
To Make the Filling
- Peel, core and cut the apples into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter starts to foam, allow it to cook until it starts to turn a warm brown color; watch very carefully!
- Add the apples and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Combine the cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle it on the apples, and reduce the heat under the skillet to medium-low. Simmer the apples for about 1 minute.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apples from the skillet to a large baking sheet and arrange them in a single layer. This will keep them from getting soggy.
- Pour the bourbon into the butter-sugar mixture in the skillet. Simmer the mixture over medium heat at least 5 minutes, until the alcohol burns off. Add the cream, and continue cooking about 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture is thick as pourable caramel. Allow to cool while preparing crust.
Putting it all together
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Transfer the pie dough to a lightly sugared flat surface (I use powdered sugar in lieu of flour when making pie crusts for a sweet dish).
- Roll it into a 1/8-inch-thick circle large enough to cover the bottom and sides of a 10-inch deep-dish pie plate. (To keep the dough from sticking, gently pick it up every once in a while and rotate it in place, adding more powdered sugar underneath if necessary.)
- Wrap the dough lightly over the rolling pin, and set it in the un-greased pie plate. Press it into place, and crimp the outside edges with your finger or a fork.
- Spread the apples evenly onto the crust; pour the filling over the apples and then sprinkle the topping evenly over the top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the topping is brown. Serve the pie warm or at room temperature with ice cream, whipped cream and/or caramel sauce.