Rye Whiskey Caramel Apple Pie

October 07, 2015

Recipe by Betty Liu

Pie Crust:
2.5 cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks unsalted butter
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
¾ cup ice cold water
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1| Prepare: Combine ice cold water and apple cider vinegar and place in the freezer. Dice butter into ½” cubes and place in the freezer.
2| Mix flour, salt, and sugar together. Remove butter, now cold, from the freezer and use a pastry cutter, fork, or your fingers to cut butter into the flour mixture, working quickly, until only pea-sized pieces remain.
3| Using one tablespoon at a time, mix water/syrup into butter/flour mixture, until just combined. Do not over-mix or knead. Add the mixture gradually – you can always add more water, but you can’t take it out. The resulting dough should be damp but not moist.
4| Divide into two. Shape into disks and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.


Rye Whiskey Caramel Apple Pie Filling:
1 cup Hot Cakes rye whiskey caramel sauce
5-6 large apples, peeled and cut into ½” slices.
2 tbsp all purpose flour
zest and juice of 1 small lemon
¼ tsp allspice
¼ tsp fresh grated nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
1 dash rye whiskey
1/3 cup brown or turbinado sugar
1 egg + splash of water



1| Preheat oven to 350F.
2| Mix apples with lemon juice and zest and combine. Add flour and sugar and the rest of the spices and mix until well coated.
3| On a lightly floured surface, roll one disk of dough into a 12” circle and gently place over a pie pan. Place in fridge.
4| Roll out the other disk of dough into a 12” circle. Cut into 1” slices for a lattice top.
5| Spread half of the apples along the dough-lined pie pan. Drizzle 1/3 cup of caramel over it. Spread the rest of the apples into pie pan. Drizzle another 1/3 cup of caramel sauce.
6| Create lattice top. Trim any overhanging edges and crimp.
6| Place in fridge for 15 minutes.
7| Brush with beaten egg + splash of water and sprinkle generously with tubinado, raw, or demarara sugar.

8| Place pie pan on top of a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 1 hour, or until crust is golden and filling is bubbling.  

Drizzle with remaining caramel sauce.


When Labor Day rolls around and summer’s heat is just starting to recede, New England becomes obsessed with apples. Apple picking in New England has a long and rooted tradition. There are orchards surrounding the greater Boston area, and even then freshly picked apples are readily available in the urban markets. You’ll be able to see apples, so freshly picked that the leaves and stems are retained, everywhere – in social media, on blogs, on restaurant menus, in the markets. Apples of all varieties are boasted. In fact, just last week I found these beautiful Blue Pearmain Heirloom apples that originated in New England from the late 18th/early 19th century! Apparently, these apples were Henry David Thoreau’s favorite kind of apple. Going hand in hand with apples are the fresh pressed apple cider and freshly made cider donuts. Autumn in New England is quite festive.

Making apple pie may not be as traditional as cider donuts or apple cider, but it’s a tradition in my kitchen. Apple pie was the first pie I’d ever tried to bake, and it is my husband’s favorite dessert. It’s hard to go wrong with apple pie. Choose crisp, tart apples and a crust you can rely on and you’ll have a delicious pie, regardless of the twists and flavors added. I’ve made miso apple pies, anise apple pies, but my all time favorite has to be a caramel apple pie. A no-regrets buttery, flaky crust over layers of apple and decadent, thick caramel, finished with a drizzle of caramel that crisps up on top – this is the ultimate fall treat.

I’d like to talk a little bit about the type of pie plate used. I started out with a glass pie plate, years ago, and my crust always shrunk. Since then, I’d had a constant battle of shrinking crusts and ugly pies. Flavorful, but not too pleasing to the eye. This is what I’ve learned: the type of pie plate, overworking the dough, and oven temperature can affect the behavior of your pie crust. Gluten is the protein in flour, and once water is added to flour, the gluten will begin to create an elastic, stretchy network. The more the dough is kneaded or worked, the more this network will form. This is why I emphasize stopping once the dough has come together. No need to work at it like bread dough. In addition, the higher the temperature for baking, the more the gluten in the pie crust will shrink, causing the entire pie crust to start to collapse into itself. The type of pie plate is also important. Glass gives little grip for the pie crust, resulting in slipping and a shrunken-looking pie crust. Ceramics are a good choice but can often cause slippage as well. My go-to pie plates are these Jacob Bromwell Golden Era aluminum pie plates. These have been made since the 19th century and are perfect for a buttery, flaky dough like pie dough. It retains heat evenly and is a great heat conductor. They are also the perfect size – some ceramic pie plates are too deep and cause more slippage than necessary. These have the right taper, depth, and have a beautiful, traditional presentation!!

I used Hot Cake’s Rye Whiskey Caramel, which spurred me to also add a dash of rye whiskey into the filling as well. This combination lends this pie a deeply aromatic flavor that perfectly compliments the sweet, tart apples.




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