I'm not sure what it is, exactly, but for some reason men here in the Midwest really love pie. And apple pie at that. So, in honor of Valentine's Day, I made a dessert for the men in my life, because they prefer pie over just about everything else!
This pie is an old recipe that I veganized. It actually has a sort of caramel syrup that you pour over the apples before you bake it, so it's a pleasant twist on the original apple pie recipe.
I wish I had remembered to take a picture of the whole apple pie, because I think for the first time, my top crust actually evenly covered the whole pie! I guess the third time's a charm! For the crust, I used a sort of Pate Brisee, but instead of using all butter, I used half butter and half shortening. I would have used all but I didn't have enough, lol. After remembering to chill the dough thoroughly, I was finally able to get some good rolling action going on. I apologize for the unflattering photo, but it was taken at night with no flash, and it was the last piece of pie! I, and the empty pie plate, can attest to its deliciousness. This is definitely a recipe you can make during the holidays or give to the grandparents without them being able to tell otherwise!
Caramel Apple Pie:
For the crust:
2 1/2 c. unbleached flour (I used the evil white kind 'cause, hey, it's pie, man)
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 c. Earth Balance
1/2 c. nonhydrogenated shortening (I won't compromise here)
For the pie:
1/2 c. Earth Balance
3 Tb. flour
1/4 c. water
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla
4 very large apples (or 6 small), thinly sliced (about 6 cups or so)
To make the crust:
In a bowl, combine the flour, sea salt, and sugar. Whisk to combine. Add in the Earth Balance and the shortening and work in with your fingers until coarse crumbs form. Divide the dough evenly into two disks, then plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for about one hour.
To make the pie:
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Take one of the pie dough balls from the fridge and form it into the shape of a disc. Sprinkle a clean surface and the rolling pie with some flour and roll the dough out until it's about 1/8-1/4 inch thick. There is enough dough there to completely cover the pie pan, so if it ain't fittin', keep rolling it thinner! Once rolled, place it into a 9-inch pie plate that has been sprayed with a little nonstick. I don't think you need to grease it, but when it doubt, spray it out!
Then slice the apples and place it into the prepared pie crust. Stick all the apples in there, even if it looks like a lot. I don't bother putting them in lemon juice, because you won't be able to tell if they're browned once it's baked.
Roll out the second pie crust in the same manner and just allow it to chill on the surface for a little bit. You'll be using it in a minute.
Next, make the caramel sauce:
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour to make a paste, then add the water, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for about a minute. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the sauce evenly over the apples.
Top with the second pie crust. Cut off the extra pie crust (use this to make crusties!) and seal the edges. Spread the top of the pie crust with a little extra Earth Balance and sprinkle it with some extra white sugar and cinnamon. Using a sharp knife, cut a couple slits in the top to allow the steam to vent. Take a small baking sheet and cover it with aluminum foil and place the pie on top of that. This will help prevent the juices from overflowing onto the element. Top the pie with an extra sheet of foil, and place in the oven. Bake at 350F for about 45 minutes, then remove the foil from the top of the pie to allow it to brown. Bake it uncovered for another 30-45 minutes or until the bottom of the crust is golden and the apples are soft when a knife is stuck in the center of the pie. Depending on your oven, it may only take about one hour to bake, so start checking it after the one hour mark.
Allow to stand for at least 15 minutes before serving (if you can, lol), and serve it with some vegan whipped topping or ice cream. It's friggin' awesome!
Also, be prepared for some Indian, Korean, and Middle Eastern food! I checked out a bunch of cookbooks from the library and I'm dying to cook from them. Think veggies, tofu, and lentils!