Salted caramel apple pie is my new go-to pie for potluck suppers, Thanksgiving dinner, having guests over, and girlfriends’ lunch when it’s my turn to host here on the homestead. Steve takes it to office luncheons. This pie is rich, sweet and immensely satisfying so you might consider a smaller-than-usual slice. Hahaha…no. Eat the pie. Enjou the pie.
I am all for kids in the kitchen. Mine started cooking when they were three or four years old. This caramel sauce is not for safe for kids to make. The cold heavy cream hitting the hot syrup will spit and sputter. Adults need long sleeves and oven mitts. Kids need to be away from the stove. They can stir the sauce into the apples when it all cools down and drizzle is over the pie when plating slices. If you want to skip making the caramel sauce you can keep it simple. Go to the store and buy two 12 oz jars of caramel sauce. Warm the sauce and stir in the sea salt. Salted caramel apple pie without salted caramel really isn’t quite right. You will miss the salt in the caramel when you drizzle it over the top crust at serving time.
I like to use at least two varieties of apples for pie – Honey Crisp and a Winesap. Use what you like best for pies. This recipe is different. You’re going to cook the apples before they go into the crust. You do this so you can mix in the caramel sauce without it flooding the bottom crust. You’ll have no empty air pocket (a result of using apple varieties that aren’t great for baking in traditional apple pie recipes) between the top crust and filling no matter what varieties you use.
After morning chores are finished and before it gets too hot I’m foraging wild food. I pack a half-bushel basket, a paring knife, cold water to drink, berry boxes and measuring cups with handles, a camera and a pair of tall boots in case I have to cross a small stream to get to the mushrooms. We’re going to pick one of my favorite mushrooms, Chanterelles. If I were to buy them, these mushrooms would cost $26 a pound, more than we can afford to pay considering how many pounds we like to put up for a year. Picking 20 pounds will fill our needs but this year that’s unlikely because it’s too dry. Fortunately, we do find a small patch in my favorite spot. They’re on both sides of the stream, tucked in near hemlock trees. Keep that in mind. If you’re looking for Chanterelles, look near hemlock trees.
I carefully choose two-thirds of the best mushrooms, cutting each stem just above the ground, and leave the rest. By leaving some I know there will be more; maybe not this year if it stays dry but next year. Nobody else has followed the trail along the stream to this spot. Lobster mushrooms are starting to come up. They are the dirtiest mushrooms we pick, covered in duff from the forest floor, but washable because of their density. These mushrooms are a great base for cream of mushroom soup.
I haven’t seen blackberries this abundant in 32 years. I remember it well because it was horribly hot that summer and I was hugely pregnant. We picked five quarts on August 8, the first ripe berries. Next week I’ll be counting gallons, not quarts. I’ll make jam and jelly, wine, tarts and maybe even ice cream. I’m blessed with an abundance of wild foods and the freedom to pick them. The timber investment companies that own the hundreds of thousands of acres that surround my home don’t care about this food. Raspberries are almost over, blackberries almost in full swing, and I think blueberries are about ready to pick now. I’ll be looking for blueberries next week.
Apple trees are either loaded or bare this year. It looked like there would be more than last year’s huge harvest but pollination must have been a little off as a lot of the small apples fell. Picking up dropped apples on country roads is similar to gleaning in agricultural fields.
I will fill freezers and jars by foraging wild food. By the time the ground has frozen we’ll have harvested wild foods throughout the growing season, from fiddleheads and Japanese knotweed gathered in spring, to berries and mushrooms picked into fall. This foraging wild food thing…you should give it a try if you don’t already. What do you forage? And how do you use what you find?
Apple Tart – Baking Early Through Late Season Apples
Apple Tart – Baking Early Through Late Season Apples
I love a good apple, fresh off the tree, sweet and juicy. Baked apples with maple syrup and raisins are a favorite of mine. Applesauce can keep me busy that I bought a fruit strainer attachment for the KitchenAid last year. I’ve been craving apple pie for two weeks but it’s still a couple of weeks too early for even the earliest apples we grow. And besides, there’s a problem with apple pie. If it’s in the house, it disappears. Into my stomach. Onto my hips. One piece of pie is fine. One pie, not okay. I’m going to make an apple tart with store bought apples to tide me over. Tarts are small. We’ll split it for dessert.
This apple tart can be made in 10 minutes if your crust is ready. I’d offer a recipe for tender, flaky, buttery crust but I still can’t make one.
Apple Tart Recipe
To make an apple tart you need:
1 pie crust
Turbinado sugar (white is okay but Turbinado has flavor vs sugar is just sweet)
Apple pie spice (or a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice)
2-4 pats of butter
To assemble your apple tart, place the pie crust on a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. If you don’t have parchment you can very lightly oil the cookie sheet. Slice the apples into a pile in the center of the crust. I don’t peel the apples unless the peels are tough. Add the butter, Turbinado and a liberal sprinkling of apple pie spice. Fold the edges of the crust around the apples, moving the slices as needed. Fold the edges together and use water as a “glue” if necessary. Apple tart doesn’t have a solid top crust. Leave an opening.