BEST EVER Salted Caramel Apple Pie

This is a recipe for the BEST EVER Salted Caramel Apple Pie...that happens to be vegan and dairy-free. You can totally make it with dairy, but this way is just as easy!

Man, I was craving an apple pie. While I was looking around the grocery store a few days ago, I saw that they were selling some cute looking pies. But then I get all heady, thinking about all of the terrible mystery ingredients in them...and I just can't bring myself to purchase them. Instead, I left with a bag of apples and a mission: make an apple pie.

(Speaking of store-bought pies, did you ever eat one that tastes vaguely of plastic? Like the apples taste kind of weird? I hate that flavor -- how do they even ruin pies like that?!)

Many pie purists will tell you to use Granny Smith apples. However, in recent years, I've read more and more people using a blend of apples. For this recipe, I used Golden Delicious apples and it turned out perfect. You want to use a firm apple, so they are usually lighter in color. The only ones you want to steer clear from are the Red Delicious. Ideally, you'd want to use organic apples as well, but sometimes that isn't practical budget-wise. This pie uses eight apples -- and there are eight slices in a traditional pie -- so you're basically getting one whole apple per slice. And that's a serving of fruit, people ;-)

Let's talk a minute about this method: I was SUPER skeptical. My inspiration came from this apple pie recipe that had over 6,000 people give it positive reviews. I had never heard of pouring the melted sugar and butter over the constructed pie. My first thought was, "This is going to be amazing...or spectacularly terrible!" And I had to try this method. 

This pie? Not a looker. Depending on the ingredients that you choose (vegan butter or organic shortening; coconut sugar or brown sugar) your "caramel" will vary in darkness. I used shortening, coconut sugar, and cane sugar, and mine was pretty dark.

This is one of the best pies I've ever eaten -- hands down. If you're a regular on this site, you'll know that I try to veganize and healthify most recipes, and I did accomplish those goals here. With that said, this recipe still has a generous amount of organic shortening and sugar. These pies are great treats, but not for every day consumption. Just my little PSA. 

But, for real, my hubby and I have enjoyed having a slice of pie every day this week. Just sayin'.

BEST EVER Salted Caramel Apple Pie
2 batches of my Easy 4 Ingredient Pie Crust*

*This recipe is very easy -- here are some tips: for this recipe, I used half organic shortening and half vegan butter. You can use all shortening if you'd like. Make sure it's been measured and placed in the freezer prior to making the dough. When you're waiting to roll out the dough, keep it in the fridge. 

For the Filling
8 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thinly**
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
2 tsp. vanilla-infused bourbon (learn more about infusing here)

**Apple peeling is the worst job -- I need to get one of those auto-peelers! I use the two bowl method: I put the peels and cores in one bowl and then use the other for the sliced apples.

For the Caramel Topping
1/3 c. organic shortening or vegan butter
3 T. organic flour
1/4 c. water
1/2 c. organic cane sugar
1/2 c. coconut sugar or brown sugar

flaked sea salt, for topping

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425°.  Grease a pie pan with coconut oil or organic shortening.

First, after making the dough and storing it in the fridge, peel and cut the apples. This takes the longest. When you are done, toss them in a bowl with the vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Keep the bowl of apples in the fridge too until you're ready to use them.

Grab half of the pie dough and roll it out on a floured surface. Place it in the greased pie pan. There's no need to make extra fancy crust corners -- you honestly won't be able to see them that well in the finished product. Layer the apples in the rolled out pie shell.

Roll out the second piece of dough. Using a pastry cutter or pizza cutter, cut long lines of dough. Lattice and layer them on top of your apples. After this process, I pressed my dough down so that the sides/top of the dough is closer to the apples. Even though I put a cute little pumpkin cut out on there, it's kind of pointless. You won't be able to see it under the caramel!  Place the pie in the fridge while making the caramel.

In a large sauce pan on medium-low heat, melt the shortening for the caramel topping. Once it's melted, stir in the flour. After, combine the water and sugars along with the flour/shortening. Cook the mixture down until it thickens, much like caramel. You should be able to coat a spoon with it. 

Pour the caramel over the filled and latticed pie. I used a brush to move it around evenly. Add flaked sea salt if you want. Just in case the pie leaks, you might need to place a cookie sheet under the pie.

Place the pie in the oven and bake it for about 7 minutes at 425°. After, lower the temperature to 350°. Bake the pie for an additional 30-35 minutes. If you want, you can even insert a knife or toothpick to make sure the apples are soft enough.

Allow the pie to cool completely; if you can't wait that long, try to wait an hour. It will help the juice to solidify. 

This pie tastes AMAZING. The top of the crust gets caramelized and it gives the pie the most wonderful flavor. You won't be disappointed!

Cheers,
-Aileen