Caramel and apples can actually get even sweeter and more crave-worthy when you add ribbons of buttery brown sugar and make it all into one to die for pie. There is so much to love about this pie. It is perfect for holidays and special occasions. Plus it combines the flavors of an apple streusel with that of caramel apples into one amazing pie. And if you have a favorite apple or grow your own apples, whichever kind that is, they will likely work in this pie.
This is also what I call a "half scratch" recipe. That means there are a few store-bought items that help make this recipe a bit less labor-intensive. This recipe includes premade pie crusts and Kraft caramels. Of course, you can make your own pie crusts and make homemade caramels or caramel sauce but this is the method I have used for years. I do not want to mess with perfection as this is my most requested pie, especially during the holidays.
Best Apples for Caramel Apple Pie
I would like to say you can use just about any apple for this pie. But I will admit some varieties really make for a better pie. Some apples come out too mushy. Also, some may make this too sweet. So for my favorite combination, I use a combination of granny smith and Honeycrisp. Both bake up beautifully and hold their shape. The tart and sweet combination also balances out the brown sugar and caramel for a foolproof flavor punch.
Here is how different apples may make your pie. I suggest using one from each category. All of those I list below are firm apples that are ideal for baking:
- For tartness - Granny Smith, Braeburn, McIntosh, Pink Lady, Empire, Jonathan, Cortland
- For sweetness - Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious, Gravenstein, Jonagold, Winesap
How to Make Brown Sugar Caramel Apple Pie
First, make the brown sugar mixture. In a small microwave-safe bowl melt the butter. Next mix in the brown sugar and ⅓ C of the flour. Set bowl to the side to use later when assembling the pie.
Peel and core apples. Then thinly slice the apples in evenly sized pieces as shown below.
Add cinnamon, sugar, and flour to the thinly sliced apples. Mix to combine the apple pie filling.
For this caramel apple pie, unwrap 20 Kraft caramel squares and cut each in half. If using the caramel bits or a combination, measure those out. Gather all pie ingredients to assemble. In a 9" deep-dish pie pan, line the bottom with one of the pastry crusts.
Top the bottom crust with half the apple mixture, half the brown sugar mixture, and half the caramels.
the first layer of apples, brown sugar, and caramels
Repeat with the remaining ingredients to have two layers. The pie will be slightly mounded higher than the pie crust. I push down slightly to have the apple slices and other ingredients in the crust evenly and to make sure the pie doesn't have any voids. The filling will shrink as it cooks so if there are voids plus a reduction in size, the pie will have a low filling and empty space between the filling and the top crust. This will result in the top crust caving in or difficulty keeping the slices together as you cut them.
Place top pastry crust on the filling and crimp the edges. Be sure to seal the bottom crust with the top crust to ensure there is no filling that leaks out. Cut 3 or 4 small slits in the middle of the top crust for venting. Bake in preheated oven covered with foil for 35 minutes. Then remove the foil and cook another 45 minutes. See the recipe card below for checking for doneness.
Let the pie rest before serving. Serve warm!
PIN FOR SAFEKEEPING & SHARING!
Product Recommendations for this Recipe:
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Brown Sugar Caramel Apple Pie
- 2 9-inch premade store-bought pie crusts like Pillsbury brand or your favorite homemade recipe
- ½ C brown sugar
- ¼ C butter melted
- ⅓ C all-purpose flour
- 7 C apples (recommend Granny Smith or Honeycrisp) peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- ⅔ C sugar
- 3 TB all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 20 Kraft Caramels unwrapped & cut in half OR ½ C Kraft Caramel Bits
- Preheat oven to 375°
- For Brown Sugar mix: In a small bowl combine brown sugar and flour into the melted sugar. Mix well, set aside.
- For Pie Filling: In a large mixing bowl combine apple slices, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Toss together to combine. Your hands are the best for this.
- To Assemble the Pie: In a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan, line the pan with one of the pastry crusts. Spoon half of the apple pie filling into the pastry crust. Top with half the caramels and half of the brown sugar mix. Repeat process with remaining ingredients. Place top pastry crust on top of the mound of filling. Seal the edges to ensure the filling does not bubble out and spill. You want all the caramel and pie juices to remain in the crusts. Cut 3 or 4 vent slices into the top of the crust.
- Place pie on a baking sheet and cover loosely with foil. Next place into the center of the preheated oven. Bake for 35 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake an additional 45 minutes. The pie will be slightly brown and the filling hot and bubbling. You can slide a butter knife down through one of the vent slits and then gently touch the knife to test for doneness. The pie filling should make the knife hot to the touch. (be careful)
- Let rest at least 20 minutes so the juices and caramel can set so ensure easy slicing. Serve warm. Keeps up to 4 days in the refrigerator after slicing. The pie can be kept on your countertop overnight if unsliced. (easy to make ahead before a holiday)
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