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Caramel Dutch apple pie

Did I just realize, after writing this post, that this is the third apple recipe in a row? Yes. That said: yesterday no fewer than 10 different people came into the store where I work specifically to get gear for making things with their overflowing apple stores. There were cider makers and people drying apple rings and everyone giving recommendations for apple picking places and so many conversations about apple pies that I could barely find the time to figure out what type of apple pie I was going to make upon returning home from work. It is apple season, everyone, and Wisconsin takes that seriously, and I will definitely not let you forget it (apparently). Apples apples apples.

But really, I will try to write the next post about something other than apples. Seriously. 


I’ve been taking photos of food for a few years now, and for the most part it’s been going pretty well. Lumbering the tripod around the kitchen can be a bit of a hassle and the idea of taking out my camera at restaurants makes me pretty uncomfortable, so I primarily take photos only when it’s a recipe I want to document (for here or elsewhere) or when something looks particularly pretty (like the onions Brett browned today to put in the venison stew we made). I knew absolutely nothing about photography before I started this website and would only claim to know a very small amount now, but I’ve been learning a lot and it’s all worth it for that moment when a shot seems to grasp everything I wanted it to – the way the light looked, the feeling and intention I had in making and serving a dish, or the spirit of the food. 

Sometimes, though, the process or the food itself really seems to not want to cooperate. There are the braises that come out looking slick and greasy when in reality they’re not; the cakes that don’t slice right; the dishes that emerge perfectly from the oven but at a time of day that is too dim for natural light but still too light to switch to artificial light. And sometimes, the idea of doing it all is a little too exhausting, when all I want to do is enjoy the cooking and the eating and the company, and not worry about the photos, or when I’m tied by time to move on to other things.

A little of all of that happened yesterday, with this pie. The pie was not so photogenic, it seems; too many shades of brown and tan and beige leaves it all looking a little … wan. You’d think that bubbling caramel sauce and flaky crust would make for good photos, but this pie was definitely not feeling it. It was a busier than normal afternoon, and it was all I could do to snap a few quick pictures of the pie right after it came out of the oven (if this was a video, you’d be able to see that caramel vent in the lower lefthand corner bubbling and steaming) before I was on to other tasks. Then we had friends over for dinner and I didn’t even for one second consider pausing the evening to take photos. This blogging thing, it’s fun – but life is better.

So what you see up there is what you get, just know that this pie is the opposite of wan. The caramel and the toasty topping balance out the apples and the crust perfectly without being too sweet, and it’s all pretty fantastic at soaking up vanilla ice cream (one of my very favorite pie characteristics).  I don’t know about where you are, but around Madison people are clamoring for things to do with all their apple bounty, and I’m going to go ahead and say you should add this to your list. You are welcome.

Caramel Dutch apple pie

Makes 1 8-10″ pie

  • 1 unbaked pie crust (1/2 batch of this pie crust recipe, or whatever your desired crust), rolled out and fitted into a pie dish


  • About 3 lbs. of apples (around 8 large, 9 medium, or 10 small apples), peeled, cored, and cut into small bite-size chunks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • Around 1/3 cup slightly salted caramel sauce, or any other prepared caramel sauce, warmed if necessary to be easily spreadable


  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • Scant 1/2 tsp. salt (kosher – if using table salt, use 1/4 tsp.)
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, slightly softened (doesn’t need to be room temperature, but out of the fridge for at least 15 minutes to soften a bit will make it easier to work with)

– Heat oven to 425F. Place a piece of aluminum foil on a lower rack or on the bottom of the oven to catch any filling that might drip out of the pie while baking.

– Prepare filling Toss apples, sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a large bowl. (Set aside caramel sauce for a later step.)

– Prepare topping Toss together the dry ingredients for the topping. Cut or pinch the butter into small pieces and rub together with the dry ingredients to create a crumbly mixture.

– Spread caramel and fill and top pie Spread the caramel over the bottom of the crust. Fill the crust with the apple mixture, then crumble the topping across the apples to cover.

– Bake the pie at 425F for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 375F and bake for another 25-35 minutes, or until the crust and topping have browned and the apples are tender when poked with a sharp knife. Cool on a rack before serving.

Making ahead/storage: Read the Pie Crust Guide for guidelines on making the crust ahead. Topping can be prepared up to 5 days in advance and kept in a sealed container. The fully baked pie will keep at room temperature for 24 hours and can be refrigerated for up to 5 days, though will taste better at room temperature or warmed. The pie can be re-warmed in a 325F oven for about 10 minutes. 

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