Yield: 1 6-inch pie
- Double crust for 6-inch pie (recipe and instructions here)
- 2 Granny Smith or other firm, tart apples
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon flour
- 4-1/4 ounces (3/4 cup packed) brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons dark corn syrup
- Pinch salt
- 2 tablespoons apple brandy (or use regular brandy)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
2. Peel the apples and cut them in half. Remove the core and stem. Cut into thin wedges (about 1/4-inch thick) and cut each wedge into 6 to 8 pieces. (As you cut the apples, you can place the cut pieces in a bowl of water mixed with the juice of half a lemon to keep them from turning brown. Drain before continuing with the recipe).
3. Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat and add the apple slices, sugar, and spices. Stir to distribute the spices and coat the apples with the butter. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, continuing to stir, just until apples soften slightly. Remove from heat and let cool. Stir in the flour and set aside while you make the caramel sauce.
4. For the caramel, place the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt in a medium sauce pan and cook, stirring, until the butter has melted and the mixture comes to a boil. Continue to cook, without stirring, for about 5 minutes, until mixture is thick. Remove from the heat and carefully add the cream and brandy. Stir until thoroughly combined. Let cool slightly -- caramel should be thick but pourable. (Caramel can be made up to a day ahead; reheat until it's a pourable consistency before continuing.)
5. Preheat the oven to 350F.
6. Remove the pie tin and top crust from the refrigerator; set the top crust aside. Coat the bottom of the crust with about a tablespoon of the caramel sauce. Add a thin layer of the apples to cover the caramel, making sure there are no big gaps. Drizzle another tablespoon or so of the sauce over the apples. Continue adding layers of apples and sauce, ending with sauce (you'll have sauce left over; set it aside). Apples should be mounded slightly above the edge of the pie tin.
7. Drape the top crust over the apples and trim any excess. Crimp the top and bottom crust together using a fork or your fingers. Cut 4 to 6 small slits in the top crust at even intervals.
8. Place the pie tin on a small sheet pan or cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Check the pie; if the top crust is getting dark, cover it with aluminum foil. Continue baking for another 25 to 30 minutes or until juices are bubbling up through the slits in the pie crust. Don't worry if some of the caramel has leaked out -- that's why the pie is on a sheet pan.
9. Let cool completely before slicing. When ready to serve, reheat the reserved caramel sauce and drizzle over the slices of pie.