Caramel Apple Pies

Posted on November 16, 2020


We have a small, wonky apple tree in the garden with three different apple varieties grafted into one, so it’s a Bramley-Cox-Russet tree. Except it’s minus its Bramley bit because that branch snapped off during heavy snow one Winter, so I have to get our Bramley supplies from Grandad’s tree.

This year, as if desperately trying to make up for the fact that the whole world has gone to pot, our lopsided tree has produced a remarkable number of apples, so I’m working on all the ‘ways with apples’ I can think of. A basketful ended up in the green tomato chutney (also instigated by this year’s weirdly successful tomato harvest) and the rest are getting filtered into pies and crumble.

My perfect apple pie has a mix of soft, tangy Bramley’s, which cook down into a rich apple sauce, then little cubes of a crisper eating apple to add a bit of bite. I am not professing that these are the best apple pies ever, but the addition of a spoonful of dulce de leche*, to give them a gooey caramel layer, does make them exceedingly good.

*you can make your own caramel by boiling a can of condensed milk for hours, but I just buy Carnation Caramel in a can, it’s usually on the shelf next to the condensed milk

Make these with shop bought pastry by all means, but the sweet and short pie pastry below is so good it makes it impossible to eat less than two of these at a time. 

The Filling

2 Large Bramley Cooking Apples, peeled and sliced

2 Eating Apples – PinkLady/Granny Smith – chopped into small cubes

70g+ Golden Caster Sugar

1 Tablespoon of Milk mixed with 2 tsp Cornflour

1 Tin of Dulce De Leche, Caramel – find it in the condensed milk aisle

Cook the cooking apple slices in a pan with a 1 Tbsp of water and a tight lid.

Cook for around 7 minutes, shuffling occasionally to stir them round, until they puff up and soften.

Add the tiny cubes of cooking apple replace the lid and cook for 5 minutes.

Add around 70g of caster sugar, stir and taste and add more if it needs it.

Add the cornflour and milk. 

Cook for a few minutes to thicken, then leave to cool.

To make them extra toffee-ish sprinkle with toffee pieces before or after baking.

Sweet & Short Pie Pastry 

The pastry is soft, set and crumbly, like a rich shortbread and good enough to eat on it’s own. It’s perfect for mince pies.

175g Plain Flour

75g Self Raising Flour

50g Icing Sugar

175g Fat – I use 125g butter and 50g lard

1 egg whisked with a dash of milk (you may not need all of it)

Mix the flours and icing sugar then lightly rub in the butter and lard – the best way to do this is to whiz it briefly in a food processor.

Add most of the milk/egg mixture and stir or pulse until it starts to come together.

Pull the dough into a ball and wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling.

Note: I always make a double batch of pastry and freeze some for another day or for making a big pie.

Take it out of the freezer and defrost in the fridge before the night before you need it. It actually behaves even better after it’s been frozen and is great for a last minute, easy Weekend pie.

Makes 10-12 pies

The Pies

1 Batch of Sweet Pie Pastry (see below) or 1 pack of Ready-to-roll shortcrust pastry

1 Beaten Egg mixed with 1Tbsp Milk

1 Tbsp Demerara Sugar for dusting

Roll out pastry on a floured surface until it’s around 4mm (the thickness of a pound coin)

Cut out circles that are a bit bigger than the hole in a fairy cake tin.

Press them into the tins.

Spoon in some cooled apple and top with a heaped tsp of dulce de leche.

Smear a little milk/beaten egg around the edge of the pie pastry.

Make slightly smaller circles and press them on top.

Gently brush with the milk and egg mixture and sprinkle with brown sugar.

Cook at 175°c for 16-18 minutes until light golden brown.

Cool in the tin for 5 minutes then carefully remove to a cooling rack.



This is a recipe created, photographed and videos for the Center Parcs Blog in 2016.