This is a very rich and extremely delicious apple pie—a perfect holiday treat. I once entered it in a company picnic pie contest and it took first place! I think part of the appeal is the streusel topping. There is something about those sort of crumble toppings that people just love. And how can you go wrong with the combination of caramel and apples? The only drawback to this pie is that it takes a bit of time to make. You are best off dividing the work over the course of two days. Make the streusel topping and the pie crust the day before. Then the following day make the filling and finish the pie. Don't worry, the effort is worth it.
Caramel Apple Pie
3/4 cup all purpose flour
6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 each teaspoon of clove and ginger OR 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
One round of chilled pie pastry for bottom crust only
3 pounds apples (about 8), peeled, cored, cut into chunks (use a tart apple that holds up when cooked, such as Jonagolds or Granny Smiths)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Plus more caramel for drizzling on top (optional)
Mix flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt in medium bowl to blend. Rub in butter with fingertips until mixture forms pea-size clumps. (Dough and streusel can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate streusel. Keep dough chilled. Let dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.)
Roll out dough on floured work surface to 14-inch round. Transfer to 9 1/2-inch-diameter ceramic deep pie dish. Crimp edges decoratively and refrigerate until needed.
Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 375°F.
Combine apple wedges and 1/4 cup flour in 2 medium sized bowls lined in foil (the foil is just for easier clean-up, the caramel turns rock hard when it cools). Toss the apples to coat. Let stand while preparing caramel.
Stir sugar and 1/4 cup water in heavy large saucepan (unlined copper is great for this) over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil syrup just until it turns amber colored, brushing pan sides with a wet pastry brush and swirling pan occasionally, about 5 minutes or maybe longer, depending on the amount of heat and the pan you are using. You need to keep an eye on it—stop when it turns a nice amber color, do not overcook. Remove from heat. Add butter and 2 tablespoons cream (watch out, the mixture will bubble vigorously). Stir until smooth.
Pour caramel over the apples in each of the two bowls as equally as possible; toss to coat. Let stand until apples release juices, tossing occasionally, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile put water in the pot that you used for the caramel and bring to a boil, otherwise it will be impossible to clean.
Spoon apple mixture into prepared crust. Sprinkle streusel over pie.
Bake pie until apples are tender and streusel is golden, covering crust edge with foil if browning too quickly, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Transfer pie to rack and cool at least 1 hour. If you like you can drizzle with some additional caramel sauce. Serve pie warm or at room temperature, with or without vanilla ice cream.
Serves about 10.