Dutch Apple Pie With Caramel Apple Drizzle

Dutch Apple Pie With Caramel Apple Drizzle

Written by Emily

The pie I think least about is apple pie. Not apple sour cherry or apple plum – just regular apple pie. It seems boring to me, yet it’s the most coveted emblem of American dessert eating. To be honest, any of the apple mash-ups on this blog can be changed into a regular apple pie. However, when a friend texted me this weekend for apple pie recipes, I realized that I had never added a good old fashioned Dutch Apple Pie. It just feels wrong to have a pie blog and not have this recipe on there.

Anyone can make a good apple pie. I’m certain of it. Like most things in life, it’s personal – the spices, the texture, the sweetness is completely up to you. I’m going to outline the basic tips for a good apple pie and then you can experiment from there.

  • Use a mix of sweet and tart apples to create more depth of flavor (Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Jonagold, Honeycrisp…and then anything growing locally!)
  • Peel and slice your apples about 1/4 inch thick. I promise it’s worth it. If the apples are too thick and crunchy, they will tumble out of the pie and off your fork as soon as the pie is cut. Mom, if you are reading this, you know I am right.
  • Cook the apples down first. I swear by this step. Throw them in a skillet or dutch oven and cook them down to release some juice and start to soften (stop before they are super soft).
  • I do not like super sweet pie, so I think an apple pie needs no more than 3/4 cup sugar and some of that cooks off and gets left behind in the juices. I probably end up with about 1/2 cup total. Experiment with what type of sugar combinations you like – brown sugar, granulated sugar, maple syrup – all great choices to try.
  • Lemon is key. Lemon prevents the pie from getting weighed down with too much spice and brightens up the apple flavor.
  • Spices. This is where your personal taste comes in. I would say no more than 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons of spices total and that cinnamon is probably the leading spice. I think there needs to be some nutmeg in there to taste like apple pie and then I never pass on a chance to use cardamom. I choose that instead of ginger.
  • Do what you will with the top. I will be using a crumble topping like always… but if you must use a top crust, use more apples. Heaping apples are good for a top crust because it will help it hold its shape. If you are doing a crumble top, keep the apples more shallow.

When it comes to pie-making, I could not be more of a proponent for keeping things simple. But. The juices left over from the pie were so aromatic and delicious, I just couldn’t waste them, so I built in an optional step of making a caramel apple drizzle if you are feeling ambitious. Basically, it’s a caramel sauce made from the juices left behind. I am using it as a topping here, but you could also add a little to the apple mixture if you want.

Go forth and bake up a storm – it’s apple season!

Print Recipe

Dutch Apple Pie With Caramel Apple Drizzle



  1. Up to two days in advance, prepare pie crust according to directions, roll and plate. If doing in advance, cover loosely with plastic wrap and keep in refrigerator.
  2. Preheat oven to 425
  3. Peel and slice apples 1/4 inch think and place in a dutch oven or large skillet.
  4. Add lemon zest and brown sugar to the apples and mix.
  5. Cook over medium heat for about 5-8 minutes or until the apples are just starting to soften but still hold their shape. Remove apples from pot or skillet and put into bowl to cool. Pour the remaining juice into a liquid measuring cup (if you are going to make the optional caramel sauce).
  6. While the apples are cooling, you can make your crumble topping. Making the crumble topping is also a great step to do in advance.
  7. In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup sugar, spices and cornstarch.
  8. When the apples are cool, add lemon juice and vanilla and mix well.
  9. Add the sugar/spice/cornstarch mixture to the apples and blend well.
  10. Using a large spoon so that you leave behind some of the juices in the bowl (and so that you take a little bit with you into the pie because it's delicious!), fill the prepared pie shell with apples. I like to fill mine just to the top because I like a compact, easy to eat pie. The more heaping it is, the longer it will need to bake but definitely fill to your heart's content. Apple won't overflow like other fruit pies will.
  11. If you are going to make the caramel drizzle, dump remaining juice into the liquid measuring cup with the other apple juice.
  12. Cover evenly with crumble topping.
  13. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes then turn the oven down to 350 and bake for another 25-30 minutes or until pie is brown and juices are bubbling. Cool completely before eating.
Caramel Apple Drizzle
  1. Using a small saucepan, place 1/4 cup of remaining juices and 3/4 cup sugar into the pan over medium heat. If you have more juice, just adjust the sugar down so you are using no more than 1 cup total.
  2. In a traditional caramel sauce recipe, the white sugar covers the bottom of the pot and you know when it's done because it turns clear and then begins to brown. This mixture is already going to be brown from the spices and brown sugar, so you are going to have to use some intuition to know when it's done. The important thing is to allow the white sugar on the bottom to completely liquify and begin to brown. If you tip the pot in this photo, you will see the white sugar still lining the bottom. Not done.
  3. Allow the sugars to heat and cook for about 5 minutes but do not stir. YOU NEED TO STAY CLOSE AND WATCH. The mixture will begin to bubble strongly and it should be aromatic - if it smells remotely like burnt sugar, take it off the heat and go to the next step. In this photo, I let it keep bubbling for just a bit to make sure all the sugar had caramelized.
  4. Turn the heat to low and add 6 tablespoons of butter, one tablespoon at a time. Continually mix with wire whisk. It may hiss and bubble but it will calm down.
  5. Slowly add the cream in a thin stream and mix constantly. Only add 1/4 cup at first. If the caramel clumps, don't worry - the heat will work it back out. You might not end up needing a full 1/2 cup of milk, so if after 1/4 cup the mixture is light and a good consistency, stop there. You don't want it too watery.
  6. Place sauce in a bowl or glass jar to cool and then refrigerate. It will thicken once it gets cold in the refrigerator. You can keep this in an air right jar for about a month in the fridge. The sauce has a hint of the apple juices and is so delicious!

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