Whitney Miller’s Inside-Out Baked Caramel Apple Pie

What is not to like about warm cinnamon and sugar spiced apples enclosed in a crunchy crust?

Yes, I am talking about the quintessential American dessert, apple pie. It’s the perfect complement to any summer barbecue, whether you have steaks, burgers, chicken or seafood on the grill.

While I love eating an apple pie, I don’t love making it. Creating a perfect pie crust isn’t easy. I always have difficulty making the beautiful crimped edges.

To be able to bake my “pie” and eat it too, I came up with an easier recipe. My baked caramel apple “pie” is an inside out version. I bake whole cinnamon spiced apples and then top them with a crunchy crumble. To finish it off, a drizzle of salted caramel.

If you’re grilling out this summer, the apples can be prepared ahead and then warmed on a grill before serving. Simply top with the crumble and the salted caramel and enjoy!

Inside-Out Baked Caramel Apple Pie

Baked Apples:

  • 4 small Granny Smith apples, cored but leaving the bottom intact (not peeled)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons light brown sugar

Salted Caramel:

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup whipping cream, at room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt (or to taste)

Pecan Crumble Topping:

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
  • ½ cup chopped pecans

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the baked apples:

  • Pour ½ tablespoon of the lemon juice into the middle of each cored apple, swirling to coat the inside of the apple.
  • In a small bowl, combine the butter, cinnamon and brown sugar.
  • Divide the butter mixture evenly among the apples, stuffing it in the middle of each cored apple.
  • Place the apples in an 8×8-inch glass baking dish and bake for about 35 minutes or until the apples are tender.

For the caramel:

  • Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the bottom of a heavy saucepan. Heat the sugar over medium-high heat. Once the sugar begins to melt, swirl the pan to distribute the sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan. Once all of the sugar has melted, swirl the pan again.
  • Continue cooking until the sugar has reached a rich amber color. If you are using an instant-read thermometer, cook the sugar until it reaches 350 degrees F (be careful that it does not burn). As soon as the caramel reaches this point, remove from heat and add the butter all at once. Be aware the caramel will bubble. Whisk in the butter until incorporated. If the mixture begins to harden, return to the heat and stir over low heat until it melts.
  • Slowly add the cream in the caramelized mixture. Again, the caramel will bubble. Whisk until smooth. Add the salt and whisk until incorporated.

For the topping:

  • Mix the flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon together in a small bowl.
  • Using two forks or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture until mixture resembles wet sand.
  • Stir in the pecans.
  • Pour the crumble mixture on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

To assemble:

  • Spoon a pool of warm caramel in the bottom of four shallow bowls.
  • Place a baked apple in each bowl. Top each apple with some of the topping.
  • Drizzle more of the caramel on top.

Serves 4

Whitney MillerWhen she was just 22, Whitney Miller won the first U.S. season of the Fox show MasterChef. She is the author of Modern Hospitality: Simple Recipes with Southern Charm. While working on her second cookbook, she frequently travels around the U.S. and as far away as China to conduct cooking demonstrations and culinary classes. For more, visit whitneymiller.net, connect with Whitney MillerH on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @whitneymillerH.