Apple Pie with Caramel & Goat Cheese

October 9, 2013

apple pie with caramel + goat cheese | une gamine dans la cuisine

I love driving a stick shift, but that love is marred by a fear of hills and slopes...anything above a one degree incline. Years ago, when I went out on my fist solo drive in an old red Volvo, I hit every single red light. One of the traffic lights was located atop a steeeep hill and, lucky me, I was the first one to reach it. Staring at the light (wishing it would stay red forever) I recited what I had been taught about releasing the clutch. My palms were sweaty and I could feel everything I'd eaten that day churning around my stomach. When the light changed I cursed it, and everyone behind me for being behind me, then I went about trying to time everything perfectly. With the slow grace of a tank-size red swan, my car drifted back, rather sadly, into another car. Oh, the humanity! The other driver was pleasant enough, but humiliation took over my already threadbare confidence. To this day, for the life of me, I cannot make it up a hill in a stick shift. I have loads of other mental blocks too, but not being able to drive a stick without feeling nauseous is quite the proverbial bee in my bonnet.

Since we're in the springtime of autumn, and because the aforementioned "hill from hell" incident occurred in October, amid a "Twin Peaks" Bravo marathon, I'll always place red Volvos, Dale Cooper, high-waisted late '90s jeans, and apple pies together on the same shelf of shimmering tourmaline.

apple pie with caramel + goat cheese | une gamine dans la cuisine

This apple pie is splendiferous. It's a perfect synthesis of sweet apples, creamy caramel, and lush, earthy, goat cheese. The crust is made from the same recipe that I used for last summer's fruit pies (it still feels foreign to say the word 'last' in front of summer!). Instead of rosemary I added a splash of almond extract...although rosemary would be wonderful too. This truly is an ideal crust - very easy to roll and exceedingly forgivable. If you're antsy about making homemade caramel, please feel free to use a store-bought version. The caramel doesn't stand out too much against the apples and goat cheese, but it does offer a rich nuance - I think a premade version is allowable...this time. ;)

If autumn wanted to morph into a pastry, I have a feeling she would long to be an apple pie - an apple pie with caramel and goat cheese that's adorned with awkwardly arranged cut-out shapes by someone who was too lazy to make a proper lattice.

apple pie with caramel + goat cheese | une gamine dans la cuisine

Apple Pie with Goat Cheese & Caramel
makes one 9-inch pie

for the crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 cup (that's 2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes {Note: I cut the butter into cubes and let it freeze overnight in a covered bowl.}
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
6 - 8 Tablespoons cold half & half cream (or whole milk)

for the caramel
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup water
5 Tablespoons butter, cut into bits

for the filling
about 3 pounds of apples - peeled & cored, and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices (I used a mix of McIntosh and granny smith apples)
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1 /2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 ounces goat cheese

final touches
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

Prepare the crust: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and granulated sugar. Add the cold butter cubes and mix until evenly coated.

Place everything into the bowl of a large food processor. Using several short bursts, pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal (it will look very dry). Transfer the mixture back to the large mixing bowl and place the bowl into freezer. Freeze for about 30 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the freezer and sprinkle about 3 Tablespoons of the cream plus the almond extract on top of the mixture. Use a wooded spoon, a rubber spatula (or your hands) to gently work the cream into the dough. Keep adding cream, one Tablespoonful at a time, and mixing, until the dough starts to form a ball (you might not need all 8 Tablespoons). Don't add too much cream - the dough should be cohesive and slightly wet, but not sticky. Gather the dough into a ball and divide it in half. Flatten each piece of dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. {Note: Well wrapped, the dough can be refrigerated for three days.}

Prepare the caramel: Measure out the heavy cream and place it within reach of your stove. Also have a medium heatproof bowl on hand.

In a large saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, maple syrup, and water. Allow the water to seep through the sugar for a few minutes until evenly moistened. Without stirring, cook the mixture over med heat until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up to med-high. Without stirring, cook until the caramel turns amber - give the pan an occasional swirl with the handle. Depending on how comfortable you are with making caramel, and the heat level, this process can take about 8-15 minutes - Do Not wander off as the caramel is cooking. Once the caramel turns amber, remove the pan from the heat and slowly whisk in the cream. As you add the cream the caramel will sputter, so be very careful! Keep whisking until the caramel is smooth. If you notice any large clumps, return to low heat and whisk until everything smooths out. Stir in the bits of butter until melted. Pour the hot caramel into a medium heatproof bowl and set it aside to cool as you prepare the rest of the pie. {Note: Don't refrigerate the caramel or it will get too hard to "dollop" and spread.} Whilst preparing the filling and rolling the dough, give the caramel a good stir from time to time.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Prepare the filling: In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sliced apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, and goat cheese. Set aside.

Remove one disk of dough from the fridge. On a very well-floured surface, using a well-floured rolling pin, roll the disk into a 12-13 inch circle that's about 1/4-inch thick. Gently place the circle of dough into a 9-inch pie plate - make sure it's centered, if you try to stretch the dough at this point it will shrink back in the oven. Trim the overhang to one inch.

Check the caramel - If it's cool enough to touch, spread a layer onto the the bottom of the crust (save some caramel for the top too!). If the caramel is still too hot, wrap the pie in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the caramel cools off. {Note: If the caramel is too warm it will melt the pie dough.}

Scoop the apple filling over the caramel-lined bottom crust. Use a spoon to dollop the rest of the caramel over the apples. Set the pie aside as you roll out the second disk of dough.

Place the second disk on a very well floured surface and roll out another 12-13-inch circle. Drape the circle of dough over the filled pie and trim the overhang slightly longer than the bottom crust. Fold the bottom and top crusts together and use your fingers (or fork tines) to make a decorative edge.  Use a sharp pairing knife to cut about four 2-inch long slits in the upper crust - these "air vents" will help the give the crust a wonderful, flaky texture. {Note: If you're bored with a boring top crust, have a bit of fun! Use cookie cutters to cut out as many shapes as possible.}

Brush the top crust (or cut outs) with the beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons of granulated sugar.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown. If the edges are browning too quickly, cover them with a loose foil tent or pie protector. {Note: Some of the caramel oozed out of the pie and onto my oven - if your pie looks like it will do the same, place the pie onto a thin cookie sheet and continue baking.}

Remove the pie from the oven and place onto a cooling rack. Cool completely (at least six hours) before enjoying! 

apple pie with caramel + goat cheese | une gamine dans la cuisine


  1. Prettiest pie ever, my dear! I adore the cut outs on top. Now if only I had a slice for my evening treat! (P.S. We are on the same wave length again - I am posting hand pies tomorrow. :))

  2. You are seriously the queen of pies! I am officially naming you this. Gorgeous!

  3. sweet apples, creamy caramel, and lush, earthy, goat cheese = NICE!

    The fact that you made pie crust AND caramel sauce in one post - I was wondering if you were going to make goat cheese :) Amazing effort on this! And I love almond extract - bet it's so good in the crust. And those little cutouts are so cute!

  4. What a stunning pie and perfect timing as I am seriously obsessed with all the caramel apple things right now!

    I remember how stressful hills were when I was learning to drive a stick shift. Gah!

  5. Now I wish I still had Bravo in my lineup.....

  6. A gorgeous pies! I love the fact that it contains goat cheese.



  7. I had a near accident when learning to drive, only averted because the other car managed to back away, quickly.
    I have been obsessed by goat cheese, this is a perfect way to have more of it!

  8. And here I thought your cut-out shapes were a nod to modernism! They (and the pie) look great to me.

  9. I love that you added goat cheese to an apple pie!

    I've never driven stick but would be so nervous about hills... I can't imagine how people who live in places like San Francisco drive anything but automatics.

  10. I like all the cutouts for a top - might try that version.
    Why do you not stir the caramel when heating? Does it make bubbles or something?

    I drove a stick in San Francisco. Fortunately it was my little MGB with a hand pull parking brake, so I was able to use that to keep from rolling backwards. Automatic transmissions are so much nicer.

  11. @Joe, Stirring caramel, especially during the early stages of cooking, will sometimes cause the sugar to crystallize. One wily sugar crystal can make the entire batch seize up and harden. (I learned that the hard way.) :D It's better to touch it as little as possible once the heat kicks in.

  12. LOL! When I started driving I would literally pray not to be the first car at the red light!

    The pie looks amazing!! The cut-outs are beautiful!!!

  13. So so pretty and that flavor combination is gorgeous. Love that crust. I learned to drive a stick on the mean streets of Seattle, so yeah I know what you mean about hills. Did you ever learn the clutch emergency brake trick? Saved my backside numerous times.

  14. Beautiful pie! I'm just sitting here imagining these flavors in an apple pie and it's making me both hungry and happy!
    I learned how to drive an old 4 speed VW on the hills of San Francisco -talk about a large roll back factor, whew!!! Leave me some space in my rear view mirror people!!!
    Have a great week Valerie ;)

  15. Val!
    All those cut outs on the top totally make this the perfect pie ever!
    My goodness my dear.
    SO pretty!

  16. You make just the most incredible pies...can I come round for tea? :-)

  17. What an absolutely beautiful combination of flavours! And for the record, stick shifts give me hives... I once parked and got out of a car on a steep hill with a row of cars behind me, threw my hands up and refused to try, forcing my boyfriend at the time to take over. That relationship didn't last long ;)

  18. I've been thinking of this pie ever since I saw it on IG. I'm ready for a big slice of apple pie now. I learned on a stick and my first test was being stuck on a hill in San Francisco. I somehow lucked out and didn't hit anyone, but I have a feeling the clutch was worse for the wear when I got home. One hill at a time.

  19. I'm with Gina on this pie-dreaming of it since seeing it on IG. LOVE the cutouts. Totally agree that if autumn would morph into a pie and it would be this delicious one, Val! xx

  20. I love apple pie and I bet the addition of goat cheese and caramel to offset each other take it to a whole new level. It is the ultimate apple pie! Not to mention, it's absolutely gorgeous.

  21. So in love with this flavor combo

  22. Your story is sad but funny, I was my friends designated hilll drivers for stickshifts :) My best friend was one of those girls that was good at everything except driving so I felt so good being that I could save the day. I do love apple pie too and how lovely is this pie? What a nice surprise to find all that goodness inside the unassuming apple pie.

  23. I am afraid to drive stick for the same reason--hills and all that! This pie is beautiful! And love the combination with goat cheese. I've seen it done with cheddar, but I'm a big fan of goat cheese too. Would love a bite right now :)

  24. Oh gosh I had an old Volvo that got me through more than a few close was my guardian angel :)
    Love this pie, I think goat cheese makes everything better.

  25. Growing up in San Francisco I'm no stranger to steep hills. I never did learn to drive a stick shift but even in an automatic I avoid having to stop on an incline like the plague! My husband doesn't have the same fears but even in the passenger seat my heart beats just a little faster when we hit a red light in SF.

    Apples + caramel + goat cheese = winner.

  26. What a pretty pie and lovely combination of flavours - all my faves! I´d stick to rosemary though, then literally all my favourite flavours would be there! ;)


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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