ClumPIEst Caramel Ever

Whenever a recipe says “Easy Homemade Caramel” it’s lying. DO NOT believe it. Unless said recipe just calls to melt caramel candies with cream and whisk until smooth (which for the record doesn’t mean that it’s homemade).

Caramel is HARD (pun intended since that’s what it turns when I fail). I’ve failed at it at least three times now. Maybe a couple more that my mind is blacking out for my sanity. Once I failed twice before just melting down some caramels because I was running out of time.

Let me break this down for you...The yellow liquid is melted butter, coating everything it touches. The clumps are Rock.Hard. sugar (obviously coated with butter). What was supposed to be smooth and thick and beautiful was instead gross and impossible to clean. Yuck

Let me break this down for you…
The yellow liquid is melted butter, coating everything it touches. The clumps are Rock.Hard. sugar (obviously coated with butter). And the other stuff is weird butter/sugar hybrid yuckiness. And yes, it is actually this colour. What was supposed to be smooth and thick and beautiful golden brown was instead gross and impossible to clean. Yuck

So just trust me, it’s hard.

And while I’d love to be able to write a detailed post breaking down the recipe and presenting it in simple steps that DO make it easy-er, I can’t. Yet. So instead I will give you the recipe that I used for Salted Caramel Apple Pie yesterday and say that someday I will master caramel. And on that day I will share my secrets!

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

1 pie crust (I used a crust I had leftover in the freezer from in December when Nancy and I made pie crust)
3 gala apples, peeled and sliced
1 granny smith apple, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp dark rum (optional)
3 tbsp white sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

For the caramel:
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/3 light corn syrup (I know, I know, not good for you, but I was in a time crunch ok?!)
6 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt (preferably flaked but I didn’t have any so I just used regular)
1/2 cup heavy cream

Start with the caramel, because if you botch it (don’t worry, I won’t judge!) you don’t want your apples sitting out browning. Mix the sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt into a heavy pot over medium-high heat and let melt. Cook for about 9 minutes until the mixture is bubbling vigourously. Stir only in the first 2-3 minutes (hint: I set a timer so that after three minutes I was cut off from stirring – sometimes I get too keen with the stirring). Once it has been about 9 minutes and the mixture is bubbling, remove from heat and carefully stir in 1/4 cup of the cream. Be careful because it will bubble up and can spray you, which hurts A LOT because the sugar is so hot! Stir in the remaining cream and let cool until just warm.

Pre-heat the oven to 300C.

For the apples, preferably use a corer so that you can cut them in perfect circles. It makes the pie super cute. Unfortunately I don’t have a corer so my was less than cute (still yummy though!). Once they are cored, peeled and sliced, toss them in a large bowl with the lemon juice, flour, sugar and cinnamon (and rum if using). Get your pie crust out of the freezer (that’s where mine was coming from, or just grab it from the other counter) and try to artfully arrange the apples. I just dumped mine in and then worked to arrange the top ones nicely but next time I think I’ll try a little harder because it could have been a lot prettier.

Take your cooled caramel and pour it all over the apples. The pie plate will get really full so it’s a good idea to put it on a cookie tray for spillage. Bake the pie for 25 minutes before turning the temperature up to 350C for another 35-40 minutes. It is done when the crust looks golden brown and the caramel is all bubbly. Don’t worry when you take it out as it will look a little runny, but let it cool for 5-6 hours and it will firm up. Unfortunately I didn’t let mine cool long enough and it was basically just mushy pudding, but it still tasted amazing and I didn’t get any complaints!

The GOOD caramel. I definitely used an easier recipe, but I'm just glad it turned out!

The GOOD caramel. I definitely used an easier recipe, but I’m just glad it turned out!

Pre-oven pie. I totally forgot to take a post oven, or a plated shot so you'll have to use your imagination.

Pre-oven pie. I totally forgot to take a post oven, or a plated shot so you’ll have to use your imagination.

I took this over to Jess’s for supper with her and her boyfriend Adam, and Adam took one bite and said, “Yup, this is a thirds dessert” (yes, his mind went straight to thirds haha). It was yummy! We served it with home made vanilla ice cream (by Keith). And it’s a good thing it was so yummy, because it was the only thing keeping me happy as I got my butt kicked in Catan:).

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