This is how our day began. An early morning walk in search of fallen leaves, and a caramel apple pie. I love Sundays. Each week Scott and I slow down on this day. We sleep in (well, I try), we make breakfast (my Instagram followers are familiar with this, #ScottsPancakeLife), we go to church together, we go on bike rides, we cook dinner with one another, and just overall slow down. Take a breath. Read. Go outside. Live in the moment. Count our blessings. The other six busy days of the week tend to lack what this day provides. But then again, Sunday would not be Sunday if it weren't so.
This single-serving pie is especially for Scott. My love is often shown through the food I make to share with others. He is the primary recipient of this love, and hasn't complained yet. As many recipes that I make for two, I also make for one. Single portion recipes are perfect for that time when you want to treat someone, or yourself, just because. This recipe was inspired by a slice of caramel apple pie Scott ate while we were visiting the apple orchards in Julian, California, a few short weeks ago. My caramel recipe was inspired by, and adapted from, one of my greatest baking inspirations, Ashlae, over at Oh Ladycakes. I originally made her easy caramel sauce, which is pictured in the "in the making" photos above. But then adjusted it to my liking on my second attempt, which is pictured in the jar in the first photo, and in all of the baked pie photos. This is the recipe I include below.
Makes one four-inch pie.
1 can full fat coconut milk* refrigerated overnight
1/2 cup mascobado sugar**
3/4 cup whole spelt flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cane sugar
3 tbsp vegan butter cold
1 tbsp ice water
1 medium apple
Squeeze of lemon juice
1 tsp arrowroot starch
2 tsp cane sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Whipped Coconut Cream
1 can full fat coconut cream refrigerated overnight
1 tablespoon sweetener of your choice I use agave
*I highly recommend Thai Kitchen's coconut milk cans for both the caramel sauce and whipped coconut cream. I always buy this brand when I can, it seems to separate the best when chilled and yield the most coconut cream per can!
**I found mascobado sugar to be the best when making homemade caramel. It's malty, caramel flavor is just perfect. Being the pure form of brown sugar, like sucanat (which can also be used in this recipe if you prefer), it will take your caramel making (and baking in general) to a new level! I've tried brown sugar and it just doesn't compare. But you can use it instead if it is all you can grab at the moment - I hear ya!
Make the caramel sauce:
This needs to be made at least an hour before you wish to bake your pie in order to give it time to cool and set a bit. Begin by turning your refrigerated can of full fat coconut milk upside down and opening it up so that the coconut water is on the top of the can and easy to pour off (save it for smoothies later if you'd like). Scoop 1 cup of the remaining thick coconut cream from the bottom of the can into a small sauce pan on the stove. Heat to medium heat until melted, then whisk in the sugar until it fully dissolves. Bring the mixture to a boil, and boil for 15 minutes, stirring vigorously every 3-4 minutes. Once finished, transfer to a glass jar on the counter and let cool to room temperature (about 1 hour). Seal and transfer to chill further in the refrigerator if not using right away. It will set more and get thicker if refrigerated. I made my caramel sauce a few days before making the pie, so mine had been in the fridge and completely set.
Make the pie dough:
This needs to be made at least 30 minutes to an hour before you wish to bake your pie. It can also be made the day before and left to refrigerate overnight, or even for a few days. I made mine the day before because that was when I had time. Begin by combining the flour, salt, and butter in a small mixing bowl. Add the vegan butter (I used Earth Balance) and using a fork, cut the butter into the flour mixture until fully combined and crumbly. Now add the tablespoon of ice water and mix completely with your fork. Using your hands, form the dough into the shape of a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator to chill.
Whip the coconut cream:
Just as you did with the can of coconut milk for the caramel sauce, do the same to extract the cream from the can for whipping. Whip on high with a handheld whisk beater, or in your standing mixer with the whisk attachment, for a minute. Then add your sweetener of choice (cane sugar, powdered sugar, agave, maple syrup, etc.) and continue to beat for an additional 4-5 minutes, or until fluffy. Place in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Make the pie filling:
Peel, core, and thinly slice your medium apple of choice. Toss in a small bowl with a squeeze or two of lemon juice to keep from browning. Sprinkle with the cane sugar, arrowroot starch, and cinnamon. Toss so that all the apple slices are evenly coated. Set aside while you roll out your dough.
Assemble the pie:
Pre-heat the oven to 350F. If your caramel was in the refrigerator, set out to soften a bit while you assemble the pie. Lightly grease a four-inch springform cake or tart pan with coconut oil and set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a little more than half of your pie dough into a circular disk about 1/4 inch thick to form the bottom crust. Press it into your mini pie pan and trim off the extra overhanging dough. Scoop your pie filling into the pie, and drizzle with two tablespoons of your homemade caramel sauce (you might need to reheat a bit if too thick), flipping the apple slices over a bit so the caramel spreads throughout (it will fully spread when the pie is baked, it doesn't have to be perfect!). Roll out the remaining dough into another 1/4 inch thick circle. Lay this dough on top of your pie and trim the edges, leaving at least an inch of overhanging dough to tuck underneath itself and crimp into your preferred design to form the edge. Slice a few slits in the top of the pie to let it breath while baking, and pop in your oven for 35-40 minutes. Or until the edges of your pie begin to brown and the apples are bubbling.
*If you do not wish to bake your pie right away and are making it ahead for later, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in a sealed container in the freezer until you wish to bake the pie. Remove it from the freezer and let it sit on the counter to thaw for 20-30 minutes before baking. I've heard these pies can keep for up to six months in the freezer - but I don't know who could wait that long!
Once your pie is done baking, remove it from the oven and let it cool for 5-10 minutes before drizzling with more caramel and topping it with some delicious whipped coconut cream (I like mine super cold straight from the refrigerator, but you can let it thaw for a few minutes on the counter and then whip it some more if you'd like). And then heck, drizzle it with more caramel! Why not, you went through all that effort making it right?!
Have extra caramel? Extra apples? Slice those apples and dip it in the caramel, silly.