Salted Caramel Apple Pie

in Desserts

If you’re looking to make new friends, salted caramel is a good place to start. Combine salted caramel with apples and put them in a pie? An even better start.

This Thanksgiving is going to be the first T-Day I’ve ever spent away from home. EVER! And I know I’m like a full-grown adult and should have been having “Friendgiving” like for years now, but I dunno…I like my family. Even though I live across the country from them, I’ve always figured out a way to get home. I’d either cry poor and they’d feel bad and buy me a ticket or I’d save my pennies and get myself home or even cash in on some airline miles I didn’t even know had. It was all in the name of making 10 Thanksgiving dishes with too little time and too little kitchen equipment. But every time the effort to go home was worth it.

This year I’m going to San Francisco with my dude (!!) to spend it with his family. I’m nervous. I don’t know them; they don’t know me. But naturally, I want them to like me. For this possibly awkward, sweat-inducing situation I’ll need a pie.

I’m thinkin’ this salted caramel deliciousness will do the trick.

This pie is my new love. I thought my new love was the Bourbon Pumpkin Pie (and it is good!) but this one…OHH-MM-GGEEE.

I will admit that this one takes a little effort. That’s why I’m going to recommend something I never have before: maybe possibly buy your pie dough.


Yes. Or make it the night before. Because between the making of the caramel, slicing up the apples, etc., etc., this thang is a good amount of work. But it’s worth it, ohhh is. it. worth. it.

The heart pie dough border is totally optional. I think it’s pretty cute. But you’re more than welcome to do a lattice or whatever you’re feeling.

I used the combination of Gala apples and one Granny Smith. I liked the teeny-bit of tartness with the caramel. Such a win.

The most glorious part about this pie is how the caramel actually ends up tasting like apple salted caramel.

When the pie is in the oven the apples cook in the caramel and transform the caramel to tasting like apples. It’s ridiculously amazing.

Can we talk about caramel for a second? Making caramel at home can be a little scary and if you’ve never done it, I got some tips:

1. Get everything ready before hand. I’m talking the cream, the sugar, the butter, your whisk. Get your stuff in place.

2. Wear long sleeves. When you add the butter and cream, the mixture will bubble up, but you’ll need to keep whisking. It’s pretty easy for a little bit to escape the pan so wearing long sleeves will protect your arms.

3. Add room temperature butter and add warm heavy cream. It’s in the directions below, but warming up your heavy cream is a big one. If you add super cold cream, the caramel will seize. Sure, you can cook it a bit more and it will melt again, but why do that. Just warm it up and you won’t have any problems.

4. Don’t taste it! I’ve done this before and it’s like, why did I do that? It’s hot cooked sugar. Wait ’til it cools down to do a taste test. You may need to add more salt but just let it chill out first.

The other thing with this pie, it’ll be goopy when you take it out of the oven.

You might even curse my name a little. Don’t worry, it’ll thicken and be sliceable once it’s completely cooled.

And I’m not talking like an hour cooled. It’s going to take more like 5 hours, so just plan accordingly and you’ll be all good.

About a month ago, as we were planning this trip, I got an email from the nice people over at Acura and they were like, Do you want to borrow a car for a week? And I was like, Sure!

So next week they’re giving me a car and we’re using it for our road trip. We were planning on flying, but driving up the coast of California is a stunner – if you’ve never done it.

Back to San Francisco! I haven’t been to this city in a few years. If you have restaurant recommendations, cute store recommendations, fun activities, I’m all ears.

Where should I eat? What should I do?

I like you. Make this pie.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Print this recipe!

Salted Caramel:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup white granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon of flaky sea salt (I used Maldon)

2 nine-inch pie crusts (homemade or store-bought)
3 Gala Apples (You can use others too – like Russets or Orins)
1 Granny Smith Apples (I used this for an added tartness – totally optional)
1 lemon
4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon bourbon (optional)
3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice

Turbinado Sugar
Flaky Sea Salt

Special Equipment:
9-inch pie pan
Silicon Spatula (we don’t want it to melt in the caramel)

1. In the microwave or a small pot, heat the heavy cream until it’s warm to the touch. Set it aside.

2. In a medium to large pot, add the sugar and place it over medium heat. Do not stir. Cook the sugar until the bottom starts to turn a light golden brown, about 3 minutes. Stir the sugar, if needed, so all of it gets its turn hitting the bottom of the pan. Cook the sugar until it turns a medium brown, this process will happen fast so be sure not to leave. Once the caramel reaches a medium brown color take it off the heat and whisk it until smooth. You’ll notice that it will still turn a darker color and cook more as you whisk. At this point it should be a dark brown – if it’s not, place it back on the heat in 30 second increments, whisking the entire time, until it reaches that dark caramel color. Turn off the heat and whisk in the 5 tablespoons of butter (it will bubble up!). Keep whisking until the melted butter fully incorporates into the cooked sugar. Next, add the warm cream (it will bubble up!), whisking it in until it’s fully incorporated. You’ll notice that the texture is much thinner than it was earlier – not to worry it will thicken as it cools. Add the salt and whisk. Transfer it to a glass container and set aside.

3. To assemble the pie, roll out 1/2 of your homemade or store-bought dough to a 12-inch circle and place it in the 9-inch pie pan. Trim the edges, leaving a 1/4-inch overhang – it will shrink in the oven! Transfer the pie pan to the refrigerator while you make the heart-cut outs. Take the second half of your pie dough and roll it out. Cut out about 10 hearts, re-rolling the scraps and making 2 more. Lightly flour them, transfer them to a cutting board and place it in the refrigerator.

4. Preheat the oven to 300F. Peel, core and slice the apples to a 1/4-inch thickness. I lopped off the tops and bottoms and sliced them horizontally. TIP: If you don’t have an apple core, you can use the bottom half of a large piping tip (I did this!). Transfer the apples slices to a bowl and to prevent them from browning, coat them with the juice from the lemon. Add the flour, bourbon, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice to the apples and using your hands, toss the apples until they’re evenly coated.

5. Take the pie crust out of the fridge. Transfer the apple mixture to the pie crust, layering them in a circle pattern. Taste the caramel – does it need more salt? Add more if needed. Pour about 1/4 cup of caramel over the apples. Top them with a few pinches of salt. Brush the edges of the pie crust with water. Place each heart around the pie crust, gently pressing them down so they are secured to the pie crust underneath. NOTE: There will be some heart sinkage because of the holes in the cored apples, to prevent this from happening, cube up an apple and fill those holes to keep the pastry dough upright. When you’re done arranging the hearts, lightly brush them with the leftover caramel and top with a few pinches turbinado sugar and a few pinches of sea salt.

6. Transfer the pie to baking sheet and place it in the preheated oven. Bake at 300F for 25 minutes, until the pie crust is a very lightly golden brown. Turn the heat up to 350F and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes. You’ll know when it’s done when the pie crust is a golden brown color and the caramel looks bubbly. NOTE: When you take it out of the oven, the caramel may look thin – that’s ok. It will thicken completely but it needs to cool. If you serve it now it will be goopy – but delicious! If you want attractive looking slices, allow it to cool (on your kitchen counter) for 5-6 hours. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream and a drizzle of salted caramel.

Inspiration from Four & Twenty Blackbirds

{ 83 comments… read them below or add one }

Jackie November 16, 2012 at 10:24 am

What a sweet looking pie, love how you cut the apples in rings :)


Margherita November 16, 2012 at 10:25 am

I’m loving this pie: the salted caramel, the decorative hearts, the round shaped apples. It’s so cute and delicious.
I’m sure you can make tons of new friends with this pie, although – being so good – I’m not sure I’ll be able to share it!


NicoleD November 16, 2012 at 10:29 am

There is no way you won’t win them over with this one! You know what’s up!


DessertForTwo November 16, 2012 at 10:57 am

Meeting the dude’s parents?! Nice one! :)
My in-laws are meeting my parents for the first time on Turkey Day. I’m scared. Feed me salted caramel apple pie??


Judi November 16, 2012 at 11:21 am

I have to make this pie, it looks soooo heavenly!

One of my favorite places to eat in San Francisco is Helmand Palace ( It’s Afghan food, very tasty, very interesting, in a beautiful space.


Adrianna November 17, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Whoa. I’ve never had Afghan food. That’s interesting. I wanna do this!


Abby@ The Frosted Vegan November 16, 2012 at 11:23 am

I love the heart border, and the apple rings! Good luck meeting family, you will do great! Especially with this pie in hand : )


alexisbryn November 16, 2012 at 11:30 am

I can’t wait to make this pie, thank you! In SF, I suggest going to Leopold’s, a fantastic authentic German restaurant that will knock your socks off. Its a great stroll into Russian Hill and down to Ghirardelli Square afterwards. I know “pot & pantry” is there too, but I haven’t had a chance to go, so GO! Enjoy!


Adrianna November 17, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Whoa. I’m so going to Pot and Pantry – how cute is that place?! Thank you!


Carmen November 16, 2012 at 11:35 am

I suck at baking, but I love your blog :)

Eat at:
Local Edition or Bourbon and Branch (for drinking, not eating)
Zero Zero (soft serve ice cream dessert)
Burma Superstar (so, so good)
Ramen Underground
Blue Bottle Coffee (addicting, seriously)

Cute stores:
Needles and Pens
the stores on Valencia between 16th and like 20th-ish Street
Hayes Valley stores

If you want to be touristy:
The Golden Gate Bridge
The Saturday Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building
Alcatraz (actually really interesting)


Adrianna November 17, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Yes yes yes. Bourbon and Branch is on the list. And I must go to Needles and Pens. TY! x


Allyn November 16, 2012 at 11:43 am

Hooray for your guy! Meeting family always makes me nervous and stressed and causes my husband to speak to me in very soothing tones (I met over half of his family about a year AFTER we got married). We went to San Francisco in September, so here’s where I listed my favorites:
Have so much fun!


Adrianna November 17, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Oh your list is awesome! Humphry Slocombe and Swan Oyster Depot is on the list for sure. THANK YOU!


little kitchie November 16, 2012 at 12:06 pm

looks sooooo good and sounds like it tastes even better! you will definitely charm them with this one :) last year was the first thanksgiving i’d ever spent away from my family. and, it was ok! i am glad to be going back with this year, though! wishing you a wonderful holiday!


Jess November 16, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Well dang it, I was totally going to skip apple pie this year because I felt like my old recipe just wasn’t cutting it. Now, I will obviously HAVE to make this. It looks amazing. Since I’m already making your Bourbon Pumpkin Pie, they will go together nicely :)

Good luck meeting the boy’s parents!!!


Erin November 16, 2012 at 1:34 pm

How cute is that crust??


Rachel (Two Healthy Plates) November 16, 2012 at 2:06 pm

That is the most adorable crust I’ve ever seen. I want to bake a pie just so I can make the crust!


Lauren Bux November 16, 2012 at 2:12 pm

You’re adorable! Enjoy your first Thanksgiving away from home (I’m 25 and married for 2 years….still never done Thanksgiving without my family)!!


Nicole November 16, 2012 at 2:23 pm

1) SO scared for the day I don’t have T-gives with my family…

2) San Fran: A16 (Marina)
Slanted Door (Ferry Building)


Adrianna November 17, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Slanted Door! YES!


Katie @ Blonde Ambition November 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm

I’m sure they will love you regardless, but bringing this pie (or ANY of the adorable things you tend to make) will certainly help!

If you’re into tacos, you should try Tacolicious. They have a few locations, I think the one I went to was in the Marina. So good!


Adrianna November 17, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Noted! Thank you!


Betty November 16, 2012 at 3:34 pm

This Thanksgiving is a first for me too. Our family has always been able to get together at Thanksgiving, but this year it didn’t work out. That pie may ease my disappointment though- it’s gorgeous! :)


Marie November 16, 2012 at 3:50 pm

This looks amazing, delicious and super cute! :)


Christina November 16, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Duuude, I just made salted caramel this afternoon. If I can stop eating it off my finger maybe it’ll make its way to a pie.


Adrianna November 17, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I can eat the stuff with a spoon. Insane.


Ashley - Baker by Nature November 16, 2012 at 4:33 pm

This is so absolutely adorable! And you’re awesome,lady – so naturally they’ll adore you.


Andrea November 16, 2012 at 5:11 pm

My eyes say: cute. My tastebuds say: get in my belly.


Danielle November 16, 2012 at 7:05 pm

You had me at salted carmel! OMG! This pie looks amazing! Also the crust is awesome! It’s so cute, I love it! : ) Try not to stress about meeting the parents. I’m sure they will love you!

Danielle xo


Niki Robins November 17, 2012 at 4:42 am

HI!! I read your blog all the time and you are such an inspiration. Being a college student, I love looking (actually, drooling..) at your recipes and trying some of them myself. This pie looks awesome! Also, I am SO EXCITED you’ll be coming to SAN FRANCISCO!!! (that’s where I’m from). Be sure to check out Zazie in Cole Valley – the besssst eggs benedict on the universe. (: Have fun!! And keep writing (:


Adrianna November 17, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Thanks, Niki! x


Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar November 17, 2012 at 7:14 am

This pie is stunning! I’m in total love!


Stacey November 17, 2012 at 10:13 am

Adorable lady, adorable blog, adorable pie. This is so awesome. Your boy’s family would be crazy not to love you! Hope y’all have a great time!


Yelle November 17, 2012 at 10:22 am

The use of the hearts as crust was such a cute addition!


Christina November 17, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Looks great but time consuming for Thanksgiving day. Do you think this would freeze well?


Adrianna November 17, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Oof. I don’t think this will freeze well, unfortunately. Caramel does weird things when frozen.


Ashlae November 17, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Caramel is the GREATEST addition to apple pie. But this is, hands down, the cutest apple pie I ever did see. Swoon.


Cat November 17, 2012 at 10:20 pm

You should definitely go to The Stinking Rose if you’re both garlic lovers, soooo good! Also, RN74 is crazy good. Have a great trip and pack layers :)
The pie will be a hit with the bf’s parents!


Adrianna November 17, 2012 at 10:21 pm

RN74 was on our possible go-tos. Thank you!


gigi November 17, 2012 at 11:08 pm

I love this pie looks heavenly and the heart cutouts in the dough are fantastic. will be the perfect thing for my thanksgiving meal. good luck with your visit bring this pie itll be perfect! xx. gigi. food and beauty blogger @


Holly Henderson November 18, 2012 at 5:40 am

You have to go to Fisherman’s Wharf, it is the quintessential SF experience (the seals are just the cutest), then a short walk over to G Square for some chocolate, hot cocoa and window shopping (read: actual shopping). Have fun and dress warm!!


Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) November 18, 2012 at 7:43 am

This pie looks amazing! And I love San Francisco, probably one of my favorite cities ever. A few restaurant suggestions (although there are so many great places)…include A16, Bettes Oceanside Diner (in Berkeley), Burma Superstar (22 ingredient rainbow salad!). Also, if you have a chance go to Berkeley Bowl–which is pretty much the most amazing grocery store ever.

Have a great time!


Taylor November 18, 2012 at 9:27 am

Wow this pie looks delicious. Good luck with meeting the parents, I’m sure they’ll love you!


britainknee November 18, 2012 at 11:16 am

Love the heart border! Definitely stealing that 😉


karen November 18, 2012 at 1:33 pm

I really love the food at Dosa – they have two locations, one in the Mission and one on Fillmore. The Mission one has a more hipster vibe and the Fillmore one is more lush inside. Both serve truly unusual, outstanding Indian food.


Let Me Eat Cake November 18, 2012 at 2:24 pm

girlfriend if this doesn’t steal their heart i don’t know what will! what a beauty!


Mandie @ Oh So Decadent November 18, 2012 at 5:59 pm

I think a salted caramel apple pie is the perfect way to impress your dude’s parents! Plus this looks beyond amazing so I’m sure they’ll be diving face first into it on Thanksgiving. I want to dive face first into it right now.


Cass @foodmyfriend November 18, 2012 at 6:00 pm

This is so beautiful. You have done such a great job. What a sweet pie for Valentines day. Tyler would love it!


Coleen Patrick November 18, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Beautiful pie!! Good luck and happy Thanksgiving! :)


Jayne November 18, 2012 at 6:39 pm

The heart pie rim is so cute~! I have to agree, salted caramel is the way to go! Also, I recently made a new batch of dulce de leche. Another excellent way to buy over hearts. haha!


Jess November 18, 2012 at 7:06 pm

This is the prettiest pie I’ve seen in ages! Love this combination of flavors – and you are right – everyone is won over with salted caramel.


Lisa @ The Cooking Bride November 18, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Beautiful pie! I love the hearts.


Angela November 19, 2012 at 7:49 am

I love the salted caramel craze and I’m so glad it’s popping up everywhere. I’m not sure how long it’s been around but it’s new to me. And I seriously am in love with it! I’m going to try this for Thanksgiving!


Jillian@TheHumbleGourmet November 19, 2012 at 9:54 am

That pie is adorable. And baked goods are the way to the heart of the people who birthed the person you are dating. They will love you!


TARTESANDCARO November 19, 2012 at 11:22 am

please don’t say me that you haven’t eat this apple tart


Loretta | A Finn In The Kitchen November 19, 2012 at 12:45 pm

I love the combination of the large crust hearts and the apple rings! They look perfect and delicious!


Danielle November 19, 2012 at 7:52 pm

This recipe looks out of control delicious. I love the heart shaped toping. So creative!


dervla @ The Curator November 19, 2012 at 10:48 pm

this is simply the prettiest apple pie EVER. Totally worth the effort.


kr2160 November 20, 2012 at 8:24 am

obsessed with the heart shaped pie crust! I want this to be my wedding pie.


Beauty Follower November 20, 2012 at 10:21 am
Christina @ The Beautiful Balance November 20, 2012 at 4:19 pm

I refuse to eat apple pie unless salted caramel is involved. This looks incredible and I love what you’ve done with the crust.


Coda November 21, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Do you think this could be made a day in advance and left out ?


Adrianna November 21, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Absolutely. I’d keep it overnight covered in the fridge (bc of the cream) and then let it come to room temperature before serving.


Lee day November 21, 2012 at 6:24 pm

You are missing your real calling! The hearts are a superb touch…
Although I dabble in the kitchen I’ve got to give this a try. Won’t do the hearts though.
Have a great Thanksgiving


H November 21, 2012 at 11:25 pm

For Afghan food cravings, I would head over to Fremont, its also known as lil kabul. It has lots of Afghan places. In the City, I like Bang san thai on O’Farrell, especially the drunken noodle with chicken and the sliced roast duck soup, And if you want Pakistani food (tandoori meat) go to Shalimar on Jones its literally a hole in wall, dont bother with the curries, the tandoori meat is stands out.
My wife and I really enjoy your blog, and have tried many recipes


Daneen November 22, 2012 at 4:01 am

Made this last night. The salted caramel…life changing. We’ll cut into it later this afternoon and I’ll let you know who amazing it is! Right now…it is GORGEOUS. I can’t believe I made that!! Thank you for the recipe…and the advice on the butter and cream!!


Tiffany November 23, 2012 at 10:49 am

Made this for Thanksgiving and it was an absolute hit! Absolutely delicious and can’t wait to make it again


Heidi @ Food Doodles November 23, 2012 at 11:07 am

This is the cutest pie! I love it! I hope your T-day went awesome!


Haley @ The Girly Girl Cooks November 25, 2012 at 9:05 pm

I adore your heart shaped pie crust!


Monique @ Ambitious Kitchen November 25, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Holy shit. There are no other words.


KC December 1, 2012 at 7:56 am

I made this! The hearts were so damn convincing. And then, when it was actually in my kitchen, it was so freakin’ adorable that I didn’t want to share. By the time I tried it, it was over, that pie was mine. My own personal Thanksgiving pie. ( sorry friends and fam!) What I’m getting at is thank you so very much for sharing this… it was thoroughly enjoyed. :)


Monica December 2, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Amazing! Totally going to make this for a holiday potluck I’m going to next weekend. Question-can this be made and refrigerated the night before, or will that do something weird to the caramel? Thanks!


Adrianna December 2, 2012 at 6:03 pm

I’d actually bake it, allow it come to room temperature and then cover it with plastic wrap (loosely). Should be just fine the next day!


gold price December 4, 2012 at 9:34 am

YUM! I love salted caramel and have always wanted to make caramels like these. Thanks for the recipe!


Kim Randolph January 31, 2013 at 11:18 am

And if we can’t get our hands on flaked sea salt, is coarse okay?


Adrianna January 31, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Yes! That’ll work too.


Estelle Sp. February 7, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Hi! I’ve tried your recipe yesterday afternnoon, now I am waiting to taste it. I don’t have a US pie mold so I did my best with my french tools; hearts are tinnier too but lovely and instead of Gala and Grany I used a mix of Golden Delicious, “Tentation” and Pink Lady. I want to know if it is normal for the caramel to taste a bit bitter (I tasted it with and without the salt -I put a french grey sea salt called Guerande- it is bitter all the same)? Maybe I overcooked it a bit, don’t you think? The colour of it is a real dark brown, almost like black chocolate (but not as brown though), a little bit darker than yours on the photos. Anyway I think it will be fine because the apples are sweet enough. Thank you for sharing wonderful recipes and have a nice day!


Adrianna February 8, 2013 at 8:28 am

Hi there! If the caramel tastes bitter it means that it was cooked a hair too long. Caramel is a tricky thing. But you’re right, the sweetness from the apples should offset that and it should be ok!


Estelle Sp. February 9, 2013 at 12:02 am

I tasted the pie yesterday, my DH too and… tadaaaa: it’s just delicious even with the bitter caramel as I expected, we don’t really notice it in the end. I’ll just have to pay more attention next time, stop earlier the cooking then whisk and it will be just perfect! Thank you so much for sharing. :)


Adrianna February 9, 2013 at 9:25 pm

YAY! So glad it worked out! xo


Stephanie October 24, 2013 at 7:42 am

I need to make this pie!! This year is my first year spending Thanksgiving w my boyfriends family (so i can relate to you completely). However, I want to make this in advance so I don’t have to destroy someone elses kitchen. We’re talking a week in advance. Should I make the filling and the sauce at home, then put it all together and bake it off t-giving eve? What’s your recommendation?


Lissha February 5, 2014 at 1:13 pm

OMGOSH, this looks delicious! Yum!


Misa Khan May 18, 2014 at 10:44 pm

They look adorable.


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