Sarah Kieffer’s Apple, Caramel, and Hard Cider Pie

Editor’s note: We’re thrilled to feature a recipe from Sarah Kieffer’s new book Baking for the Holidays which is jam packed with ideas regardless of what/how you celebrate. This upgrade to a traditional apple pie is excellent for celebrations or simply after a weekend apple picking trip. Here is what Sarah had to say:

Apple pie is quintessential holiday fare, and my family would be highly disappointed if it was missing from our dessert table. I have taken my favorite apple pie recipe (found in my first book) and added hard cider and caramel to it, elevating it to superstar level. The method I use for making pie comes from Ms. Rose Levy Beranbaum and her wonderful book The Pie and Pastry Bible. Releasing the fruit juice and then cooking it down helps control how much liquid is in the filling and gives it a more concentrated flavor.

Makes 6 to 8 servings


  • 2½ pounds (1.1 kilograms) gala apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into ¼-inch pieces (7 to 8 apples)
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup (120 grams) hard cider or apple cider
  • ¾ cup (162 grams) caramel or salted caramel, at room temperature
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1 recipe double pie dough recipe
  • Egg wash
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar


Make the Pie:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the apples, brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Let sit at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours or covered in the refrigerator overnight.
  1. Strain the sugary juice (you should have about ½ cup [120 grams]) from the fruit into a medium saucepan and return the apples to the large bowl. Add the cornstarch and cinnamon to the apples and toss to combine.
  1. Add the hard cider to the saucepan with the juice and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn the heat down to low and simmer until reduced to a scant ½ cup (120 grams), 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the caramel.
  1. Pour the caramel mixture over the apples and toss to combine. Set aside while rolling out the pie dough.
  1. Lightly flour a work surface and roll one piece of the dough into a 120inch circle about ¼ inch thick and place it into a 9-inch pie plate. Transfer the plate to the refrigerator and let the dough chill while you roll out the second piece. Lightly flour the work surface again and roll the second piece of dough into a 12-inch circle, about ¼ inch thick.
  1. Fill the prepared pie shell with the apple mixture and place the second crust on top. Trim the dough overhang to 1 inch past the lip of the pie plate. Pinch the dough together and tuck it under itself so it’s resting on the edge of the pie plate. Crimp the edges of the dough and cut at least four vents in the center, each about 2 inches long. Transfer the pie plate to the freezer to chill for about 20 minutes while the oven is preheating. The crust should be nice and firm before you bake it.
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and preheat the oven to 425˚ Place a sheet pan on the oven rack (the preheated sheet pan helps crisp the bottom of the pie crust and also catches any leaks and drips).
  1. When ready to bake, brush the top of the pie with the egg wash and sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Transfer the pie plate to the preheated sheet pan and bake for 25 minutes. Turn the heat down to 375˚F and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the crust is deep golden brown and the juices bubble.
  1. Transfer the pie plate to a wire rack and let cool for at least 4 hours before serving. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream. The pie is best eaten the same day it’s made.

Excerpted with permission from Baking for the Holidays: 50+ Treats for a Festive Season (Chronicle Books, 2021) by Sarah Kieffer. Copyright © 2021 by Sarah Kieffer.


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Pastry at Home is a hub for elevated dessert recipes for home bakers. Our editors Tish Boyle and AnnMarie Mattila strive to bring you the best curated content to help make you a smarter baker and dessert maker. If you want to be a part of our community, please contribute on the Submit a Recipe page. Or if you have another contribution idea or product you think we would like, shoot us an email at [email protected]. We would love to hear from you!

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