Free-Form Apple Pie with Spiced Apple-Caramel Sauce


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

100 Desserts to Die For

100 Desserts to Die For

By Trish Deseine

Published 2020

  • About
25 Mins Preparation Time
1 Hr Refrigeration Time
30 Mins Cooking Time

No need for tins, dishes and all the washing up that goes with them for this recipe! This pie stands alone. The parts hidden under the folded pastry around the edge are nicely stewed and the middle is crusty. Add to this a spiced caramel sauce (from American chef Bobbly Flay) and you have a dessert that is as easy as it is delicious.


For the pastry:

  • 150 g ( oz) lightly salted butter, very cold
  • 250 g (9 oz/1⅔ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 2 tablespoons demerara sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the sauce:

  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) thin (pouring/whipping) cream
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 pinch grated nutmeg
  • 250 g (9 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple liqueur or Calvados
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) apple juice

For the filling:

  • 6–8 large tart cooking apples
  • 3 tablespoons demerara sugar
  • 50 g ( oz) unsalted butter
  • 1 egg, beaten


MAKE THE PASTRY. Work the diced butter, flour and demerara sugar together in a mixing bowl with an electric beater until the mixture is sandy. Add the beaten egg, mix again, then shape the dough into a ball with your hands. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Take it out 15 minutes before you use it.

MEANWHILE, MAKE THE SAUCE. Place the cream with the spices in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Take off the heat and let it infuse for at least 15 minutes. Strain the cream to remove the spices and set aside.

COMBINE THE SUGAR AND 100 ML ( FL OZ) OF WATER IN A HEAVY-BASED SAUCEPAN AND HEAT. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring to the boil and let the syrup bubble until it caramelises. Take off the heat and pour the hot spiced cream into the caramel (be careful of spatter!), stirring with a wooden spoon. Once the sauce is nice and smooth, add the apple liqueur or Calvados and apple juice. Set aside.

PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 180°C (350°F/GAS 4). Peel and dice the apples. Roll out the pastry into a circle. Place it on a baking tray lined with baking paper or a silicone mat.

SPREAD THE DICED APPLE OVER THE DOUGH. Sprinkle the pie with demerara sugar and pieces of butter. Fold over the edges of the pastry. Brush the edges with beaten egg and bake for about 30 minutes, until the pie is golden and the apples are very tender.

TAKE THE PIE OUT OF THE OVEN AND SERVE IT HOT OR JUST WARM WITH THE CARAMEL SAUCE. If you like you can accompany it with vanilla ice cream or crème fraîche.