Apple Cider Caramel Is the Fall Dessert Hack I Can't Live Without

Erin McDowell taught me how to turn apple cider into caramel and I am forever changed.

October 29, 2019
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This month, we're showing off some of the coolest recipes, tips and tricks we've learned from chefs in the all-new Food Network Kitchen app. Download it now to take advantage of a 90-day free trial and get this recipe, plus so much more — like 25+ live classes a week, hundreds of on-demand cooking classes, and in-app grocery ordering.


I’ve always been an emotional eater. Not in the going-through-a-break-up-eating-a-whole-carton-of-ice-cream way (although, I've done that too) — but in the sense that a truly amazing meal or dish makes me emotional.

That’s what happened the first time I watched Erin McDowell’s Caramel-Cider Apple Pie class on the Food Network Kitchen app. The pie looked so delicious, I cried. At my desk. Not kidding.

Frankly, at the Thanksgiving dessert table — really, any dessert table — apple pie is not my slice of choice. I’m a lemon meringue girl to my core. But this particular apple pie made me question my loyalty to lemon for one reason: Apple. Cider. Caramel.

I had to try this made-for-fall caramel, so my boyfriend and I went apple picking just for the occasion. Thirty pounds of apples and a couple quarts of apple cider later, it was time to make the caramel.

I poured the cider into a saucepan, turned on the burner and let it simmer. Patience is the key here. At first, I wasn’t sure this was going to actually happen. The cider seemed watery and although I was stirring every 15 minutes, I worried it might never come together. Listen to me — trust the process. After awhile, the cider will thicken up and look just like caramel. Add a couple final ingrdients and voila! You have the easiest, fall-flavored caramel ever and all you had to do was wait.

This caramel is tart, buttery and just a little sweet all at the same time. It’s like fall on a spoon. Which brings me to the actual pie.

While many apple pies taste like a combination of brown sugar and cinnamon with a hint of apple thrown in there, this pie tastes like apples first and everything else second. I’m convinced the cider-caramel is the secret. It truly brings out the tartness of the apples and enchances their flavor. Bottom line: This is the most apple-y apple pie ever.

Just make sure you wait to slice this pie after it has cooled completely. I’ve made this recipe a few times this fall (remember those 30 pounds of apples?) and the addition of cider-caramel makes the filling extra runny. You’ll want to wait until it’s completely cooled to get a clean, full slice with all the caramel goodness.

If you want to make Erin McDowell’s Cider-Caramel Apple Pie (or just make the caramel — seriously, I would pour it over every dessert!), you can find it on the all-new Food Network Kitchen app — sign up and right now you'll get a 90-day free trial. You’ll be able to drop in to Erin’s class and learn all about apple cider-caramel (plus how to make the flakiest butter pie crust) — and so much more.

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