Elevate your apple pie game with a luscious Mile-High Medjool Date Caramel Apple Pie. Serve this exciting, dressed-up version of the traditional apple pie at your next holiday gathering for a round of eager 'oohs' and 'aahs'. A crisp crust holds a filling of chunky apples enrobed in a creamy Medjool Date caramel sauce. It's mounded high with billows of maple-sweetened whipped cream swirled with more of that gooey caramel. Sheer heaven in every decadent bite.
Thanks to Natural Delights Medjool Dates for sponsoring this post so I could share this fantastic recipe with you and tell you about one of my favourite fruits for snacking, cooking, and baking.
I tell ya - I have to hide the container of Medjool Dates from myself if I want to have enough to make this sensational pie.
Leftover Halloween candy? No problem.
Baking chocolate? Not interested.
Ice cream? I can resist.
But leave a container of sweet, wrinkly, sun-ripened Medjool Dates in the pantry, and I can't stop myself from sneaking in to nibble one or two of those unique little fruits at any opportunity. I tell myself it's okay, because of all the fiber and nutrition in them. But who am I kidding? It's that fantastic caramel flavour and luscious gooey texture that calls me to indulge.
Natural Delights Medjool Dates are actually a fresh fruit, bathed in sunshine as they grow, and packaged straight from nature. They require very specific growing conditions, which are beautifully met in the unique climate and geography in Bard Valley, California, a small region at the intersection of Arizona, California, and Mexico.
These incredibly plump and wrinkly little brown fruits are nutrient-dense, with 16 essential vitamins and minerals. Full of natural sugars and high in dietary fiber, Medjools are a healthy snack that delivers a sweet caramel flavor while providing the sustained energy you need to power through the day. Processed sugars are absorbed into your bloodstream immediately after eating, causing unpleasant sugar spikes and energy crashes. Whereas, the complex carbohydrates found in Medjool Dates are digested at a slower rate, releasing energy to the body over a longer period of time.
Medjool Date Caramel? Yes!
Plus, Natural Delights are just incredibly versatile - a delicious fresh snack and a wonderful ingredient in cooking and baking. And I'll let you in on a little secret - they make the most amazing caramel! You just need to purée the Medjools with hot water to make a lusciously smooth and rich caramel paste. A touch of salt and vanilla round out their natural flavour. This paste is absolutely decadent spread on toast, dolloped on porridge or pancakes, stirred into yogurt, or used to turn a humble apple pie into a sensational special-occasion dessert.
Ta-da!!!! You'll have an absolute showstopper of a pie to serve at your next gathering - and the whole thing is totally refined-sugar-free! (Plus, if you make the gluten-free crust, it's totally gluten-free, too!)
Now that is one beautiful bowl of caramel. You'll be forgiven if you dig in with a spoon. In fact, I suggest you make at least a double batch so you can have some around for enjoying and snacking. And as a bonus, if you need to hide it from yourself 😉, Medjool Date Caramel freezes well, too.
Or if you're into a chocolate version, try this irresistible Chocolate & Medjool Date Spread (it's better than Nutella!) If you're looking for another idea for an extra special company holiday dessert featuring Medjool Dates, this ultra decadent Chocolate Ganache Tart with a Medjool Date & Nut Crust is stunning to look at and has a flavour to match.
A Special Mile-High Medjool Date Caramel Apple Pie
Okay, well, it's not really a mile high. It's not even a kilometer high. But it is higher than a normal apple pie.
Crust: This pie is made in a pre-baked crust, so it stays nice and crisp, and flaky. You can make your own from the recipe below (a really good gluten-free version, too) or save time and purchase a ready-made crust (though check for added sugar).
Caramel: First you make up a batch of that decadent Medjool Date Caramel. Set some aside for the topping and the rest will be used in the filling (see why you should make a double batch?).
Filling: Fresh apples are peeled and diced and cooked until tender. Then they're thickened and folded in with a generous amount of that Medjool Caramel, along with a small dollop of maple syrup to enhance that caramel flavour even more. I've kept the spices to a mere whisper so they can be a supporting cast and let the caramel shine.
Whipped Topping: A generous, billowy layer of gorgeous whipped cream, just lightly sweetened with maple syrup and stabilized with a bit of starch and gelatin to keep it beautifully set and sliceable even the next day (if there are any leftovers).
More Caramel: The crowning glory is swirls upon swirls of that glorious caramel dancing with the whipped cream.
A Medjool Date: And then you have little exclamation points of diced Medjool Date plopping down amidst the caramel swirls.
Make it Ahead
Yes, there are a few different components to this Medjool Date Caramel Apple Pie, but it's worth it for a special occasion. The smiles of pleasure on your guests' faces as they take that first bite will be your reward. The beauty of this pie is that you can make it in stages ahead of time. Bake the crust a few days ahead and keep it loosely covered with plastic wrap. You can make the caramel ahead, too. Then make the filling the day of or add it to the crust the day before. Just make the whipped cream when you are assembling the pie (which can be a day or a few hours before serving). You can even finish making the whole pie the day before your event and keep it refrigerated until it's needed. It just seems to get better with time. The crust stays crisp and the cream doesn't weep. The Medjool Caramel on top stays creamy and soft. It's a definite winner.
Where Can I Get Medjool Dates? You Ask
Natural Delights Medjool Dates are a fresh fruit, never dried. Lucky for us, they are available year-round in the produce section. You can most likely find them in your local grocery store or supermarket right now. (Check here for locations near you.) And while you're there, you might want to pick up a container of one of their Natural Delights Mini Medjools - they're a blend of Medjool Dates and simple ingredients for a wholesome and fulfilling snack (we love the coconut ones).
Tastes Fantastic and It's Refined-Sugar Free, Too
The flavour of this pie is what makes it so memorable. The rich Medjool caramel complements the tart and tender apple pieces (think of a toffee apple). The lightest whiff of spices gives a nod to a traditional apple pie, yet lets that caramel flavour shine. A touch of maple syrup in the filling and cream layer marries wonderfully with the caramel tones. The glorious caramel swirls on top of the cake add a touch of casual elegance, and then the little pops of chewy Medjool Date on top add a hint of whimsy.
With this festive dessert on your holiday table, you'll be pampering your guests with a dessert that says they're worth the special effort, and you'll feel good knowing it's made without any refined sugars - a secret little gift added on to this decadent pie.
Other Apple Recipes to Consider
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Mile-High Medjool Date Caramel Apple Pie
- 1 prebaked 9-inch (23cm) pie crust gluten-free or regular (see Notes below for recipes, if needed)
for the Medjool Date Caramel
- 12 Medjool Dates (220gms) (1 cup when pitted and lightly packed)
- ¾ cup (180ml) hot or boiling water plus a bit more, if needed
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
for the Apple Filling
- 6 cups (800gms) peeled, diced apples, firm crisp variety like gala, honeycrisp, ambrosia or a mix of them about 6 medium apples -2½ lbs whole apples
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- ¾ cup (180ml) unsweetened apple juice, divided
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ cup (32gms) cornstarch
- reserved Medjool Date Caramel from above about ¾ cup (180ml)
For the Mile-High Pie Topping
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
- 1½ cups (360ml) whipping cream 33% milkfat or higher
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ cup (120ml) reserved Medjool Date Caramel (from above)
- 1 large, plump Medjool Date
- Pre-bake the pie crust and let it cool (or use a purchased pie crust). See Notes, below, for recipes if needed.
Make the Medjool Date Caramel
- Pit the Medjool Dates and remove any little stem caps. Put them into a high-speed blender with the salt.
- Add most of the hot water, leaving 1-2 tablespoons in the cup in case it's needed. It will depend on how moist the Medjools are. Cover and blend the dates and water, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender container often. Add a bit of the remaining water at a time if needed. If the Medjools are dry, you may need to add a bit of additional water. Just add enough water so that you can get the paste moving steadily in the blender. Add the vanilla. Blend until the Medjool Date Caramel is smooth and silky. It should be the texture and consistency of thick pudding - soft but spreadable and holding its shape when swirled.
- Makes about 1¼ cups (300ml) of Medjool Date Caramel.
- Scoop out ½ cup (120ml) of the Medjool Date Caramel and set it aside to swirl into the whipped topping when finishing the pie. Scrape the remainder of the caramel (about ¾ cup/180ml) into a bowl or cup - this will be used in the Apple Filling.
Make the Apple Filling
- Peel and dice the apples (½-inch cubes). Put them into a saucepan with the lemon juice, ½ cup (120ml) of the apple juice, and the butter. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook the apples, stirring occasionally, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or they are tender when pierced with a fork.
- Add the maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
- Stir together the remaining ¼ cup (60ml) of apple juice and the cornstarch to make a slurry.
- Add the reserved Medjool Date Caramel (the larger amount) and the cornstarch slurry to the apples. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often until the filling is thickened and bubbling.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then pour the apple filling into the prebaked pie shell and smooth the top. Chill until the filling is cooled to room temperature.
Make the Mile-High Whipped Topping
- Put the water into a microwave safe cup or into a bowl that can go on top of a pot of simmering water. Sprinkle the gelatin powder over the cold water and let it rest for 5 minutes to absorb the water. Then heat the gelatin to dissolve it completely. You can microwave it for about 20-25 seconds, stirring once in between, or you can heat it in the bowl set over the simmering water for a few minutes, until the gelatin crystals are completely dissolved.
- Put the whipping cream and cornstarch into a bowl and whip with electric beaters (or a whisk) until soft peaks form. Whip in the maple syrup, then pour in the liquid gelatin water while beating continuously. Beat until well combined. The gelatin and cornstarch will help stabilize the whipped cream so it slices beautifully on the pie and will keep without getting runny.
- Spread the stabilized whipped cream over the cooled apple filling in the pie.
- Plop spoonfuls of the reserved ½ cup of Medjool Date Caramel over the top of the whipped cream. Use a butter knife or offset spatula to spread it around in attractive swirls with the cream.
- Cut the Medjool Date in half and remove the pit. Cut each date half into 4 lengthwise strips. Then cut the strips into cubes and scatter the pieces evenly over the swirled topping.
- Chill the pie, uncovered, for 2 hours (or up to overnight) to let the whipped cream set, before serving.
- Cut into 8 wedges.
Baked 9-inch Gluten-Free Pie Shell
- 2 tablespoons ground golden flax seeds
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1½ cups (200gms) cup-for-cup gluten-free flour blend (I use this one)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup (115gms) cold lard (or butter), diced
- 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt (or 1 egg yolk)
Baked 9-inch Regular Pie Shell
- 1½ cups (200gms) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup (115gms) cold lard (or butter), diced
- 3-4 tablespoons cold water
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