Photograph: Alexus McLane

paula haney’s caramel apple cider pie

2 cups apple cider
cups plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
½ cup sour cream
1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp. Calvados (available at Binny’s)
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla paste
1 baked pie shell, at room temperature
½ cup heavy cream, at room temperature

1 Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour apple cider into a 1-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the cider is reduced to ½ cup (this can take anywhere from 10 minutes to a half hour, depending on your pan). Set aside to cool completely.

2 While the cider is cooling, make the custard filling. Place 1 cup sugar, sour cream, and ½ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk until just combined. Whisk the eggs into the sugar mixture in three additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir the Calvados, vinegar, and vanilla paste into the reduced cider. Pour the cider mixture into the egg mixture and whisk until well combined.

3 Place pie shell on a baking sheet. Pour batter into the shell and bake until filling is slightly puffed, 40 to 45 minutes. Gently shake the pie. The custard should move as one piece. If the center of the pie jiggles by itself, return the pie to the oven for 5 to 10 more minutes. The top of the pie will be shiny when it is set. (It will deflate some as it cools.) Let cool completely, or chill overnight and bring to room temperature the next day before completing the following steps.

4 Make the caramel. Fill a medium heatproof bowl a quarter of the way up with ice water. Set aside. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium heatproof bowl. Set aside. Place the remaining sugar in a 1-quart heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, without stirring, until the sugar melts around the edge of the saucepan, 3 to 6 minutes. (Keep your eye on the pan constantly to make sure sugar doesn’t burn.) Gently stir, then turn heat down to medium. Continue to cook until a puddle of melted sugar appears in the middle of the pan, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir until the sugar is completely melted and turns a medium amber color.

5 Turn the heat down to low. Pour about 2 tablespoons of heavy cream into the melted sugar, stirring constantly. Be careful, as the sugar will steam and sputter. Add the rest of the cream in 4 to 5 additions, whisking constantly. The mixture will appear ropy at first, then form a thick sauce. Remove from the heat. To stop the cooking, dip the bottom of the saucepan into the bowl of ice water, making sure not to let any water spill into the caramel. Remove the pot from the water, then add the remaining salt and whisk until it dissolves. Pour caramel through the strainer into the heatproof bowl. Place bottom of bowl in the bowl of ice water and whisk occasionally until caramel is cooled to room temperature.

6 Pour ¼ cup of the caramel over the top of the pie. Spread the caramel to the edge of the crust with a small spatula. (Reserve remaining caramel for another use.) Chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before slicing.