Bourbon Caramel Apple Pie

Bourbon Caramel Apple Pie with Toasted Pecan Crumble has everything I love in an apple pie…plus bourbon!

Slice of Bourbon Caramel Apple Pie with Pecan Crumble with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Bourbon Caramel Apple Pie with Toasted Pecan Crumble is truly comfort food isn’t it? Apples are sauteed and mixed with a combination of sugar, butter, and cinnamon…not to mention the richness of Bourbon and I’m in trouble!

Add to those ingredients a flaky crust and apples and it’s sort of a fall, fruit flavor combination I could not resist…in May! There is a reason for my madness though and truth be told, after getting rave reviews I wonder why I limit my apple pie baking to the fall anyway.

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A friend gave me a copy of the book, ‘The Pastry Queen: Royally Good Recipes from the Texas Hill Country’s Rather Sweet Bakery & Cafe‘ and this recipe was so up my alley. The author called for Southern Comfort which I don’t keep on hand but I knew I could modify that ingredient so decided this was the pie I had to make.

So I did and then I posted it on this blog. TEN YEARS AGO! The post was so old that I had actually put it back into drafts so that I could get the pie made again and republish it with new photos. Better photos. I mean MUCH better. I pretty much had no idea what I was doing with a camera 10 years ago and it showed!

But why now? Well, in a nutshell, I got a phone call from the nicest young man in North Carolina, wondering what had happened to the recipe. He had insisted his dad try it but it was nowhere to be found. You can imagine my surprise.

A ten year old recipe with lousy photos was missed? So I found it for him, made it live again and then set out to right the wrong of those awful photos. Thanks Adam; I and my neighbors thank you for being the catalyst for enjoying this pie in the middle of May!

I made two pies, one for a neighbor’s birthday and one to share with the rest of the neighbors. They all assured me that a Bourbon Caramel Apple Pie ala Mode was not seasonal; that is was perfect year round. They might be on to something…I loved it too and well, ice cream helped.

Bourbon Caramel Apple Pie with Pecan Crumble in a Metal Pie Plate with One Slice Missing

This is unique in that the apples are precooked a bit in the sugar and spice mixture, removed after just a couple of minutes of cooking and the remaining sugar and liquids are cooked down to create a caramel type mixture (called caramel but not really the flavor of caramel in my book). The apples are then mixed back in with the liquid before being put into the butter pie crust and topped with a toasted pecan mixture. Sounds good, huh?

As to that Southern Comfort? First…did you know it’s actually considered a liqueur? Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey would be more similar than using a bourbon but SoCo is still loved by many; it’s just never been by me…so I had to reboot a bit.

I had both Seagram’s 7 and Maker’s Mark on hand. Seagram’s 7 is a blended whiskey and Maker’s Mark a Kentucky Bourbon that’s in my liquor cabinet for cocktails so I went the Seagram’s route. Use whatever you prefer, bourbon or whiskey; the brand is not important, even SoCo is not important. 🙂

I also added a bit of nutmeg to the original recipe from the book by Rebecca Rather…I just can not help doing something other than what a recipe calls for! Some browning of the butter and my caramel has a unique taste that is lucky if it gets into the pie, I could literally eat it with a spoon! But I didn’t, promise.

Closeup of Bourbon Caramel Apple Pie with Pecan Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream

I remember the first time I made this pie and couldn’t wait to try it. I needed a dessert for a small dinner for some neighbors and was anticipating a grand finish…it did not disappoint. It had been awhile, too long actually, and the anticipation was as great this time around. Honestly…this is an amazing pie!

One thing you might notice if you look closely at the photo above? I never peel my apples. Such a time consuming waste if you ask me. The peels soften so much that I think unless you know they weren’t peeled you might not even notice. I also used my new electric food slicer on the apples. I see even more apple pies in my future, it made that job SO easy. I’m still having fun with it.

When I originally made this pie, I made my favorite homemade crust using lard. It is truly spectacular. However I’m down to my last piece of frozen lard and needed enough crusts for two pies so I went the quick and easy route and used the Pillsbury pie crusts that you unroll and put into your own pie pan. Yes, sometimes I do love convenience foods too!

This is one of the old photos I’ll keep. I love that red handled rolling pin. I can’t tell you it’s the best ever (even if I think it is!), or ergonomically perfect but what I can tell you is that it was my Grandma’s. She died almost 30 years ago at the age of 94 and that was her original rolling pin; it could be close to 100 years old!

Nothing quite makes pie making more fun than thinking of her; she was the absolute best. Still miss you Grandma! Do you have a kitchen tool or utensil that has special meaning to you?

I hope you try this pie in spring or summer but once you do I’ll bet you’ll want it for your holiday table too!

PIN IT! ‘Bourbon Caramel Apple Pie with Toasted Pecan Crumble’

Bourbon Caramel Apple Pie with Pecan Crumble Ala Mode Served on a White Plate
Closeup of Bourbon Caramel Apple Pie with Pecan Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream

Bourbon Caramel Apple Pie with Toasted Pecan Crumble

Creative Culinary
An amazing apple pie with the flavors of bourbon and toasted pecans.
4.32 from 50 or more votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Desserts
Cuisine American
Servings 1 large pie
Calories 645 kcal


For the Pie Crust

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • cup 11 Tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 4 to 5 Tablespoons ice water So dry here in Denver, I’ve used more…just enough for it to hold together

For the Topping

  • ½ cup pecans toasted and coarsely chopped
  • cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons dark brown sugar packed
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • cup 5 1/3 Tablespoons chilled unsalted butter cut into small pieces

For the Filling

  • 5 to 6 medium-size tart apples such as Braeburn, Cortland or Winesap
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 & 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup Seagram’s 7 Southern Comfort or your favorite bourbon
  • ½ cup half and half or heavy cream half and half will require a bit more time to cook down to sauce

Garnishes (optional)

  • Vanilla or cinnamon ice cream
  • Whipped cream
  • Caramel sauce


To Make the Crust

  • Pulse the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Add 4 tablespoons ice water and pulse until the dough begins to form a ball. Add an additional 1 tablespoon water of water at a time until it does. Form the dough into a disk,; wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

To Make the Topping

  • In a food processor, process the sugars, the cinnamon, salt and flour for about 1 minute. Add butter; pulse 10 to 15 times, until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the pecans. Refrigerate the topping, covered, in a a medium bowl until ready to use.

To Make the Filling

  • Peel, core and cut the apples into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
  • Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter starts to foam, allow it to cook until it starts to turn a warm brown color; watch very carefully!
  • Add the apples and sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Combine the cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle it on the apples, and reduce the heat under the skillet to medium-low. Simmer the apples for about 1 minute.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apples from the skillet to a large baking sheet and arrange them in a single layer. This will keep them from getting soggy.
  • Pour the bourbon into the butter-sugar mixture in the skillet. Simmer the mixture over medium heat at least 5 minutes, until the alcohol burns off. Add the cream, and continue cooking about 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture is thick as pourable caramel. Allow to cool while preparing crust.

Putting it all together…

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Transfer the pie dough to a lightly sugared flat surface (I use powdered sugar in lieu of flour when making pie crusts for a sweet dish).
  • Roll it into a 1/8-inch-thick circle large enough to cover the bottom and sides of a 10-inch deep-dish pie plate. (To keep the dough from sticking, gently pick it up every once in a while and rotate it in place, adding more powdered sugar underneath if necessary.)
  • Wrap the dough lightly over the rolling pin, and set it in the un-greased pie plate. Press it into place, and crimp the outside edges with your finger or a fork.
  • Spread the apples evenly onto the crust; pour the filling over the apples and then sprinkle the topping evenly over the top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the topping is brown. Serve the pie warm or at room temperature with ice cream, whipped cream and/or caramel sauce.


Nutrition Facts
Bourbon Caramel Apple Pie with Toasted Pecan Crumble
Serving Size
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword caramel, apple, pie
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  1. I don’t have a comment as of yet, how can one comment on something they have not even tried. I’m going to bake this pie for Christmas, I’ll give a comment after we eat the pie, promise.
    I do have a question, I don’t experiment with or try to tweak what has been given in the instructions.
    Is the amount of cinnamon in the filling correct at 3 tablespoons?
    Thank you for your response.

    1. The amount is right BUT I just made this for Thanksgiving and it seemed a bit much for me too; thanks for the reminder. I’m going to revise that amount. I love the cinnamon flavor but 2nd time I’ve made the pie I think I would love less cinnamon. I’m going to go revise it now so a printed copy will reflect that change.

  2. I had no idea Southern Comfort was classified as a liqueur! Figures, though — it’s so sweet. Or I think it is — I haven’t had it for ages (decades!) so I’m not remembering the flavor that accurately. I do remember the flavor of Maker’s Mark. That used to be my bourbon of choice back in the days when I’d have a bourbon on the rocks. Have never tried it in a cocktail — I should pick up a bottle. And also use it in this pie! Really. Good. Stuff. Thanks!

    1. I didn’t know that either John! It’s actually not something I can ever recall buying either and luckily this pie is fine with bourbon…I know, I tested it. A lot. 🙂

  3. I made this pie and am about to assemble it but confused about the Bourbon sauce. Did I just make it to pour over the top? Does any of it go in with the apples? The sauce doesnt taste anything like caramel….help!

    1. I read the comment below like mine and i didnt read in the instructions where it said to add the apples to the bourbon sauce..

  4. Oh my word…………….I want! right now, at midnight I need a slice of this pie!! Looks superb. Happy Thanksgiving Barbara! Hugs from Cape Town xx

    1. Oops…new recipe format and we lost something in translation! All fixed now; thanks for the heads up Sarah.

  5. The rolling pin 🙂 I still have Nanny’s…it only has one handle though, but she made it work. Your pin is beautiful.

    1. it is absolutely one of my most precious treasures. And it works perfectly! I love that I am reminded of my Grandma so often and that she is with me in the kitchen each and every time I use that rolling pin.

  6. This looks yummy! However I’m confused: your preamble implies that the caramel sauce is added with the apples into the pie before baking; however your instructions do not specify ever combining the caramel sauce with the apples as part of the filling- only that caramel could be used to top it post-baking. So, do you add the sauce to the pie before baking? How much? ALL? Without blind baking the crust it seems like a great deal of liquid that would result in soggy pie.

    1. I’ve served the pie with some caramel sauce but the caramel in the title is reflective of the fact that the liquid created from the butter, sugar, bourbon and pre-cooking the apples becomes like a caramel sauce; you cook the apples in those ingredients for just a bit, remove them and then cook down the sauce til it gets thick and caramel like before adding the apples back in and baking the pie.

      I didn’t blind bake the crust though I had considered it; cooking off a lot of the moisture on the stovetop apparently does circumvent that need but if you felt more comfortable, go ahead and blind bake for a few minutes prior to filling, just make sure to protect your outer crust if it starts to brown too much before the filling is ready.

      1. Ok this is whats confusing. Here you say to add the apples into the sauce before baking…all of it? My sauce is gooey from the apple pectin…weird consistancy.

  7. This pie looks delicious! Is there any way to substitute the alcohol in the recipe with something else and it would still taste good?

    1. How about using apple juice and cooking it down with the sugars for a similar result. It would taste a bit different but would be a better alternative than just using water for the syrup. If you try that, let me know how it turns out. The alcohol is subtle as the actual alcohol cooks off so I’m sure this pie will still be wonderful without that element.

  8. Just WOW. I don’t usually like apple pie because it’s so boring, but this is anything but! We don’t have a huge group for Thanksgiving so it’s hard for me to zero in on just 1-2 desserts, but believe me: this is at the top of my list right now!

  9. I bookmarked this baby wayyy back at the beginning of October, and I can’t believe I’ve let an entire month pass by before making it! Today we had our first snow, and I’m sifting through all of my bookmarked recipes in order to celebrate. This might just be the one! Thanks!!

    1. Thanks Sophia.

      You actually simmer the sauce long enough to actually cook off the alcohol so it’s surprisingly not as pronounced as I had expected…but also better than I had expected.

  10. I’m getting woozy from your boozy picture! This is so delicious looking and smelling, I wish I had better luck with pies (I have a pie brown thumb!). My favorite old thing I have is my mom’s first cookbook, “Economy In Cooking”, 1934. It’s just fun to have.

    1. Thank you and it was truly SO good; am excited to make for holiday guests. That rolling pin is so special, mostly cause the vultures got so much I was lucky. She gifted to me before she was put in a home. Got the rolling pin and a beautiful platter and gravy boat. I love how she is still in attendance in my kitchen and during special occasion dinners.

  11. Don’t mind if I do! This pie reminds me of the fall, and with this rain- I could definitely use a few slices!

    And I absolutely love that rolling pin (no, it’s not just you!)- I feel like most antique baking equipment work better than the new stuff that we get in stores nowadays. I have an 80-something year-old rolling pin from my Dad’s grandmother, and I use it whenever I can.

    Great post!

    1. Thank you and true. I have a 25 yr old KitchenAid mixer…that’s an antique right? Dread it ever going because I know they just do not makes things to last like companies once did.

    1. The truth is I’ve used packaged refrigerated pie dough for years and only in the past two years have I started doing my own. When it works…it’s amazing and the only tip I can give anyone is this…keep everything VERY cold and handle as little as possible. Cold butter, cold water, cold dough…all your friends!

  12. Oh my….. this pie has it all – ALL my favorite flavors – I can almost taste it… which means of course, as soon as it cools down I am going to have to make this!!!!

    As soon as I saw the rolling pin I also knew there were stories involved. Hmmm… probably my favorite “hand me down” is a beat up set of small cookie cutters that my grandmother used to cut her shortbread. To this day I still haven’t mastered her shortbread – it is one of my projects for the cooler months!

  13. The pie looks delicious. The rolling pin. When I first spotted it I knew there had to be many stories attached to it and the meals it produced. I was right. How fortunate that you have it and are continuing the legacy of providing good food for those you love.

    My ‘utensil’ is a hand made bread board that was made by my paternal grandfather for my grandma. It by passed my mom completely and came directly to me upon her death. I’m not sure who will claim it after me, but I know it will carry with it many stories and memories of those who came before. That one reason I love cooking so much.

    I look forward to reading more of your stories!

  14. I’m a caramel fan also, and will take it over chocolate if given the choice. Beautiful pie Barb. You got those little dents around the crust so perfect! How did you do that? 🙂 And then topped with ice cream. Yum.

    1. It’s how my Grandma taught me! I trim the pie evenly around the edge of the pie plate and then moving around the outer edge, I place my thumb and index finger of my left hand on the inside edge and press between them with my thumb on my right hand on the outer edge. I think. It’s just one of those things I’ve done for so long that I really had to think of how I did it!

      This video shows a similar manner; I don’t always fold over the dough; sometimes makes the crust just too doughy for me. But this has a couple of different methods I’ve never used so might have to try them too! Or do a video.

  15. Some of those old tools are still the best! I love finding them in antique shops. It’s neat you still have your Grandmom’s.

    I swear I would drive all the way to Colorado for this pie! I bet you can’t get an apple pie that is any tastier than this! I can smell it now…caramel and all! My mom used to drink Seagram’s 7…that sure brings back memories! I am a Maker’s Mark girl myself when bourbon is on the drink menu! 🙂

  16. WOW. I have pie envy. I’m going to start my Thanksgiving experiments soon, so I’ll have to give this one a whirl.

    Side note: I’ve been to Rebecca Rather’s bakery (Rather Sweet) in Fredericksburg, TX. Her food is phenomenal!

    1. Though I’ve been putting recipes online FOREVER; they were for me, friends and family so I was caught a bit unawares at providing recipes for the holidays on this blog. Learned my lesson!

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