Caramel Apple Pie

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar
About 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
4 pounds mixed apples, such as Granny Smith and Cripps Pink, peeled and cut into eighths to make 3 qts.
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream

A 2 1/2-in. apple-shaped cookie cutter is nice to have.
Find at globalsugarart.com; $1.99.

Make pastry and chill (see below).

Meanwhile, melt butter with 1 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp. salt in a heavy 5- to 6-qt. pot over
medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until a smoky haze comes from mixture and it turns
deep golden brown, 6 to 9 minutes. Carefully stir apples into caramel (it will bubble and
seize up). Cook, stirring often and reducing heat if needed to maintain a steady simmer,
until apples look mostly translucent and are tender when pierced with a fork (a few will
have fallen apart), about 20 minutes. Transfer apples and caramel to a rimmed baking sheet.
Let cool a bit, then chill until cold.

In a small bowl, whisk egg yolk, cream, and a pinch of salt until well blended. Chill
egg wash airtight up to 1 week.

Unwrap and lightly flour 1 pastry disk, work surface, and rolling pin. Working from
center with short strokes, roll pastry into an even 13-in. round. As you work, lift pastry
using a bench scraper or long metal spatula, and reflour board and pin as needed to keep
it from sticking.

Fold pastry in half and open up into a buttered regular 9-in. pie pan, easing it into
place without stretching. Fill shell with cold apples and caramel; pat into an even mound.
Fold overhanging pastry over apples and trim with scissors to a 1-in. border. Chill scraps
and pie shell.

Roll out second pastry disk the same way as the first to an 11-in. round. Cut shapes
close together with a floured 2 1/2-in. cookie cutter. Transfer to a baking sheet. Gather
and reroll all scraps and cut the same way (you’ll have about 25 cutouts total). Chill
cutouts until firm, 15 minutes.

Brush pie border with egg wash. Lay 10 cutouts in a concentric circle around rim of pie,
barely covering the border and barely overlapping one another; brush with egg wash, so
they adhere to one another. Make a second circle the same way with 5 cutouts, overlapping
the first by about 1/2 in. Set 1 cutout in the center.

Freeze pie and remaining cutouts uncovered until cutouts feel very firm, 20 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350° with racks in center and lower third. Brush pie with egg
wash again and sprinkle with remaining 1 tbsp. sugar.

Bake cutouts on baking sheet until well browned, 20 to 22 minutes. Bake pie until crust
is deeply browned, juices are bubbling, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center
reaches 180°, 1 1/2 hours; after 45 minutes, set a drip pan on rack under pie, and after
about 1 1/4 hours, tent pie with foil. Cool pie on a rack at least 2 1/2 hours. Serve with
extra cutouts for nibbling.

Make ahead: Up to 1 day at room temperature.

Cutout Pastry

3 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/4 cups cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-in. cubes
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream

In a food processor, whirl flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and pulse until
pieces are almond- and pea-size. Sprinkle 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. ice water over
mixture and pulse 3 or 4 times just to distribute.

Dump mixture into a mound on a work surface. Working quickly so butter stays
cold, firmly press dough with heel of hand, pushing dough outward from center.
Scrape dough from work surface using a bench scraper, and toss to redistribute
wet and dry patches. Repeat, pressing on dry patches and tossing to create a
soft dough with no dry spots. Don’t overwork; you should see pieces and streaks
of butter.

Divide into 2 portions and gently press each into a 3/4-in.-thick disk. Wrap
each in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Unwrap and lightly flour first pastry disk, work surface, and rolling pin. If
dough is too firm, let stand about 5 minutes. Working from center with short
strokes, roll pastry into a 12- to 13-in. round that’s an even 1/8 in. thick.
As you work, lift round, using a bench scraper, and reflour board and pin as
needed to keep it from sticking.

Fold round in half and open up into a 9-in. pie pan, easing it into place
without stretching. Trim overhang to 1 in.

Roll out second pastry disk the same way as the first to an 11-in. round.
Cut shapes close together with a floured 2 1/2-in. cookie cutter. Transfer
to a baking sheet. Gather and reroll all scraps and cut the same way (you’ll
have about 25 cutouts total). Chill cutouts until firm, 15 minutes.

Make ahead: Up to 1 month, frozen airtight.