In the Mark Taylor Series, there are a few instances where Mark is eating or thinking about eating apple pie. So, here's what I think he would consider one of his favorite desserts. Recipe after the excerpt from No Good Deed.
There was nothing to fill his time. He could sleep, but that brought pain. Not the kind inflicted by an interrogation. No, this was worse. It was pain born of loss and frustration. Despite the risk, he still craved the dreams sleep brought. He’d dream of food. Dreams so vivid, he’d wake to find his mouth watering. He’d lie still and try to fall back into the dreams, and sometimes, he succeeded.
It wasn’t just the food, it was the good times and happy memories surrounding the meals. Pancakes dripping with maple syrup at Boy Scout breakfasts. Fried chicken on Sunday afternoon after church. Lazy summer afternoons eating watermelon on the front porch while his mom hung laundry to dry. His dad waving away smoke as he manned the grill while Uncle Larry and Mark played a game of catch on the Fourth of July. The smell of the hot dogs, brats and burgers had tantalized them. Mark swallowed. Afterwards, they’d feast on apple pie topped with homemade ice cream. His mom would smile at him as he tucked into his dessert. It was his favorite and she’d made it especially for him.
The order you make this doesn't really matter. you could make the crust first and let it chill, or make the apple mixture first and set aside. Whatever you want to do.
Heat oven to 350 degrees
2 cups flour
1/4 t. baking powder
1 c. butter (softened)
1 c. confectioner's sugar
Cream butter and powdered sugar together until smooth. Mix flour and baking powder. Add to sugar mixture. Mix until it forms a dough. It will be a little dry looking. That's okay.
Spray 13x9" pan with non-stick spray.
Press about 2/3 of crust into bottom of pan, pressing it with your fingers as evenly as possible. Save the other one third. Set aside.
Apple Filling and Caramel sauce:
5 apples (I used Granny Smith, but you could use any suitable for making pies)
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 t. apple pie spice
1 t. cinnamon
Peel and slice apples. When almost done, start butter melting in heavy sauce pan. (Should have deep sides as caramel will foam up at the end.)
Add apple slices to butter, stir to coat. Add sugars and spices. Let cook for about five minutes or until apples are partially cooked.
Put strainer over a bowl and strain apples. Return liquid to pan, save apples.
Add these additional amounts of butter/sugars:
1/2 c. butter
1/2. c white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
a pinch or so of sea salt or kosher salt can be added.
Allow sugar mixture to come to boil, stirring occasionally. When it is boiling, stop stirring and let bubble for about 2 minutes.
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 c. evaporated milk
Turn off heat after 2 minutes, and carefully add vanilla and evaporated milk. It could splatter so be cautious! Then add baking soda, stirring for a few seconds. Caramel will be light colored and foamy.
Put apples on shortbread crust, take remaining 1/3 crust and dot/sprinkle over apples. Drizzle desired amount of caramel over top and bake for about 30 minutes. (I used a glass pan, so I was able to see the bottom was golden brown--might bake faster in a metal pan.)
I saved some of the caramel to add to slices. It would also be a great topping for ice cream.