Apple Gratin Pie with Walnut Crumble and Dulce de Leche Drizzle

Confession: In my many years of baking at home and eating apple pie at some of New York’s famous pie joints, I’ve never tasted one I didn’t like. Maybe it’s the warm combination of apples, cinnamon goo and a flaky crust. Or maybe—as in this recipe—there’s an ingredient that takes the whole apple pie eating experience to the next level: dulce de leche.

Sure, you don’t have to drizzle this caramel sauce over your still-hot-from-the-oven pie, but I think you’ll agree that every sweet, luxurious drop is worth it. I make my own dulce de leche—first by making dairy-free condensed milk, then cooking it down slowly into dulce de leche. You can also find dairy-free ones on the market these days (like Hey Boo or Date Lady) and, of course, if you can eat dairy, go ahead and use your preferred caramel sauce.

You’ll find my recipe for dairy-free dulce de leche in my new cookbook, 30-Minute Dairy-Free Cookbook: 101 Easy and Delicious Meals for Busy People, which launches in November 2019.

Happy baking!

Apple Gratin Pie with Walnut Crumble and Dulce de Leche Drizzle

Recipe by Silvana NardoneCourse: Dessert


Prep time


Cooking time



The dulce de leche drizzle on top takes this apple pie to the next level.


  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts 

  • 3/4 cup Silvana’s Kitchen Multi-Purpose Flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 6 tablespoons cold shortening (or unsalted butter), cut into pieces

  • 1/4 cup ice water

  • 1/4 cup cold dairy-free (or regular) cream cheese, cut into pieces

  • 1/2 cup Silvana’s Kitchen Multi-Purpose Flour

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 8 tablespoons cold shortening (or unsalted butter), cut into pieces

  • 2 1/2 pounds apples, such as Honeycrisp—peeled, cored and thinly sliced 

  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar 

  • 3 tablespoons Silvana’s Kitchen Multi-Purpose Flour

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice 

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 

  • Dairy-free (or regular) dulce de leche, for drizzling


  • Make the crust: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the walnuts with the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the shortening and cream cheese; pulse to form coarse crumbs, then pulse in the ice water to combine; wrap in plastic wrap and flatten into a disk. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes, or refrigerate for up to 2 days.
  • Make the crumble: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, walnuts and cinnamon. Add the shortening and, using your fingers or a fork, blend together until coarse crumbs form.
  • Make the filling: Preheat the oven to 400º. In a large bowl, toss together the apples, sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt.
  • On a piece of parchment paper, roll out the dough to an 11-inch round, about 1/4-inch thick. Ease into a 9-inch pie plate and fill with the apple filling. Transfer the pie to a baking sheet and scatter over the crumble. 
  • Bake the pie in the center of the oven for 25 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 375º and bake for about 35 minutes longer, until golden and the apples are tender (cover the pie loosely with foil if it begins to get too dark). Let the pie cool slightly and drizzle with dulce de leche.


  1. Could you substitute something else such as honey or maple syrup for the sugars? I try not use refined sugar anymore in my baking. Not good for us!