In many parts of the country, a reliable sign of fall is the appearance of caramel apples coated in chopped nuts on grocer's shelves. This autumn treat is a perennial favorite with many people, combining the tart juice of the apple with sticky caramel sweetness, and the nuts add a crunchy finish. Turn this classic flavor combination into a crumb-topped pie, and you may never be satisfied with apples on a stick again.
Peel and core four apples, then cut them into thin slices. Use tart baking apples like McIntosh, Greening or Granny Smith.
Unwrap one bag full of caramel squares, about 45 caramels, and place them in a microwave-safe bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of water to the bowl. Heat the contents of the bowl in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each turn. Remove the bowl when the caramel sauce is smooth.
Mix the flour, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Add the butter and mix it with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Stir in the chopped walnuts.
Place a layer of apples in the bottom of the pie crust. Cover the apples with a coating of caramel sauce. Continue layering apples and caramel sauce until they are all used up.
Sprinkle the walnut crumb mixture on top of the apples. Place the pie plate in an oven that has been heated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the pie for about 45 minutes or until the crust has browned and the apples are soft. Allow the pie to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.