Apple Pie Secrets

Apple Pie Secrets

Do you love apple pie?  Ah, can you imagine the delightful aroma of pies baking, the tender, flaky crust, and sweet spicey filling? There are a few secrets to making a great apple pie. Here you’ll find an old-fashioned apple pie recipe and tips to get you baking the best homemade apple pie ever. Enjoy!

First of all, you need to start with the very best ingredients! Firm, juicy, perfectly ripe apples, plus top quality spices and ingredients. Good apple varieties for pies are Arkansas Black, Braeburn, Cameo, Criterion, Empire, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Gravenstein, Jonagold, Roxbury Russet, Northern Spy, Pippen, Pink Lady, Rhode Island Greening, and York Imperial.

I’m lucky to be able to pick apples in my own backyard, so I freeze sliced apples and can some pie filling while they’re in season. If you don’t have an apple tree look for local growers in your area and apples are always available year round at the supermarket.

 

Pastry – Apple Pie Crust

The secret to a great apple pie starts with the pastry! If you’ve struggled with making pastry in the past be sure to read the tips below the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups/750 mL all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp/2.5 mL salt
  • 1 cup/250 mL lard (or vegetable shortening)
  • 6 to 10 tbsp/90 to 150 mL cold water

Directions: First, combine flour and salt; cut in lard with pastry blender until pieces are the size of small peas. Next, sprinkle in water, 1 tbsp/15 ml at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry clings together pulling away from the side of the bowl.

Now, gather pastry into a ball; shape into flattened round on lightly floured cloth-covered board. Roll from center to edge to about 1/8 inch/3 mm thickness. Roll pastry 2 inches larger than the inverted pie plate. Fold pastry into quarters and ease into pie plate, pressing firmly against bottom and sides. Add the desired filling. Trim overhanging pastry 1 inch/2.5 cm from the rim of the plate. Fold and roll under even with plate. Flute edges. Bake as directed in recipe.

Makes one generous top and bottom crust.

Nutrition Facts: Makes 10 servings.

Nutritional Information Per Serving: Calories 160;
Protein 2 g; Carbohydrates 14 g; Sodium 110 mg;
Fat 10 g; Saturated Fat 3 g; Cholesterol 0 mg and
Dietary Fiber 1 g.

Pastry Making Tips:

  • Try to add as little water as possible for the flakiest crust.
  • Don’t overwork the dough, the less handling the better for a more tender and flaky crust.
  • Don’t try to stretch the dough to fit the pie pan, it will only shrink away from the edge when baked.
  • Some people think butter makes the best homemade pie crust, but lard crusts can save you money and are delicious too.
  • To make sure your lard or butter is very cold while making pastry. If it’s too soft or warm, cut it into small pieces and place in the fridge for about an hour.
  • To keep your water cold while making pie crust, simply keep a glass of ice water close and measure out the water as you need it.
  • While rolling pie dough, be generous with the flour on your rolling pin, rolling surface and on your dough. It will make it easier to work with.
  • If you don’t have quite enough crust to top all your pies, there’s nothing to worry about. Make a design with cut out pieces of dough or roll out the crust as far as it goes and place it on top. It will still look wonderful and taste delicious.
  • Do you have extra pastry? Roll it out, cut it into small shapes, brush with beaten egg or milk, sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar before baking. It’s delicious!
  • An egg wash glaze is the secret to a beautiful golden crust.
  • You can make pastry dough ahead, flatten into a 5-inch disk, wrap well in plastic, and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
  • For a baked pie shell: Prick bottom and sides of pastry thoroughly with a fork. Bake at 450 F/235 C for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

 

Old Fashioned Apple Pie

My Mother was an amazing pie baker and she learned if all from her Mother. Here’s an old-fashioned pie recipe just like Grandma used to make!

Ingredients:

  • Pastry for 2-crust 9-inch/23-cm pie (recipe above)
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup/160 to 180 mL sugar, depending on tartness of apples
  • 2 tbsp/30 mL all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp/25 mL Watkins Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp/5 mL Ground Cloves
  • 1/4 tsp/5 mL Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp/5 mL Watkins Original Double Strength Vanilla Extract
  • 7 cups/1.75 liters thinly sliced, peeled and cored apples
  • 1 tbsp/15 mL butter
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1-1/2 tsp/7.5 mL sugar
  • Pinch of Watkins Cinnamon

Directions: Prepare and roll out pastry. Place one crust in 9-inch/23-cm pie plate; set aside. In a small bowl, combine sugar and next three ingredients; mix well. Place half of the apples in pie crust; sprinkle with half of the sugar mixture. Top with rest of apples and sugar mixture. Dot filling with butter. Cut out apple or leaf designs in remaining crust and place over pie. Trim and flute edges. Brush top crust with beaten egg and sprinkle with a combination of remaining sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 400 degrees F/205 degrees C for 40 to 50 minutes or until crust is golden and apples are tender and juicy. Cover top and edges with foil if pie starts to become too brown.

Makes 10 servings.

Old Fashioned Apple Pie

Ingredients

  • 3 cups/750 mL all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp/2.5 mL salt
  • 1 cup/250 mL lard
  • 6 to 10 tbsp/90 to 150 mL cold water
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup/160 to 180 mL sugar, depending on tartness of apples
  • 2 tbsp/30 mL all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp/25 mL Watkins Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp/5 mL ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp/5 mL nutmeg
  • 1 tsp/5 mL Watkins Baking Vanilla
  • 7 cups/1.75 liters thinly sliced, peeled and cored apples
  • 1 tbsp/15 mL butter
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1-1/2 tsp/7.5 mL sugar
  • Pinch of Watkins Cinnamon

Directions

    Prepare pastry.
  1. Combine flour and salt; cut in lard with pastry blender until pieces are the size of small peas.
  2. Sprinkle in water, 1 tbsp/15 ml at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry clings together pulling away from the side of the bowl.
  3. Gather pastry into two balls; shape each into a flattened round on lightly floured cloth-covered board.
  4. Roll pastry from center to edge until it's about 1/8 inch/3 mm thickness.
  5. Roll bottom pastry about 2 inches larger than the inverted pie plate.
  6. Fold pastry into quarters and ease into pie plate, pressing firmly against bottom and sides.
  7. Set aside while you prepare apple filling.
  8. Prepare filling.
  9. In small bowl, combine sugar and next three ingredients; mix well.
  10. Place half of prepared apples in pie crust; sprinkle with half of sugar mixture.
  11. Top with rest of apples and sugar mixture. Dot filling with butter.
  12. Cut out apple or leaf designs or slits in remaining crust and place over pie.
  13. Trim and flute edges.
  14. Brush top crust with beaten egg and sprinkle with a combination of remaining sugar and cinnamon if desired.
  15. Bake at 400 degrees F/205 degrees C for 40 to 50 minutes or until crust is golden and apples are tender and juicy.
  16. Cover top and edges with foil if pie starts to become too brown.
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More Apple Pie Recipes

There are many apple pie recipes and everyone has their own favorite version so here are few more you might like to try.

How To Make and Freeze Fresh Apples For Pie

Apples freeze quite well so if you have an abundance of apples here’s how to make them ready to freeze for pies!

You’ll need:

  • Large zip top freezer bags
  • A sharp paring knife
  • Pie pans
  • An apple peeler, corer, slicer – this is optional but makes the work go much faster if you have a lot of apples to prepare.

This is my favorite method as it’s quick and easy. If you work fast and freeze each bag right away the apples won’t have a chance to turn brown.

Peel apples, quarter and core, or use the handy peeler mentioned above to prepare. Place prepared apples in a large zip-top bag, press out excess air before sealing, lay the bag in the pie pan, shape apples to fit the pan and place in the freezer. Once apples are frozen, you can remove the pan.

To bake a pie, prepare crust of your choice, line pie pan then add frozen apples, sugar, spices etc according to the recipe you are following. Cover with top pastry and bake. You’ll need to allow a little extra baking time when using frozen apples.

How To Keep Sliced Apples From Turning Brown.

I’ve been asked, “How do you keep sliced apples from becoming brown?” There are several methods that will prevent apples from turning brown after they are peeled and sliced. Try these!

If you are only making one pie make the pastry first, roll it out and have the pastry-lined pie plate ready before you start preparing the apples. Fill the pastry will the apple filling. Then apply the top and bake. This is the work fast method!

One of the most common methods to stop prepared apples from going brown is to squeeze a little fresh or bottled lemon juice on the apple pieces. Another method is to place the apple pieces in water that has had lemon juice added to it. Use about 1/4 cup lemon juice to 1 quart of cold water.

Ascorbic acid can also be added to water to create an anti-browning solution. Directions will be on the container. Or try adding one crushed vitamin C tablet to a quart of water.

As a last resort, you can mix 1 teaspoon of salt in one quart of water and drop prepared apples in it.

When placing apples in a water bath, do not soak them for a long time because they can become soggy. Drain well and pat dry before using.

Why do apples go brown? When fresh apples are peeled or cut open, the apple’s cells are exposed to and react with the oxygen in the air. This reaction is called oxidation and is what turns the apple brown. The smaller the pieces the more surface area is exposed to browning.

So now you know the secrets to the best apple pie. Do you like to eat your apple pie a la mode with ice cream, with a dollop of whipped cream, with a slice of cheddar cheese or do you prefer plain apple pie?

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