Apple Pie Secrets Revealed!

Recipe!  And apple pie secrets!! 

Who doesn't swoon over the heady fragrance of an apple pie baking in the oven?

And since we are right in the middle of apple season (in the Northern hemisphere),  what better way is there to welcome fall than by baking an apple pie! 

Making the filling is very easy - remove the skin and core, slice thinly, stir together with a few simple ingredients, place the mixture in a pie shell and bake!  If you haven't yet learned to make pie crust, there are  ready-made pie crusts on your supermarket shelves.

You will find my simple filling recipe at the end of the post.   Making a good, flakey pie crust is a bit more complicated - I'll save pie crust technique for another post - perhaps the spring. 

My purpose here is to get you started making pies! So, if you have never made a pie before, make this simple filling and put it in a ready-made crust. 

Whether you already are a pie baker or not YET a pie baker,  check out my "Apple Pie Secrets"!

Secret #1.    7 apples are usually needed to make an apple pie.  When you are shopping for your apples, select one each of seven different varieties.

(I know!  my photo only shows one variety!  These are from the very old tree still living on our property - just showing off!)

If you have ever had the chance to go to an "apple tasting", you already know that every single apple variety has a different and distinct taste all it's own. Blending several different varieties in one pie will result in the most delicious apple pie you have ever tasted

We have a favorite apple farm we go to every year and usually come home with at least three or four each of 14 different varieties!  Secret #5 reveals what I do with them all!

Secret # 2. Slice your apples very thin so they will get nice and soft during baking.

For slicing, a food processor or a mandolin makes the job much easier. I use the thin slicing disk in my "vintage" Oster Regency Kitchen Center.  Sadly the Kitchen Center is no longer manufactured, but if you find one on e-bay or an estate sale, buy it! 

Secret # 3.  Most recipes call for sugar, flour and cinnamon.  Add a couple grates of nutmeg

Secret # 4. Sprinkle a little sugar over the top crust of your pie before baking. I actually first started doing this on my blueberry pies and found it really enhances apple pies.

Secret # 5. Freeze your pie filling right in the pie plate!

Don't delay! Apples are at their peak!  Peel and slice enough apples for 2 or 3 pies. (I usually need to make 5 or 6 pies with all those apples I can't resist beinging home from the farm!)

In a huge mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg with the apples.

Line the pie plates with two layers of plastic wrap.  Use peices of plastic wrap long enough to line the bottom and fold over the top of the pie. Divide your apple mixture evenly among the lined pie plates. Bring the ends of the plastic up over the top to seal and pop pie plate and filling into the freezer.  Freeze until completely frozen.  I usually leave mine over night.

Remove the frozen, wrapped pie filling from the pie plate and over-wrap in two layers of foil.  Mark the top with the year and the pie plate you used when you froze the pie!  (I have white Corning pie plates, metal pie plates and a 10" glass plate, so it is important for me to know which pie plate to use for each package of frozen pie filling.)

When you are in the mood for a lovely, freshly baked apple pie on a cold , dark afternoon in February, or have guests coming for dinner during the busiest days of the holiday season, take a frozen pie filling out of the freezer, unwrap and place, still frozen, right into your prepared crust.  Scatter a couple pats of butter cut into tiny pieces over the surface, put on the top crust, make a few slits for the steam to escape, sprinkle with sugar, and bake!

Bake at 400 degrees for about an hour, using a pie shield to protect the edges from browning too much during baking.  When you can see your filling bubbling up through the center slits, your pie is done.

Notes: 

Frozen pie fillings will last at least a year in the freezer.

In my experience  this technique works BEST on apple pie.  Other types of pies either don't "set-up" into a frozen block, or they "set-up" too well, becoming a solid block of ice and bake unevenly.

Not a secret but a good idea! Peels and cores apples like magic!

Recipe:

Apple pie used to be simple, but now days -  apple pie can be crunchy, upside-down, carmelized, creamy, nutty, fruity, even crustless!  All manner of additions can be found - cranberries, bourbon, nuts, maple syrup....

I prefer to keep it simple so the flavor of all those blended varieties shines through! 

I like my apple pie sweet and soft and juicy!  If you prefer yours tart and crunchy, this is not the recipe for you!

Apple Pie Filling:

7 apples of different varieties - some tart and some sweet. (Delicious apples are not a good choice for pie

1 cup sugar (I use Splenda in Diane's Pie!)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

a few grates of freshly ground nutmeg (grater and nut meg pods here!)

2 tablespoons flour

2 "pats" (tablespoons) butter. (Slice off a couple tablespoons using the marks on the paper wrapper. Be sure your butter is cold.)

To assemble filling and pie:

Peel, core and thinly slice the apples. Whisk the sugar and spices with the flour, add to the apples and stir thoroughly.

Let sit while you are making your crust.  If you are using a ready made crust, let the filling mixture sit 10 minutes.

Place your apple mixture in a pastry lined pie plate. 

Scatter the butter pieces over the top of the apple filling.

Cover with the top crust.  Seal the edges with pretty crimping or a fork pressed gently into the pastry around the rim.

Using a sharp knife, make a few slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape during baking.

Sprinkle the rop crust with a little sugar.  Trust me!  You won't believe the difference it makes!

Bake in a 400 degree oven for about an hour and let cool.

You know what to do next - right?
 

A perfect idea for the

A perfect idea for the restaurant - freeze the filling. With the heat we experience at this time of the year cold apple pie and ice cream is popular but we go through periods of finding apples or not finding apples and so this affects the quantities of pie - now that no longer has to happen - brilliant thank you.

Thank you Sheleen!  I am glad

Thank you Sheleen!  I am glad to hear you are going to give it a try!  I am sure you will be pleased with the results.  And sometime try adding a few cranberries!  They add such a nice touch!

At the orchard where I'm

At the orchard where I'm working this fall, we sell a peck of Pie Mix apples. It's usually 4 different varieties that are great for pies, crisp, applesauce or apple butter.

And now I'm thinking I need a slice of apple pie to go along with the piece of pumpkin pie! :)

Sorry if this post showed up twice... my connection seems to be playing tricks on me.

Pam, what a fantastic post

Pam, what a fantastic post (as usual.) Freezing the filler is a brilliant idea. Thanks for the inspiration, time to get baking!

Now I want pie... Yours looks

Now I want pie... Yours looks delicious!

ha! you're a genius. Freeze

ha! you're a genius. Freeze the filling! I will spare you the horror of describing Aus pis pastry...shudder.

I can't believe I've never

I can't believe I've never tried nutmeg! I usually make a pie a week around this time of year. My next apple pie is soo going to be nutmeged. Thanks for the great idea!

your pie looks gorgeous!!!!

your pie looks gorgeous!!!! yum!

Pam, you must have been

Pam, you must have been reading my mind! I was just googling today for apple pie and apple galette recipes. Have you seen this one? http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/11/simplest-apple-tart/ Beautiful photos. I think I read that her husband is a photographer.

I am the world's worst pastry maker. Truly! My pie crusts have the texture of sheet metal unless I use a food processor. I noticed that you recommend pre-made pie crusts but at the moment my local stores (in Israel) seem to carry only graham cracker crusts, a bit sweet for apple pie. I end up having to use twice as much water as any recipe calls for or else the dough collapses into dry crumbs. I'll just keep trying!

Thank you Avital!  I didn't

Thank you Avital!  I didn't have this recipe from one of my favorite on-line cooks!  Making this kind of tart is high on my list of "to-do".   Although, for a tart like this, I would make an apple/cranberry filling.

I had difficulty sometimes with pie crust when I lived in Phoenix - perhaps dry climate is a culprit!

Pre-made pie crusts - I don't really recommend them.  But if making pie crust is the only thing standing in someone's way between making a pie or not making a pie - use the pre-made!  I am a total "from scratch cook" myself and have never used one - they are simply a substitution for those who havent learned to make crust YET!

I'll put together a tutorial in January!  Until then, my recipe for pie crust is hidden in this post! http://gingerbreadsnowflakes.com/node/90

So clever, I would've never

So clever, I would've never have thought to freeze the filling! It's too bad that you haven't had success with other fruits on that one. I'd so love to have a stack of different pie fillings in my freezer all winter, ha!

Me too Sarah - a stack of

Me too Sarah - a stack of different pie fillings in the freezer!  And I did - until I discovered that not all frozen pie fillings are created equal!  Blueberry and huckleberry don't have enough moisture to freeze into a single "block" of filling.  Strawberry, peach and cherry all had too much moisture and took forever to defrost in the oven.  So far, apple works the best - but I'm not complaining!

Yay, all the secrets in one

Yay, all the secrets in one convenient location! :) My husband is our apple pie maker. His secret is slicing the apples with the slicer side on our cheese grater (like a mandolin, I guess). He also heaps the apples WAY up as high as he can. Also, I love our peeler. I am always tempted to do something with those lovely long strings of apple peel... I dried them out one year to see if I could knit or crochet them (not a good idea once they're dried... maybe before they dry?)

We have an apple orchard right next to our neighborhood, so we're going to pick apples very soon!

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