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Apple Pie Secrets Revealed!
Submitted by Pam on Tue, 09/29/2009 - 05:04
You know what to do next - right?
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.
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!
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 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?