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Delicious Pie Crust and Pies recipes for High Altitudes?


sus
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Hello Hello!

It is that time of the year where I start making pies and stuff. I have my great recipes that I generally use but this year I am spending Thanks Giving with the SO and his family in Denver. I had not been planning on doing anything because I generally feel uncomfortable cooking at other people's kitchen but I guess my SO offered me and my baking skills for Thanks Giving. Apparently, I will be baking an apple pie and perhaps a pumpkin pie, with my very own crust. I have never baked at high altitudes and am a bit nervous about the process. I would love to hear your feedback and possibly recipes for a delicious pumpkin pie and/or apple pie baked at high altitudes that would be great. Looking forward to your feedback, suggestions and recipes!

Sue

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I thought the main purpose of high altitude adjustments had to do with trying to give the item time to build sufficient structure to support itself. Since apple and pumpkin pie and their crusts don't generally involve leavening of any type, I'd think "use your usual recipe and bake 'til done" would cover it... but I don't live at high altitude so take that for what it's worth.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Pie crust isn't affected much, neither is fruit filling. That said, you may wish to try some of the newer vodka methods because of their reliability.

Altitude affects baking because there are different amounts of air being pulled down on us, by gravity, at various altitudes. At high altitudes, you have thousands of fewer feet or air sitting on top of you.

So, if you bake a cake, and you do not adjust the recipe, the air bubbles will grow larger than they would at sea level because there's less air pressure pushing them down. That sounds good, but, the recipe isn't formulated to support those extra-large air bubbles, so they collapse pretty easily and you get a thick dense crumb, and almost no increase in height, instead of a light fluffy crumb.

Baked goods leavened by baking powder and baking soda are the most sensitive and will probably need adjustment -usually reducing the leavener. Items like shortbread, especially if rolled out thick, which are mechanically leavened by steam released from butter can benefit from an addition of extra flour. A good all-around cookbook like the Joy of Cooking will have a chart and instructions. There are also dedicated high-altitude books.

Breads might theoretically need less yeast, but adjustments aren't critical since the gluten in the flour, if developed properly can support a lot more air than pastry or cake flour. Bread will proof and rise more quickly (meaning the yeast will have less time to multiply, thus arguing for using the same amount as sea level) and may require slightly lower oven temps, but, it's difficult to generalize without seeing a formula.

Hope this helps!

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Hey guys. This is all great information. Will be useful when I am permanently in the area, too! I am just baking these two pies so it is good to know that it will be Ok. I even found a place that has leaf lard and am excited about trying my crust with that.

Su

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Would there be any difference in the thickening/setting of the filling?...Just wondering

tracey

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Would there be any difference in the thickening/setting of the filling?...Just wondering

tracey

Nope. As you may know, altitude affects the boiling point of water, meaning that it boils at a lower temp and food takes longer to cook because the steam escapes at a lower temperature. Pies are generally baked for such a long period of time and at temperatures well above boiling, that the altitude doesn't affect significantly.

I always check pies for brown crust and reduced liquid inside before removing from the oven. Every batch of fruit is different so, every pie is different. (unless you are using canned filling, but let's not go there!) I view the baking time as a suggestion not an absolute when making pie. Pies may in general take a bit longer to cook at high altitude, but, there's no adjustments needed to fillings. Just follow good instructions, especially if using apples. Do not use Red Delicious apples in a pie filling, unless you cook them down, in a pot on the stove, first.

I lived in Santa Fe for about 15 years, at 7,540 feet, and never had any issues with pies.

Edited by Lisa Shock (log)
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