Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
Popcorn

Apple pie

Recommended Posts

So this weekend I began learning how to make a decent apple pie. My end goal is approximating my grandmother's, as I have inherited her wonderful ceramic pie pan.

I have a long way to go.

I used the all butter crust recipe from land'o'lakes website, the the filling was from Tyler Florence's "traditional apple pie" recipe located here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/re...6_21944,00.html

A myriad of problems ensued. Firstly, I did the two knife method to cut the butter into the flour. This was taking an awfully long time, so I would periodically place the bowl in the fridge to stay cool. I never really got it to a place I was happy with. I have a food processor so if I need to, I can use that, but I would like to get the feel for doing it by hand if possible.

My wife objects to crisco so that's out, though if there's a *healthy* alternative I'm open to suggestions. Lard is out, as I'm not making it myself and the lard I get around here is either nasty or only suitable for savory purposes.

Then I'm supposed to add 4-5 tablespoons of water. enough so I can squeeze together a lump of dough and it will stick. This took more like 9 tablespoons of (ice) water.

The dough chilled for awhile, but when it came time to roll it out, it would not stay together. I tried rolling it out on a cutting board, that didn't work. I tried the two pieces of plastic wrap, that didn't work. I wound up dumping the crumbs in the pan and pressing them down to make the bottom crust.

Somehow the top crust worked a little better.

The filling turned out pretty good actually, I varied the apple slices so they had differing textural qualities. The down side to the filling is there was a ton of liquid still in the pie at the end. so this morning when I had my apple pie breakfast the bottom crust was in the process of disappearing.

Tastewise I'm happy with the filling, but the crust is tough (from too much water I imagine) and the pie is ugly looking.

My pie pan was my grandmother's , it's a thick dark ceramic glazed pie pan and it's a little smaller than 9 inches (say 8.5 maybe?) and a little shallower than most. I don't know how much of a difference that could have made, other than less surface area to evaporate the liquid during cooking.

I'd like to not have to use tapioca or cornstarch in the pie filling. If I have to I will, but it seems like I should be able to get away with not using either of these. I've though maybe I should cook the filling separately first, but then I think it would be overcooked in the pie baking process.

Any thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So this weekend I began learning how to make a decent apple pie.  My end goal is approximating my grandmother's, as I have inherited her wonderful ceramic pie pan. 

I have a long way to go.

I used the all butter crust recipe from land'o'lakes website, the the filling was from Tyler Florence's "traditional apple pie" recipe located here:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/re...6_21944,00.html

A myriad of problems ensued.  Firstly, I did the two knife method to cut the butter into the flour.  This was taking an awfully long time, so I would periodically place the bowl in the fridge to stay cool.  I never really got it to a place I was happy with.  I have a food processor so if I need to, I can use that, but I would like to get the feel for doing it by hand if possible.

My wife objects to crisco so that's out, though if there's a *healthy* alternative I'm open to suggestions.  Lard is out, as I'm not making it myself and the lard I get around here is either nasty or only suitable for savory purposes. 

Then I'm supposed to add 4-5 tablespoons of water.  enough so I can squeeze together a lump of dough and it will stick.  This took more like 9 tablespoons of (ice) water. 

The dough chilled for awhile, but when it came time to roll it out, it would not stay together.  I tried rolling it out on a cutting board, that didn't work.  I tried the two pieces of plastic wrap, that didn't work.  I wound up dumping the crumbs in the pan and pressing them down to make the bottom crust.

Somehow the top crust worked a little better.

The filling turned out pretty good actually, I varied the apple slices so they had differing textural qualities.  The down side to the filling is there was a ton of liquid still in the pie at the end.  so this morning when I had my apple pie breakfast the bottom crust was in the process of disappearing. 

Tastewise I'm happy with the filling, but the crust is tough (from too much water I imagine) and the pie is ugly looking. 

My pie pan was my grandmother's , it's a thick dark ceramic glazed pie pan and it's a little smaller than 9 inches (say 8.5 maybe?) and a little shallower than most.  I don't know how much of a difference that could have made, other than less surface area to evaporate the liquid during cooking.

I'd like to not have to use tapioca or cornstarch in the pie filling.  If I have to I will, but it seems like I should be able to get away with not using either of these.  I've though maybe I should cook the filling separately first, but then I think it would be overcooked in the pie baking process.

Any thoughts?

Hi, sounds like a great time! Your crust was tough because of working it too much after adding the water. Instead of cutting the fat in with knives use your finger tips of a mixer with the paddle. Toss when you adding the water. Precooking the fruit will help you get the right amount in the crust with out all the excess liquid. Pie and tart crusts that practice. I always use classic pate brisee for pies and there are recipes everywhere or I can post one for you. Keep on trying and go the library and look for some baking and/or pie books and see how they do it. Practice is the key. Good luck. Woods

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

don't feel bad, my pies stink too! :wink: the last one i made was not edible! i've been meaning to try the pie crust from "brownie baker" on this site, seems to get desirable results. also, i used Smart Balance shortening because i refuse to used regular crisco due to the trans-fat, maybe your wife would be okay with that. good luck! :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What kind of apples do you use?

I like a less sweet filling and use granny smith. They are a firm apple that dosen't tend to cook down that much.

Here is my general filling recipe:

6-7 apples sliced (not too thin)

3 tablespoon flour

3 tablespoon butter

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup white sugar

sprinkle of cinnamon

splash of lemon juice

(I usually taste the filling and adjust the sugar and lemon juice if nessesary).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What kind of apples do you use?

I like a less sweet filling and use granny smith. They are a firm apple that dosen't tend to cook down that much. 

Here is my general filling recipe:

6-7 apples sliced (not too thin)

3 tablespoon flour

3 tablespoon butter

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup white sugar

sprinkle of cinnamon

splash of lemon juice

(I usually taste the filling and adjust the sugar and lemon juice if nessesary).

I'll give that a try next time. I used honeycrisp, as they were the best looking apples I could find, and at least one source I read through recommended them. Presumably the fact that the apples don't cook down as much is the reason less flour is needed?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I highly suggest you start learning about making pie crusts by reading thru our demo thread on pie crusts. We've discussed the reasons why different mixing techniques create different types of crusts. We've talked about what ingredients give which results too. We've offered up our best recipes that we've tried extensively in comparision to many other published recipes. ...........in other words we've done the leg work for you.

We have also talked about pie fillings, specificly apple pie fillings. If you do a search on that topic it will lead you to many threads on the this. I can't say that I recall us reaching any definitive apple pie filling that you can just run with. But we have discussed the pro's and the con's of many apple pie recipes and theres a wealth of information available for you.

In addition we've chatted endlessly about our apple preferences. You'll come across those too if you do a search.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope you won't be discouraged. Pie baking is an art to be perfected. I've been baking pies since I was 11; some turn out well and some don't. When they don't turn out well, I always mentally go back over what I did, and I can always identify what I should have done differently.

Consider using a pastry blender to blend the dough. The one I have is from Pampered Chef (I'm not necessarily recommending this brand; but if you can find one of their catalogs, you can see exactly what I'm talking about.) It isn't the type where wires are joined together at the handle. The working part is cut from a single piece of metal, and the working area would be described more as blades than wires. It's more rigid than the wire type, so the dough is worked more efficiently than it might be otherwise. I actually learned to make dough by cutting through the mixture with a fork held in my right hand, while spinning the bowl in 1/4 turns with my left hand. When my arthritis is flaring up, I use the pastry blender. I keep cutting through the dough until particle size is fairly uniform, and the particles are slightly smaller than peas.

My grandmother taught me that after the liquid is added and the dough forms a ball, take it out and knead it gently in your hands about 5-6 times. This is a gentle folding motion, and nowhere near as strong a motion as you would use when kneading bread. This is what helps my piecrusts hang together well.

If you want to refrigerate the dough at any point in the process, press plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Don't let it dry out at all! Also, the type of flour, and the humidity in your kitchen will control how much liquid you use. Toss the dough gently while adding liquid.

I hope some of this will help. In my opinion, a good crust is more technique than recipe. I'm not sure I understand your objection to using tapioca or cornstarch as thickeners. When used in the proper ratios, they work well and don't detract from the texture of the filling. But it takes experience to be able to gauge the amount of moisture in your apples, and know when to adjust the amount of thickener.

Technique and experience are important ingredients. Practice, practice, practice!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What kind of apples do you use?

I like a less sweet filling and use granny smith. They are a firm apple that dosen't tend to cook down that much. 

Here is my general filling recipe:

6-7 apples sliced (not too thin)

3 tablespoon flour

3 tablespoon butter

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup white sugar

sprinkle of cinnamon

splash of lemon juice

(I usually taste the filling and adjust the sugar and lemon juice if nessesary).

I'll give that a try next time. I used honeycrisp, as they were the best looking apples I could find, and at least one source I read through recommended them. Presumably the fact that the apples don't cook down as much is the reason less flour is needed?

I looked up Honeycrisps online since I was not familiar with them, the apple is decribed as very juicey. So maybe that's part of the problem.

Even though I've made a lot of apple pies some come out more runny than others. I guess it depends on the fruit and the kind of growing season.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honeycrisps are arguably one of the best eating apples out there, but I wouldn't use them in a pie, or any sort of baking. I really like Paula Reds or Ida Reds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would also recommend Cortland and Northern Spy as some of my favourite baking apples (Russets are also really good). If you're finding that you need to add alot more water than the recipe specifies, it is most likely because you did not work the fat into the flour enough. The fat coats the flour, effectively moisture-proofing it. It also prevents gluten from forming, which would make your dough tough.


Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've only made a few apple pies but, knock on wood, I haven't had a problem so far. I totally understand how you feel about wanting to know how the dough should feel and not wanting to resort to a food processor. I feel the same way. I'm still using a pastry blender. But that's what my grandma used.

I usually use a mix of three or four kinds of apples. Granny Smith is almost always part of the mix. Honey Crisps are too juicy but I wouldn't have a problem with throwing one in as I like it when the apples have different textures.

(Your thread inspired me to finally update my profile with a signature. It's my favorite quote about cooking from scratch.)

- kim


If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've only made a few apple pies but, knock on wood, I haven't had a problem so far. I totally understand how you feel about wanting to know how the dough should feel and not wanting to resort to a food processor. I feel the same way. I'm still using a pastry blender. But that's what my grandma used.

I usually use a mix of three or four kinds of apples. Granny Smith is almost always part of the mix. Honey Crisps are too juicy but I wouldn't have a problem with throwing one in as I like it when the apples have different textures.

(Your thread inspired me to finally update my profile with a signature. It's my favorite quote about cooking from scratch.)

- kim

Over here in the UK the traditional cooking apple is a Bramley is this a variety you can't get in the US? With a bramley as it isn't an eating apple but a cooker it tends to cook down to a puree. Takes more sugar than the other varietys as it's a lot more sour but never found the need to add a thickner!


Perfection cant be reached, but it can be strived for!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bramley :wub:. I could not remember that name. I've never seen that apple here in The States. But I have made apple pies in London with them and them alone. Yum!

- kim


If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This probably has been adresses in the pie demo (I haven't read that one yet :huh: )

In regards to the cutting the butter into your dough, I would recommend that you use the 'fraisage' techinique, which uses the best tools we have access to - our hands!!

Basically, start with cold butter, cut into chunks into the flour and then pick up some of the mix and with your open hands together (think praying...) rub lightly, and the flour that incorporates the butter will fall back into the bowl. Then pick up some more mix, and gently rub inbetween your hands again. You'll see the change over time as you keep rubbing the butter into the dough. It gets to a nice pea mealy size. Don't rub too hard or you'll just squish the butter into your hands... It feels really nice too and it's a relaxing task. I hope this helps!!


Don't waste your time or time will waste you - Muse

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In additon to checking out the pie demo mentioned above, I strongly recommend using Beranbaum's Pie Bible. Her obsessive attention to detail may help you figure out what you need to do to tweak your trials into Grandma's pie.


"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to be a baker much, much more than a cook.

I think I was about 12 years old when I baked my first apple pie, totally from scratch, without any help.

Because I have the patience and attention span of a gnat—I couldn't wait for wild apples to ripen so I made a green apple (green as in raw) pie—yes there really is such a thing.

I turned out very well, took me a total of about 4 hours to prep it and bake in, and about 20 minutes for my brother and I to eat it. xD

I wish I'd cloned that wild apple tree, it had very big apples that were perfect for pies.

 

I went on to create my on recipes.

I like apple pie that's rich and apple-ly.

I usually made what I called quadruple apple pie—sliced apple, apple sauce, apple butter, a little condensed apple juice, spices, etc.


~Martin :)

"Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!"

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think a mix of apples tends to work well. I use predominantly tart firm apples like Granny Smiths, but with a portion of a softer apple like a jonagold thrown in, as these tend to cook down. I love Honeycrisps for eating but they are super juicy, as others have mentioned. Precook to reduce the liquid (Granny Smiths tend to hold up well to precooking) and add a small amount of thickener. Like Martin, I use a little reduced apple juice (in the form of cider jelly, which is just super reduced cider) to add more apple flavor, and I go very light on sugar because I like my pies tart.  Precooking also prevents that huge air space between the top of the filling and the crust, and allows for more apples!

 

As as far as the crust, others have said this but it’s worth repeating. Get the fat worked in well (I use a food processor for his and it works well) before you add any water. Once the water goes in, any working of the dough will result in gluten development, so just bring it together. I also use a trick from an old recipe from Cooks Illustrated - substitute vodka for about half of the water. Alcohol does not result in the development of gluten (water does) and it burns off in the cooking. So it helps the dough stay tender and flaky, since you end up having less water in the dough.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/8/2018 at 3:57 AM, tikidoc said:

I think a mix of apples tends to work well. I use predominantly tart firm apples like Granny Smiths...

Before Granny Smiths took over the produce section of most grocery stores, there were Pippin apples which are much more of a tart apple. They're harder to find these days. Like you said about the Granny Smiths, my mom used to use the Pippins because the tartness counterbalanced the sugar in the recipe. To this day I can't stand overly-sweet-tasting apple pies. 

 

On 4/7/2018 at 5:05 PM, DiggingDogFarm said:

I like apple pie that's rich and apple-ly.

I usually made what I called quadruple apple pie—sliced apple, apple sauce, apple butter, a little condensed apple juice, spices, etc.

This sounds like it would be either awesome or a train wreck.

Can you provide more info about your Apple Apple Apple Apple Pie recipe? ApplePie recipe? Apple x 4 Pie recipe? xD

 


 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Toliver said:

ApplePie recipe?

 

I'll see if i can find it.


~Martin :)

"Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!"

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Toliver

I can't find the recipe.

IIRC, the filling was about 6 cups of sliced apples. 3/4 of cup of applesauce, 1/3 cup apple butter, a couple tablespoons apple juice concentrate, flour, a little dark brown sugar, butter (cut into small pieces), cinnamon, and nutmeg.

 


Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)
  • Like 1

~Martin :)

"Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!"

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 08/04/2018 at 1:05 AM, DiggingDogFarm said:

I used to be a baker much, much more than a cook.

I think I was about 12 years old when I baked my first apple pie, totally from scratch, without any help.

Because I have the patience and attention span of a gnat—I couldn't wait for wild apples to ripen so I made a green apple (green as in raw) pie—yes there really is such a thing.

I turned out very well, took me a total of about 4 hours to prep it and bake in, and about 20 minutes for my brother and I to eat it. xD

I wish I'd cloned that wild apple tree, it had very big apples that were perfect for pies.

 

I went on to create my on recipes.

I like apple pie that's rich and apple-ly.

I usually made what I called quadruple apple pie—sliced apple, apple sauce, apple butter, a little condensed apple juice, spices, etc.

 

Would your green apples have been like the Bramleys mentioned up-thread?  Odd that this topic should resurface after I saw my first Bramleys in years a few days ago!  Entirely the wrong time of year for us in theory but they were huge and fresh looking and they reminded me of childhood apple pie never bettered.  I need to go back and buy some, perhaps pie or a proper English crumble beckons....  The apples I saw were entirely green, I’ll take a photo if they are still there next time I shop.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, DianaB said:

Would your green apples have been like the Bramleys mentioned up-thread?

 

About the same color when ripe, but not as large.

They were about twice the size of typical wild apples here.

  • Like 1

~Martin :)

"Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!"

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, DiggingDogFarm said:

@Toliver

I can't find the recipe.

IIRC, the filling was about 6 cups of sliced apples. 3/4 of cup of applesauce, 1/3 cup apple butter, a couple tablespoons apple juice concentrate, flour, a little dark brown, butter (cut into small pieces), cinnamon, and nutmeg.

 

Thanks for the info...it gives me a starting point, at least.

Maybe add a hard sauce made with Applejack or Calvados and make it Apple5 Pie? :B

  • Like 1

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, Toliver said:

Maybe add a hard sauce made with Applejack or Calvados and make it Apple5 Pie?

 

Yeah, I've also used boiled cider rather than apple juice concentrate.

I made many gallons of cider from apples from the tree mentioned above.


Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)
  • Like 2

~Martin :)

"Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!"

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By TexasMBA02
      After batting about .500 with my previous approach to macarons, I came across Pierre Herme's base recipe online.  After two flawless batches of macarons, I've been re-energized to continue to work at mastering them.  Specifically, I want to try more of his recipes.  My conundrum is that he has, as far as I can tell, two macaron cookbooks and I don't know which one I should get.  I can't tell if one is just an updated version of the other or a reissue or what the differences really are.  I was hoping somebody had some insight.  I have searched online and haven't seen both books referenced in the same context or contrasted at all.
       
      This one appears to be older.

       
      And this one appears to be the newer of the two.

       
      Any insight would be helpful.
       
      Thanks,
       
    • By pastrygirl
      Anyone have a favorite recipe for chocolate cake using semisweet chocolate?  My usual chocolate cake recipe uses cocoa, but I have some samples of chocolate I want to use up for a workplace party.  Yes, I could make brownies or ganache frosting, or chocolate mousse or chocolate chunk cookies, just feeling like cake this weekend ...
    • By onemorebitedelara.com
      Has anyone used Valrhona Absolut Crystal neutral glaze particularly to thicken a coulis or to glaze a tart?  If so, how did you like it and is there another glaze you think worked as well but is less expensive or can be purchased in smaller quantities?  
    • By Jaymes
      Red Velvet Cake
      It does use a large amount of oil - 2 cups, but it sure ain't "dry." Red Velvet Cake was very popular back in the late 60's & 70's and there were frequently "Red Velvet Cake cookoffs." This recipe won the blue ribbon at several state fairs.
      2-1/2 c sifted cake flour 2 c sugar 1 c buttermilk 1 tsp soda 1 tsp vanilla 1 tsp salt 3 eggs 2 T cocoa 1 T white vinegar 1 oz red food color 2 C vegetable oil - regular "buttery flavor" is good but, if you can't find it, use 1 Cup Orville Redenbacher Buttery Flavor Oil for Popcorn (available in the popcorn section at the store) and 1 cup regular vegetable oil to make a total of 2C oil Cream cheese frosting:
      1 stick butter 1 tsp vanilla 8-oz pkg cream cheese 1 16-oz bag powdered sugar dash salt 1 c chopped pecans Cake
      Combine all ingredients; mix well and pour into 1 large or two small buttered and floured cake pans. Bake 300º for about 40 minutes, or until done
      Frosting
      Cream well, then frost well-cooled cake. 
      Keywords: Dessert, Cake
      ( RG466 )
    • By pastrygirl
      What do you all think is the safety level of leaving raw shortbread out at warm room temp (75-80f) for 18 hours?  Assume no eggs, just butter, sugar, and flour.... 
       
      It will be baked, but I still fear that pathogens could grow. Or maybe it’s my years of pastry experience wherein cold dough has always been easier to handle and that’s why it seems so wrong. 😂
       
      (This is not my doing, I have a renter in my kitchen.)
       
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...