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Apr 29, 2002 07:03 PM

why is my apple pie filled with liquid

  • d

so i baked an apple pie with a standard recipe (joy of cooking), and when i cut a slice out, i find the pie is overflowing with liquid! why did this happen? i used granny smith apples, and the recommended amount of sugar and cornstarch. my better half and i were thinking the vents were too small, not enough sugar or starch. any ideas on how to stop this soupy pie?

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  1. An hour or so before putting your pie together,toss your apple slices with some sugar and lemon juice.The sugar will extract some water from the fruit.Mix SOME of this liquid with your cornstarch[or tapioca flour],and proceed...

    1 Reply
    1. re: M.K.

      Also, some varieties of apples are juicier than others.

    2. Sounds underbaked to me. Was goo bubbbling out around the edges?

      1. The liquid may be from steam building up because of not having/or to small of/ a vent hole in your crust. Packing the apple slices neatly in the shell will keep the liquid to a minimum this reduces the spaces for steam to develop, adding salt to the apples will also cause liquid.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Letsplay1

          Florence Fabricant had an article in the Times just before Thanksgiving last year that included a recipe for a terrific apple pie. She said that cooking apples makes them exude a lot of juice--some even more than others. Her solution was to sauté a lot of apples (I don't have the recipe here, but I think it was 5 pounds for one pie) to get them to render the liquid before putting them in the pie shell. This worked perfectly for me. No huge space between the apples and the top crust, not a lot of juice making the bottom crust soggy. I believe Cook's Mag had a similar solution years ago when they did one of their "best" articles.


          1. re: Joan

            Similarly, Shirley Corriher has an elaborate recipe that calls for precooking the apples. But she also cooks the top crust separately over a bowl, adding it after the rest of the pie is baked. Personally, I'm not even tempted to try it. I find that if I use a kind of apple that is not too juicy, toss with with some starch along with other flavorings, sweeteners, a pat or two of butter before filling the pie, I don't have much problem. (Try Northern Spies when available, Stayment Winesap, Granny Smiths)

            In fact, for esthetic reasons (both the pie's and mine) and to reduce the crust to fruit ratio, I mostly make open tarts, giving them a decorative arrangement, tarte tatin, or lattice top tarts.

          2. re: Letsplay1
            Wendy Leonard

            I make a basic apple pie with Granny Smith apples that always comes out fine. I use about 13 apples for one nine-inch pie though--almost double the number called for in most recipes--so the apples are packed tightly. I use chunks, not slices. I toss the apples with flour, white sugar, brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg. After it's in the crust I dot liberally with butter, sprinkle another 1/4 cup of flour over the top, put the top crust on, slash it maybe 9 times and bake for somewhat longer than the recipes call for, as there is more filling--about an hour and twenty minutes. Delicious. There's never any "flour" taste and the pie is never watery--in fact I'm graduating to 13 inch pie pans because the 9 inch pies don't last long enough!

            1. re: Wendy Leonard

              Your recipe is very similar to the one I use, the apple type varies from Granny's to Mac's if I'm in the tart mood. I would think the recipes using corn starch or such would make the syrup to thick, I also use some of the raw eggwhite on the bottom crust prevent it from getting soaked with syrup and always a glass pie pan.

              1. re: Letsplay1
                Wendy Leonard

                I find Macs too mushy--and also too liquidy for pies. I don't prepare the bottom crust in any way and it is never soggy. I do use ceramic pie pans though; I find them much better than glass.

                1. re: Wendy Leonard

                  Ditto on the Macs. I know some people love them, but I find them mushy to eat out of hand and mushy for pies. I don't even like them much for apple sauce.

                  All sorts of spices are nice in apple pie. In addition to those mentioned, lemon zest or crystallized ginger gives a nice twist.

                  I do sometimes "paint" the bottom crust (if I'm not too lazy) but not so much to protect it against getting soggy as to add another flavor using various fruit glazes (or just some fruit preserves). For the same reason, all sorts of dried fruits can be soaked to soften (in rum or some other liqueur) and added in in small enough amounts as merely to twist the flavor a little without detracting from the appleness.

                  For me, I have the greatest success with the crust when I refrigerate for 20-30 minutes after filling (as well as before rolling) and then bake on a very hot (preheat 45-60 min at a higher temperature than you will bake at) baking stone for at least the first 15-20 minutes. I then check to see if I think it needs to be moved to a higher place in the oven to prevent overbaking the bottom.

                  I thought I had "invented" :) the idea of refrigerating after shaping the pie as well as before rolling, til a couple weeks ago I re-read some of Beranbaum's Pie Bible. Guess I absorbed the idea from her without realizing it consciously.

          3. t
            The Pie Queen

            Of course I had to answer this one :)

            I used to have a big problem with this too. I tried sauteeing the apples beforehand but I don't like what it does to the filling. It turns out too jellified, like you're eating jam instead of pie filling. I discovered a solution once by accident. I made strawberry rhubarb filling and then went to make the crust, only to discover that my crisco had gone bad. It was too late to go to the store, so I refridgerated the filling and made the pie the next day. It turned out to be the best pie filling ever. As somebody else noted, sugar draws out some of the liquid. I now do this on purpose- mix the filling at least 4 hours before cooking, and then don't include all the liquid when you put the filling into the crust. A little cornstarch helps too, but not more than 2 tablespoons or you get that weird jelly consistency. And make sure you cook it long enough- turn the temp down if the crust is burning before the insides are bubbling out.

            Enjoy! :)

            1. k
              Kathryn Callaghan

              I'm jealous. Your pie sounds like the delicious apple pies my mother and sister make. The juicy filling runs out when you slice it. It's not beautiful on the plate but I consider it the best pie in the world. I'm never able to duplicate it, even using the same recipe. Mine always turns out dry and can be cut into perfect, dreary triangular slices. We all use granny smith apples - I wonder if some are just juicier than others? Next time I'll reduce the flour, add more salt, make smaller vent holes and try to get the apples into the crust as soon as I mix them up!

              3 Replies
              1. re: Kathryn Callaghan
                The Pie Queen

                If you /want/ a juicier pie, you might also cut the apples thicker. Thinner slices break down more and tend to meld together; thicker slices hold their shape and come flopping out of the pie on a river of juice. I actually like them inbetween the two ways- slices thick enough to remain recognizable as slices of apple, but thin enough so that the slice doesn't totally disintegrate.

                1. re: The Pie Queen

                  One of the versions of apple tart I make about this time of year uses Granny Smiths: I like to take a long rectangular removable bottom tin. Then I cut enough apple into relatively small bits (+ whatever seasoning elements) and pretty much fill the shell. Then take peeled, cored half apples and slice relatively finely keeping the overall shape of the "garnishing" apples intact, push on them to flatten slightly, and with a spatula or your knife, lift onto the top of the tart. I suggest you figure out how many of the apples of the size you are using will fit for the top layer before you begin cutting everything up. I like to "face" the slant of the slices in alternating opposite directions. Sprinkle the whole thing with cinnamon sugar (or just sugar). It usually takes about 5 halves for my approx 11" long pan. Each serving has its own half apple and has the contrasting texture of the apple on the bottome which has become very soft and almost sauce like and the still relatively firm apple on the top. I generally don't glaze the tops, but you could.

                  1. re: The Pie Queen
                    Kathryn Callaghan

                    I can't thank you enough for this post. My inability to replicate the family apple pie has been a source of frustration for years. I believe this is the solution to the mystery. I'm a more painstaking cook than either my mother or sister, and now that I think of it, I do chop the apples much smaller than they do.

                    Large apple chunks "flopping out of the pie on a river of juice" - That's it exactly!