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Nov 25, 2006 04:29 AM

Apple pie

I make a delicious, high apple pie. When it is through baking, it looks lovely. However, when I cut into it, all the apples that were piled into the shell have now decreased in volume, and there is a gap between the apples and the upper crust. Also, the slice does not hold together so it has to almost be spooned out. Any suggestions?

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  1. I'd say try perforating/venting the top crust more than you presently are so you don't achieve all that "height". This will allow for more of the steam to escape. I'm sure your pies look 'lovely' and are very appealing, but there's a sacrifice to be made. If you don't, your pies will remain too void on the inside and will look like you skimped on the filling. I'm sure this is not the result you're looking to achieve.

    You can also try the same technique used when baking blind. Weigh the top down for a portion of the baking time.
    Use pennies, dried beans, rice, cooking weights, etc.

    In answer to your "loose" apples, the type of apple could be one problem. People can debate this ad nauseum, but IMO the best apples to bake with are the Golden Delicious. I always add a little extra sugar so they stick together better. (Usually 1T to 2T more than rec calls for). No complaints really. If you want to try Rome, Granny Smith, McIntosh, or Honey Crisps, then add more sugar to bind them.

    I also just realized that you might not be perforating your top crust at all and all that steam trapped inside is over-cooking your filling (apples). I think proper venting will solve all your woes here. All you need are just a few more slits with a knife or a few more pokes with the tines of a fork. Have fun experimenting and finding a solution. Hey, you get to enjoy a lot of pie in the meantime. HTH.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Cheese Boy

      Your venting theory is interesting, but the pie I made the other day was thoroughly vented (three large cutouts in the top) and I still had this issue. I used the recipe from the Cook's Illustrated Family Cookbook - a mix of Granny Smith and McIntosh apples (so the Smiths didn't break down as much). My pie was (if I do say so myself) spectacular looking, but suffered from the same problem - good height but space between the baked crust and the apples.

      No one complained, in fact they raved, and my husband just fought me for the last leftovers for breakfast this a.m., so I'm not too worried about it, but I'm curious if there are other theories out there . . . .

      1. re: gansu girl

        I have had the same problem in the past. It's not that the crust rises, it's just that the apples cook down. Macs are not great for pies for this reason, they are not a great baking apple. In addition to trying pre-cooking below (which I am now anxious to try), you might want to try Cortlands or Northern Spy, or another apple better for baking.

    2. I read somewhere (maybe here) that some people bake the apples for a little bit outside the crust before filling. This gives then a chance to loosen up and then they are added to a blind baked crust, piled high as they can and then the top crust put on. This pre-baked apple technique allows the apples to retain their shape instead of flaling like a bad angel food cake.

      1. There were a bunch of posts back in September on apple pies and the consensus was that if you pre-cook your apples a little, you won't get the huge space btw apples & crust when you go to slice the pie. Of course you should then increase the amt of apples you start with since your apples will have cooked down by the time you pile them onto your crust.

        I use about 5 pounds Granny Smiths, cooked with spices, sugar & lemon juice until soft, about 5 minutes.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Alice Patis

          The first time I made an apple pie, I didn't pre-cook the apples and I had the gap issue. I had no gap issue when I pre-cooked the apples. I used a blend of golden delicious and granny smith.

        2. Alice Patis is absolutely correct; thank you . I spoke to someone on a radio food talk show, and he recommended "roasting the apples" before baking them in the pie. Then, of course, one would use a lot more apples which is fine with me. My only concern would be that the apples might be "mushy". I usually use macintosh and granny smith which the food host thought was a good combination. I also vent my pies.

          1. I'm going to moderately disagree with the notion of pre-cooking the apples. My wife and I solved the pie gab problem simply by slicing the apples a little bit thinner (so they are like disks instead of chunks), and pressing down on them before adding the top crust.

            Venting makes sense of course. Also, not sure what your recipe calls for, but use a higher ratio of brown sugar. White sugar seems to break down the apples too much - not sure if there's scientific proof of that, but it seems to be the case.