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Apple Pie made the day before?

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I would like to make an apple pie the day before Thanksgiving. Should I just leave it out overnight? How should I keep it covered? I want to prevent the crust from going soggy.

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  1. Any way to prep the apples and crust the day before then bake on Thanksgiving? The crust will be best if done this way.

    Are you doing a double-crust pie or single-crust only or single-crust with streusel on top?

    8 Replies
    1. re: 1POINT21GW

      I'm doing a double-crust pie. I plan to make the pie dough ahead of time, but not sure how to prep the apple filling before?? If I can do that, it would be great.

      Would I have to adjust the cooking time the next day?

      1. re: JBN

        Can you post the recipe you're going to use?

        There are a few routes you can take to do much of your prep work ahead of time and still have crisp crusts.

        I presume the peeling, coring, and slicing of the apples is the most labor-intensive part of the apple filling. If this is the case, simply peel, core, and slice the apples the day before then seal and refrigerate overnight. I would not add any acid to the apples - you don't need it. There are two reasons: 1. the apples, once tossed with the brown sugar and spices (I'm assuming there are at least one of those in your pie) will turn the apples brown anyway) and 2. even if that weren't the case, apples, once cooked, turn back from brown to almost white due to a chemical reaction that happens due to the application of heat. So, don't worry about the apples browning. Once prepped, you could simply bake the pie as normal on Thanksgiving Day.

        Another route is to make a crust that is naturally water resistant by making a crust that has shortening worked into the dough really well or a crust that, once rolled out, has fine cracker crumbs rolled into it which will bake up very dry even when baked with a filling in it.

        Another route (and possibly the best and easiest and most foolproof route) is to make everything separately: blind bake your bottom crust, cook the apple filling on the stove, and blind bake the top crust on an upside down mixing bowl. Then, simply assemble and serve.

        1. re: 1POINT21GW

          I disagree about adding acid, from a flavor standpoint - unless you are using all Granny Smiths or other tart apples, the filling will probably want a touch of lemon juice to brighten the flavor. I always use it, no matter what sort of apples I put in the pie - it makes the flavor sparkle.

          1. re: 1POINT21GW

            I agree 100% on not adding acid. To me, lemon gives the apples an off taste-- almost piney. As you say, the apples turn brown anyway, and for the most part, apples don't need to have their flavor "brightened" by an acid.

            1. re: roxlet

              Yep. It's hard to beat the flavor of an apple. In my opinion it doesn't need any help and, if it does, I shouldn't be using it.

        2. re: 1POINT21GW

          Even sprinkled with lemon juice and tossed with cinnamon/sugar, I think the apples would turn too brown by peeling them the day before.

          1. re: LindaWhit

            They turn brown when you bake them, at least mine do. If appearance is an issue, you can try putting them in a ziplock bag and squeezing the air out, then refrigerating until needed.

            1. re: tardigrade

              It takes me all of about 15-20 minutes to peel and slice enough apples for a pie. If the pie is being made the morning of the holiday, I'd just wait and do it then.

        3. I believe keeping the pie out overnight would be OK, but I'm talking about a pie made the previous evening, not the early morning. The bottom crust will be soggier if the pie is made the day before.

          The top crust will not be as wonderful, although it will be good, if it is made the previous day, but believe me, no one will turn up her nose at a homemade apple pie. You can add a light dusting of granulated sugar on the crust before baking if you wish. That makes the crust nice.

          Just make the pie, and take it. Homemade pie is a rare treat. It will be good. You will take none of it home, I predict.

          And remember how wonderful leftover apple pie is for breakfast? That's how it will be after Thanksgiving Day dinner.

          3 Replies
          1. re: sueatmo

            Yes, I was planning to make it in the evening, but I want it to be really flaky and tender. So maybe overnight is not such a good idea.

            1. re: JBN

              overnight is a fabulous idea! just use double the tapioca, and you'll be fine. I never have any trouble with pie the next day...

              1. re: JBN

                Can I suggest you make a crostada or gallette (same difference IMHO). You can make it a week ahead of time, freeze it and take about 15 minutes to reheat in a 300 degree oven.

            2. Just leave the pie out uncovered. Covering the pie will cause the crust to absorb moisture from the filling and lose its crispness.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Sam D.

                If I prep the filling the night before and bake it on Thanksgiving day (as 1POINT21GW suggested) should I rest it on a cooling rack to prevent the bottom from getting soggy as well??

              2. IMO, apple pie made the evening before would be just fine. I would 1) appropriately thicken the filling, 2) cool the pie on a rack, and 3) LOOSELY cover with either waxed or parchment paper, or other VENTED cover. Do not use plastic wrap, tupperware-type containers, etc. JMO.

                2 Replies
                1. re: eliz553

                  okay, thank you for the advice. I'm making a sample pie this weekend so I can try various methods.

                  1. re: JBN

                    Don't bother covering, unless it's to prevent dust. if so, leave enough air at the bottom to circulate (dome over cooling rack will work fine)

                2. I always make my pie the day before. Let it completely cool on a wire rack before covering it with foil. I leave it on the counter.

                  Slide it into a low oven just as you're sitting down to dinner, and it should have warmed up enough when it's time for dessert.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    This is what I do - some granulated sugar on the crust, uncovered overnight, and then pop it in the oven while we eat dinner. I don't even have the oven on, I just take advantage of the residual heat from baking the rolls right before we sit down. Works just fine, and as sueatmo said, no one is going to turn down homemade pie!!!

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      For Thanksgiving I make my pies the night before too - there is too much other stuff that needs the oven space on the day of. However, if you have the oven space, I would roll out the dough the night before and refrigerate flat (or you can put the bottom one in the pie plate and refrigerate it that way). As for the filling, I partially cook mine before it goes in the pie anyway, so I would just toss the apples with sugar as I always do, microwave it to get the juices flowing and refrigerate it. The next day, nuke it again briefly to get it up to room temperature (or a little warmer), add the spices, lemon and flour (my preferred thickener for apple pie) and dump it into the crust - shouldn't take more than 5 minutes to assemble.

                    2. Since my house can't eat a whole pie in one sitting, when I do make them I leave the leftovers out overnight, covered with a clean kitchen towel. I don't refrigerate fruit pies, and haven't had any problems with the crusts going soggy. My apple pies are very simple: apples, cinnamon, sometimes but not always sugar, and piecrust.

                      1. Okay, after reading everyone's wonderful suggestions I think I plan to make part of it the night before but actually assemble & bake it the morning of...and then just leave it out uncovered until dinner time. I'm using a Martha Stewart recipe for the dough which can be made 2 days in advance, and i'll just roll it out on Thur morning. I'm using the Joy of Baking recipe for the filling and will make that the night before.
                        I think it'll be too hard to do everything the morning of, since I'll be 7mos pregnant, with a toddler, and will be making a few other dishes! Phew!
                        Thanks everyone for all the great ideas and for making me seriously crave a huge slice of pie right now!!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: JBN

                          If you haven't completely decided, I took a pie making class at L'Academie de Cuisine. The instructor told us to leave it out overnight, lightly draped w/ plastic wrap. When you've taken out the turkey from the oven, turn it off, pop the pie(s) in and let the residual heat reheat the pie. It's what I've done ever since and it's worked great.

                          1. re: JBN

                            Just keep in mind that if you bake it Thanksgiving Day, it should be early in the morning as apple pie should rest a good four hours before eating it to allow the filling to cool and properly thicken. Of course, you could eat it straight out of the oven if you'd like, but the filling won't be as set as it will be after it's cooled.

                          2. Pie leftout overnight should not get soggy bottoms (never had that problem before and I always believing that apple pie needs a good incubation period before being partaken of).

                            That said, if you are worried about a soggy crust, then simply apply a gentle eggwash to your pie crust before dumping in the apples.

                            1. I adore apple pie and I wouldn't bake it before. I would make the whole pie, freeze it, and bake during a slow period in the oven.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: JudiAU

                                That was also my thoughts, make and freeze now (unbaked) an then bake fresh on thanksgiving morning, it will just need a little extra time. There is more info In joy of cooking if you have that available?

                                1. re: JudiAU

                                  I am interested in trying this for Thanksgiving (with a test run before). I'd like to bake the pie on T-giving morning, while the turkey and sides get cooked in the afternoon (for a 4:30-ish dinner). Do I cook the apple pie filling a bit first or simply place the raw apples (tossed w/sugar and spices) into the pan before placing the top crust on top?

                                  1. re: nofunlatte

                                    I don't pre cook the apples just put it all in and seal with top crust. I think cooking the apples a bit and then not baking right away could cause problems with the bottom crust as it goes in to the freezer, I'm thinking it might get mushy....or as i think about it maybe you could pre cook and then let the apples chill or at least come to room temp before putting in the crust....

                                2. Leave out uncovered. When making the pie, I lay out the bottom crust, then lightly coat it with white or dark chocolate (pour a bit in the center, use your fingers to paint the surface and side. Then pop in the fridge to harden before adding filling. This completely seals the bottom crust from the fruit juices. I've had the bottom crust stay crisp up to 4 days (pie never lasts longer than that).

                                  1. I've baked a number of apple pies in the past week and learned a new trick yesterday that both prevented browning overnight in fridge, and keeps the apples from turning to mush in the pie: they retain their shape and still have just a tiny bit of al dente feel.

                                    Par cooking at 140-160 F for 10 minutes activates some enzyme in the apples, resulting in perfect apples for pie. The easy way is to boil 3 water (or cider) and pour over the sliced apples, 3Qts for 4lbs apples. Drain after 10 minutes. I needed a little more boiling water half way through in my VERY cold kitchen yesterday.

                                    I made two batches: one went into pie which we tried last night - wonderful apples, but too runny.

                                    The other batch is in the pie in the oven right now - no browning after a night in the fridge. This time I macerated with the sugar and cooked the liquid down before re-adding it after cooling, only took a few minutes to start thickening. Other than that I had the whole thing prepped yesterday: dough in pie pan, spices/sugar mixed, apples sliced and par-cooked. Oh, had to slice and make the lattice, but came together so fast!

                                    All credit goes to J. Kenji López-Alt over at Serious Eats: