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Pre-cooking apple pie apples: Stovetop or Oven?

Hi,
I usually make the Cooks Illustrated Cranberry Apple pie for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. This recipe has you pre-cook the apples in the microwave to soften them up. Well, this year I am without a microwave.

How would you recommend doing the pre-cooking stage? Should I do it on the stovetop, or baking in the oven? Covered, or uncovered? Any guesses on what temp and how long? It seems that that there should be no reason this can't be adapted to the current circumstances. I'm just not sure which is the next-easiest/best method. Thanks!

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  1. I would do neither.

    Grill them instead.

    But if you can't grill, either baking or frying them on the stovetop would be work.

    1. I do it stove top but that's because I remove the apples from the pan, add cream to the sauce and make a caramelly apple syrup to pour over the apples. It's so good.

      8 Replies
          1. re: jeanmarieok

            It is amazing. The hard part is not eating the caramelly apple sauce by itself! I can't take credit for the idea, though. I took a pie class at L'academie de cuisine with a former pastry chef at the Inn at Little Washington and it was her recipe.

          2. re: chowser

            You can also add brown butter...

            1. re: jsaimd

              Oooh, or start with browned butter. Love the idea--thanks.

            2. re: chowser

              can you elaborate on the recipe please
              amounts ingredients timing
              thank you

              1. re: iL Divo

                Here you go:

                Mix 12 tart crisp apples (peeled, cored, sliced) w/ 1/2 c fresh lemon juice

                Cook in two batches.
                melt 3 tbsp butter, 1 c sugar. Cook 2-3 mins. Add half apples, 1/6 c apple cider, pinch cinnamon/fresh nutmeg, salt. Cook until apples are soft, ~5 mins. Add 1/2 c. cream, cook 30 seconds more. Remove apples w/ slotted spoon. Liquid to another bowl. Repeat. Return liquid to pan and reduce about 8 mins until syrupy. Add apples, syrup to pie crust, etc.

                I'm assuming you know about the pie (crust, rolling, etc.) making part but if you need more, let me know.

                1. re: chowser

                  chowser~ I sincerely love wonderful people.
                  thank you very much-hubby could get lucky tomorrow night as could the kid if I can find correct apples. tart&crisp=? no Fuji or Gala...those are all I have.
                  pie crust - I'm good there "thank you darling gramma"...

            3. I haven't read the CI recipe. If the nuking is just to soften the apples, steam them on the stove instead. If it is intended to reduce the juices, either a wide pan and shallow layer of apples on the stovetop,with gentle, frequent stirring, or a loosely-covered roasting or sheet pan in the oven. Laying tin foil over the pan should do - you don't want to dry out the surface of the apples.