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Nov 29, 2013 08:14 AM

apple pie flavoring

mmmmmm, one down 10 to go.
curious to know what others do for flavoring their apple pie.

I use 3 varieties of apples, Rome, Mutsu, Braeburn, Winesap, Grannies, Northern Spy, and Greenings are amongst my faves to choose from depending on availability.


crumb topping

3/4 c. packed brown sugar
3/4 c. flour
6 tbs. butter
3/4 c. chopped nuts
1.5 tsp cinn, 1/2 tsp cloves, nutmeg

pie spicing
1/2 c. + tapioca flour
1/4 c + sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. fresh nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp cloves
2 tsp. grated orange rind
tbsp or so AppleJack, Calvados, or Licor Granpomier Manzana

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  1. I use just a small amount of cinnamon, omitting it if I'm sweetening with maple syrup. I do a two-crust pie or rustic tart, never crumb topping, and sometimes put cheddar or gruyere in the dough. I avoid clove and nutmeg in fruuity dishes because to me, they easily overwhelm the fruit flavor.
    I like to add some golden raisins to the filling.

    1. I use lots of lemon juice (and zest) in my pie. I started doing that when I began making my pie filling 24 hours in advance of baking, but I really enjoy the brightness. Brown sugar definitely balances the flavor, and lets the apple taste shine through the background components.

      In terms of spicing, the only other thing I add besides brown sugar is cinnamon and SALT. Not too much of either, but salt can really perk up the flavor and almost give a "salted caramel" effect without being straight-up salty.

      I add a crumble topping too......usually 3 parts oatmeal: 2 parts flour: 2 parts walnut: 2 parts brown sugar: 2 parts unsalted butter (plus a sprinkle of salt and cinnamon.) Adds a little boost of sweetness to the overall pie. Another trick I found with helping the topping "set" is I take the "juice" that comes off of the "marinated" apples and pour it over the top of the crumble topping before baking.

      As far as crust.....I'll either use Trader Joe's frozen crust or an all-butter version of Kenji's pie crust recipe on Serious Eats:

      1. Just apples. If they are the right ones for the pie, they need nothing more. And sugar, of course.

        1. I use Penzey's apple pie spice because I'm lazy and it tastes really good (China and Korintjie Cinnamon, nutmeg, mace and cloves). I don't like buying whole bottles of items such as mace, that I know I won't use up in a reasonable amount of time. I add lots of lemon zest to apple pies. Haven't tried adding apple brandy but that sounds like an excellent addition.

          Nonetheless, my apple pies were never that great until I started following the advice of those people at America's Test Kitchen and partially pre-cooking my apples before assembling the pie. It makes a world of difference.

          1. the 2 "apples" I did for yesterday were very odd indeed. don't know what I was thinking AS I'M EATING MY 2nd piece this morning already.

            3/4 apples
            1/6 pears
            2TB maraschino cherries (I know don't remark, I already know)
            dark brown sugar
            lemon juice+water+apple juice
            pinch salt
            (a lot) > apple pie spice (which I make of the basic 5 spices)

            straight pure butter crust

            maybe ties with best ap pie I've ever made you never know what's gonna be good or not