What has happened to Apple pie? Apples never seem fully cooked.

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by jayelmstreet, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. Tender

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Crisp

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. jayelmstreet

    jayelmstreet

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    Growing up, my grandmother never failed at making great apple pie. The crust was always good and the apples always tender (didn't say mushy). A good home baked apple pie is the closest thing to perfection I know of.

    People know I love pie and I've had many well-meaning people make apple pies for me. I am always gracious and thankful, but the vast majority have undercooked "still crunchy" apples in them. Ugh!

    What happened? Did apples change? Did recipes change? Did pie pans change? I've tried to form a good hypothesis, but can't come up with one. Maybe it's the altitude where I now live.

    I'm guessing some people may actually prefer to have the apples still somewhat crunchy, but I cannot acquire that taste. Can anyone shed some light on this?
     
  2. pateachoux

    pateachoux

    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Culinary Student
    I'm with you...I love a great apple pie. I've made quite a few over the years. I imagine it's a matter of most people not pre-cooking their apples before baking them in the pie. Also, people might under-bake their pies because they're afraid they'll burn the crust--not knowing the aluminum foil trick. Until culinary school, I never pre-cooked my apples, then last semester we made an apple and cranberry pie (I know, weird combo, right? But it's actually a magical combination!) that required the apples to be sauteed in butter until tender, then we added the cranberries, sugar and a slurry made from cornstarch and water. We brought it back to a boil, then the mixture was cooled in an ice bath before filling the pie shell.  It came out amazing, and the apples were perfectly tender, but not mushy. As far as pie crust goes...it's my most favorite thing in the world to make. Practice makes perfect, and not just anyone can master the art of pie crust.
     
    bschv likes this.
  3. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

    Messages:
    4,333
    Likes Received:
    83
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    You mean covering the rim of the crust with a small strip of foil like an experienced tarte or quiche baker would do?
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012
  4. pateachoux

    pateachoux

    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Culinary Student
    Isn't that what I basically said? lol! ...and actually, it doesn't take an experienced 'tarte or quiche' (<------since that's the main subject here...tarts and quiche...) baker. I learned this method from my grandmother when I was like, um, ten. Also, any INexperienced baker can learn lots of things from...gasp..the internet!
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012
  5. prettycake

    prettycake Banned

    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    17
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    I cook my apple filling before I put it in the crust..  I do not like pie with almost raw apples..  I might as well wrap a whole apple w/ crust and bite into it.
     
  6. sherbel

    sherbel

    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    I never pre-cook apples for apple pie, but I choose an apple that will cook down nicely as the pie bakes. The type of apple is important! Some are simply horrid in a pie. (Red Delicious. Non-Delicious at any speed, IMO.)

    I use only McIntosh apples for pie, they're not really in vogue these days, but I love them. Some prefer Granny Smith, but to me they're too firm and tart for pie. They will cook down somewhat, but will retain their shape (and tartness) more than the Mac. It's a matter of personal preference, but if you want a soft, sweet filling in a pie, give the McIntosh a try. In addition, the smaller the pieces of apple, the more they will cook down; huge chunks will take longer to cook. I peel my apples, and then cut a horizontal line right through to the core. I then slice vertically, working my way around the apple. The pieces are fairly random, but I keep them thinnish...no giant chunks. This also results in more surface area for sugar and spice to be absorbed.

    Needless to say, in this application I'm not concerned with 'pretty' slices; I save that for Tart Tatin and other desserts where appearance is critical.
     
     
  7. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,781
    Likes Received:
    373
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    I guess, you have to cook them until they are tender?  I toss mine in sugar and spice.  When the caramel starts oozing out the crust I know they have to be done.  :)  Poke it with a knife for good measure and pull it out of the oven.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012
  8. petalsandcoco

    petalsandcoco

    Messages:
    3,207
    Likes Received:
    156
    Exp:
    Private Chef
    . Some folks use lard, some veg. shortening, others a mix, but I find tenderflake makes for a nice texture. Then there is the whole art of the pie crust, thats a bird of another feather. Pateachoux, when you can braid or encircle a crust with sculpted leaves the way you do, it brings pies to a  whole new art form.

    I use cortland apples for my pies.

    And may I be brazing to say I like a thin slice of old  cheddar with that pie.....I'm bad.
     
  9. prettycake

    prettycake Banned

    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    17
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    One thing I noticed when the filling is not pre cooked,  they shrink and the space between the top crust and the filling  is like a cave or a huge empty grave or space.   I like the cooked consistency and the filling is not somewhat dry.   I do not pre cook them until they are mushey or like baby food,  just enough for the apples to get a little soft..  as for the crust,  I combine shortening and butter.. All shortening makes crust hard,  but butter and shortening makes it flakey.  In my experience.
     
  10. chefedb

    chefedb

    Messages:
    5,516
    Likes Received:
    177
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    A lot of places are using frozen apples and they are not as good as fresh or even canned, They are chewy like a piece of bubble gum.
     
  11. pateachoux

    pateachoux

    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Culinary Student
    One of these days I'm going to try cheddar on apple pie. I read a lot about it one day when I was as bit obsessed with studying apple pie. It seems to be popular in the northeastern U.S.  I'm still not too sure about it, though.
     
  12. rrcos

    rrcos

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Other
    A couple of years ago, America's Test Kitchen posted a pie that called for precooking the apples..  I tried it and the pie was amazing. No air pockets and no mushy apples.. just a perfect pie.

     
  13. prettycake

    prettycake Banned

    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    17
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    THANK YOU... that is exactly what I was saying... air pockets/empty mass grave look terrible.  Pre cooking the filling will result to better looking and tasting  pie.  Apple pie that will  not taste like Apple tart.. a big difference..
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  14. pateachoux

    pateachoux

    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Culinary Student
    I believe that is what I said from the very beginning...
     
     
  15. kippers

    kippers

    Messages:
    181
    Likes Received:
    15
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    We have the Bramley cooking apple over here, its guaranteed to "fall" in a pie.I use the desert apple Cox Orange Pippins for tarts because they "hold" well. Birds custard cannot be beaten.
     
  16. chefedb

    chefedb

    Messages:
    5,516
    Likes Received:
    177
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Canned apple pie filling is cooked and many places have used for years.
     
  17. jayelmstreet

    jayelmstreet

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    These responses have been interesting to read. Thank you to all.  I think the precooking makes a lot of sense, but to play the devil's advocate, I'd like to re-ask the original question.

    I know my grandmother didn't precook her apples, and don't remember any huge air pockets--just perfect apple pie.

    So, what has happened? I still don't get why it seems this is so prevalent all of a sudden?  The people I know all used fresh apples. Maybe it is the fear of burning the crust so they are under-baking, but...
     
  18. michaelga

    michaelga

    Messages:
    1,237
    Likes Received:
    64
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    apples were only made into pie ...  after they were no longer 'good' to eat out of hand... ie. she was likely using very ripe (soft) but not rotten apples

    maybe also just the bruised ones (think  of bad apples - and what does a frugal grammy do?)
     
  19. prettycake

    prettycake Banned

    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    17
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Cutting the FRESH apples and pre cooking them is still considered fresh.  I myself do not use can.. Just because it is pre cooked does not mean it is not considered fresh..
     
  20. prettycake

    prettycake Banned

    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    17
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    I love repeating things  you know.  I enjoy it a lot  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/bounce.gif/img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif/img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif