Apple pie is a firm favourite when it comes to British desserts – with variants available all over the world… tarte tatin anyone?
Baking your own apple pie can be a fun and rewarding activity, but there are a few things that should be taken into consideration. Destiny Foods has put together some top tips to help you with the more complicated aspects.
Par-cook your apples
Not many people know this, but par-cooking your apples will ensure that they retain their shape, as well as a bit of al dente firmness when you bake them. Not only this, but it will help remove the air pocket between the layer of apples and the crust which happens when you add your apples raw. There are many ways to par-cook your apples, such as stirring them in a pan, heating them in the microwave or even just pouring boiling water over them and letting them sit for a while.
Keep your ingredients cold
In terms of pastry, keeping your ingredients (and your equipment) cold will ensure that you end up with a flaky and tender crust. The flaky layers in the crust occur when the butter chunks are flattened in between the flour and water mix. If the butter chunks get too warm, they will mix with the flour and water which will result in a singular, greasy crust similar to that of a shortbread. To avoid this, keep your butter in the fridge until the very last minute and try not to over-handle your equipment.
Choose your apples wisely
Most people will instantly pick their favourite apples when it comes to choosing the apple for their pie. However, there are factors that are more important than flavour. Pectin is a biological glue contained in apples that gives them their structure and shape. When you heat the apples, the pectin breaks down which will result in a mushy apple. However, if you pick an apple with a higher pH level (i.e. more acidic), the pectin is less likely to break down. Tarter apples tend to have a higher pH level, and therefore apples such as Granny Smith, Empire or Golden Delicious will work much better than Pink Lady or Red Delicious.
The temptation to eat your pie as soon as it is out of the oven is gargantuan, but letting it rest for a few hours will always give you better results. The texture of apple pie is much better at room temperature, and slicing your pie whilst it’s too hot will result in a runny and wet finish, as opposed to a beautiful glaze.