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Secrets to making the best apple pie

I'm Sarah - wife to my amazing husband, John, and mom to two little girls, Cami and Maisie.  I used to work in the finance industry before having my daughters, and now I'm a freelance personal finance writer and blogger.  I love being wi...

Apple pie tips

Fall has finally arrived! What better way to ring in the new season than with a fresh, crisp, homemade apple pie? Here, we're sharing tips on baking the perfect one.

Apple pie tips

Apple pie should never be short of anything other than fabulous. Growing up, my mom always took her pies very seriously, and it showed in the end result. The crust was flaky, the apples were crisp and each bite you took had you craving more. Since apple pies are relatively easy to mess up, we thought we'd share tips on making yours perfect. Whether you're making one for Thanksgiving dinner or just craving one on a Sunday afternoon with family, don't settle for anything but the best!


Keep the butter cold and don't cut it too small

When thinking of the perfect pie, the first thing that comes to mind is a flaky, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth crust. To achieve this, keep the butter or margarine cold until it's ready to use. Also, don't be afraid to cut it into random-sized pieces instead of cutting it consistently. Together, these two tricks give the crust the much-desired flaky texture.


Choose the right apple

The crust and the apples will either make or break your pie. Since we've figured out the crust, it's time to pick the best apple. Since tastes vary, there's no "one" apple that works perfectly. Our two favorites are:

  • Golden Delicious: Both sweet and tart, golden delicious apples stay crisp when cooked. Make sure to buy the freshest ones and bake right away. If you wait too long, the end result will be mushy instead of crisp.
  • Granny Smith: Granny Smith apples will definitely provide the pie with the crispness you're looking for along with a tart flavor. Balanced with cinnamon and sugar and a flaky, golden crust, and you've got one perfect pie.

Don't go overboard with seasoning

While you certainly want your pie to have a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg, going overboard will reduce the apple flavor of the pie (and aren't you making an apple pie?). Some recipes don't even call for cinnamon or nutmeg and instead rely solely on brown sugar for sweetening. We recommend one teaspoon of cinnamon and nutmeg each at a maximum.


Precook the apples

This simple step will take your pie from good to great. Instead of throwing the raw apples into the pie and baking, precook your apples first. Baking them raw causes them to shrink, leaving your pie looking flat and less-than appealing. To precook, you can cook them in the microwave, stir them in a pan over the stove, steam them or bake them in the oven. Don’t overcook — you're simply looking to soften the apples in preparation for the baking.


Let it cool completely

It's tempting to want to dig in to the pie as soon as you take it out of the oven (very tempting!), but let it cool completely before diving in. If you don't, the pie will be runny since it hasn't had a chance to set yet. Chilled pie also allows you to taste more of the flavors than one fresh from the oven. Let it rest on the counter a few hours before eating. For best results, store the pie on the counter for up to two days and then in the refrigerator for two or three more days.

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