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!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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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