It is definitely pie time! Are you tired of soupy fillings and soggy under-cooked crusts? I remember the first time I made apple pie....My dad was reallyyyyy upset....Um...I kinda ruined the oven because the pie boiled over in the oven and made a big burned mess (not to mention the fire alarm that I set off) I've made many a pie since then and have learned some things about pies. (this one in the picture is from last Thanksgiving!) For a successful apple pie, there are a few things you can do to get great results. Here are some tips to get started.
1. Make sure your pie dough is cold. Whether you are using store-bought or homemade crust, make sure you have it well refrigerated before rolling it out. (By the way, lard makes the best crust....I know, I know....it'll kill you...but I'm just sayin!)
2. If you want a nice, high domed pie that doesn't shrink after cooking, you must gently precook the apples before putting them in the crust. This allows the apples to "reduce" and do their shrinking before they go in the oven. There are several recipes online that suggest this....These are the recipes you want to go to.
3. Start baking the pie (this applies to fruit pies only) at 425 F. for the first 15-20 minutes. This allows the crust to set before the juices from the apples can make it soggy. Then, turn the oven down to the suggested temperature for the remaining cooking time.
4. If you see that your pie is getting overly brown around the edges, use a "foil tent" to stop the browning process. This just means taking strips of tin foil and strategically placing them around the edge of the crust to prevent further cooking.
5. Use brown sugar instead of white sugar in your pie. It really gives it that over the top flavor.
6. Salt, Lemon Juice, and Butter! Put 'em in.... Really. I find that a small pinch of salt as well as a teaspoon or two of lemon juice brighten the flavor of the apple pie mixture. Also, I put a few small dollops of butter on top of the apple mixture before adding a top crust.
7. Please bake your pie on a piece of Heavy Duty foil or a foil lined cookie sheet...Otherwise you may have the mess I had when I made my first pie!
8. Use firm, tart apples such as Granny Smith. Other varieties such as Fuji become mealy or mushy when cooked. At the very least, use a mixture of half Granny Smith and half of a sweet variety, like Jonathon.
9. During the last 15 minutes of cooking take a tablespoon of corn syrup mixed with a tablespoon of hot water and butter and brush it over the top of the crust for shine. You can also put a small sprinkling of turbinado sugar on top of the glaze just for pretty.
10. Don't cut the pie until it's completely cooled. The pie needs time to reabsorb the juices that the apples put out during cooking. If you cut it while it's hot, it will collapse and the juices will run out into the crust making it soggy...
Happy Pie Making! If you have questions or comments, let me know!!! I'd be happy to help...Blessings, Leandra