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Merle is asking: (3 answers)
When I make an apple pie, I pile up the apples and always use a top crust. It comes out of the oven looking absolutely gorgeous. When it cools, the crust is still nice and high and all the apples have shrunk down leaving a huge empty space between the apples and the crust. It still tastes delicious, but looks silly. Are my apples sliced too thin or am I using the wrong apples? Please help!?

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Last updated: Jan. 10, 2014 9:13 pm
Posted: Jan. 8, 2014 8:07 pm
Answered by: Marie C.
Jan. 8, 2014 8:49 pm
You need to precook the apples. From America's Test Kitchen. "When apples are used in a pie, they shrink to almost nothing, leaving a huge gap between the top crust and filling. Precooking the apples eliminates the shrinking problem and actually helps the apples hold their shape once baked in the pie. This seems counterintuitive, but here's what happens: when the apples are gently heated, their pectin is converted to a heat stable form that prevents the apples from becoming mushy when cooked further in the oven. The key is to keep the temperature of the apples below 140° during the precooking stage. Rather than cooking the apples in a skillet (where they are likely to become too hot), it's best to gently heat the apples and seasonings in a large covered Dutch oven. Cooling the apples before putting them in the pie crust is essential so that the butter in the crust doesn't melt immediately. Finally, we drain almost all of the juice from the apples (reserving just 1/4 cup) to ensure a perfectly juicy and moist, but not soupy, apple pie."
Jan. 8, 2014 9:08 pm
Marie, I never thought of precooking the apples. I will have to try that. Thanks!
Jan. 8, 2014 9:19 pm
Happy baking. :)
Jan. 9, 2014 2:46 am
If you precook the apples, makes sure to use a proven/pro recipe that suggests that technique. Some I have tried end up more like applesauce by the time it comes out of the oven.
Jan. 9, 2014 5:40 am
Snap! Thanks for the info Marie.
Jan. 9, 2014 6:30 am
Your welcome.
Jan. 9, 2014 6:50 am
You're! I have to stop doing that!
Jan. 9, 2014 7:37 am
I love the high crust. It proves that you have made the pie from fresh apples! The apples shrink down as they release their liquid during the baking.
Jan. 9, 2014 7:46 am
I would just make a few extra cuts in the top or better yet a cutout. Keeps the steam escaping while cooking instead of lifting the crust up in the first place.
Jan. 9, 2014 8:52 am
The crust doesn't lift up the apples shrink. You can also precook the apples on the stove top. Use a covered Dutch oven, stir frequently, and most important use an instant read thermometer to make sure the apples don't go past the 140°.
Answered by: Heide
Jan. 9, 2014 4:03 pm
I've just recently read that you should slice your apples into thin slices vs. wedges. Haven't tried it but makes sense.
Jan. 9, 2014 9:27 pm
Heide, I do slice my apples into thin slices and that's what I thought I was doing wrong. It looks like the apples shrink down when the pie starts to cool down. I may try Marie's idea where you pre cook the apples so they already will be cooked down. Then, when I add my top crust, I won't have to worry about shrinkage and the top crust won't be standing in the air all by itself.
Jan. 9, 2014 9:31 pm
Marie, I wonder why the temperature can't go over 140 degrees. As long as I don't use a soft apple (MacIntosh, etc.) what difference would it make? How long would I need to precook them? I guess it is like parboiling something (so as not to overcook it).
Answered by: suesee3
Jan. 10, 2014 1:57 pm
Jot is right, pile up high your sliced apples (not cooked if that's the recipe your following) and be sure that there is enough venting in the crust to let the steam out, this will prevent the crust from making a big empty balloon on your pie.
Jan. 10, 2014 8:17 pm
suesee3, I actually do vent my crust. Either I do a lattice top or do cut-outs. My pies get plenty of ventilation and I still have the empty crust after my pie cools. Maybe I will use less apples, so they won't have to shrink so much. lol!
Jan. 10, 2014 8:25 pm
Merle, they will need to be cooked about 15 to 20 minutes. As the ATK said the pectin in the apples becomes heat stable at the 140°. I have used this method and it does work.
Jan. 10, 2014 9:13 pm
Thanks Marie, I will definitely try this method the next time I make an apple pie.
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