Tips on how to make perfect apple pies, plus recipes.
Pumpkin pie is a staple at most Thanksgiving tables, but other pies, like apple pie, are starting to give the classic confection a run for its money. According to the American Pie Council, we can trace pie back to the early 1500s and pie has evolved to become part of American culture, hence the phrase, “As American as apple pie”.
While pumpkin and apple are both holiday favorites, apple pie is an unsung hero when holiday time rolls around. Considering that apples are in season in some states well through December, shake up your pie routine this year with a few expert tips from Linda Hundt, owner of Sweetie-licious Bakery Cafe in DeWitt, Michigan.
Practice, Practice, Practice
If you’ve never baked a pie from scratch before, roll up your sleeves and get started. “The most important advice I can give novice pie bakers is practice, practice, practice”, said Hundt. “The more you hone your skills, the better your pie will be. I always equate baking with Olympic athletes: they win gold medals because they practice their game”.
Choose the Right Apples
With hundreds of varietals out there, it can be hard to select the perfect one for the perfect pie.
Hundt opts for Cortland or Ida Red apples, but also likes Spye and Granny Smith apples for their full, tart flavor.
When baking a pie for the first time, you’ll certainly want to follow a basic recipe, but it’s always good to be a little creative.
Hundt likes to add pecans, orange zest, cream, and brandy to her apple pies for a rich, delicious flavor that tastes even better on a special occasion.
Check for Doneness
As with any dish, it’s important to know your oven before you trust a cooking time listed on the recipe. “The first piece of advice I give someone making an apple pie is to ensure that it is done before you take it out of the oven,” Hundt said. “Pies can look done after they’ve been in the oven for a considerable amount of time but with apple, you should always check.
Use a sharp paring knife to insert into the center of the pie after an hour of baking. The pie is only done when the knife easily slides through the apples.”