Perfect pies

Thanks for the guidance. I look forward to discussing pie fillings.

What type of apples did you use?

I haven’t perfected my recipe, I used a combination of Braeburns and Macintosh and the Macs did not soften up like the Braeburns did. I don’t remember the time, but knowing me, it was probably overnight. I’ll try it again and report back.

If I really want to win, I probably have to fish the Macs out, heat till they’re the consistency I want, then put them back with the Braeburns. It’s getting quite finicky.

Do you ever use granny smith apples?

That’s useful insight. Overnight is for sure longer than I have ever tried marinating any apples in sugar and spices. Usually I just let sliced and peeled apples sit comparatively briefly while I roll out pie crust or thaw dough to make it workable.

As for apples, Cortlands and Macouns have been my tendencies.

Leaving the apples in sugar and spices for longer than I have in the past seems like a worthy culinary experiment.

I like using macouns and granny smith. Do you add much sugar? Which spices do you prefer?

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YES! Thank you!

Your apple combo of Macouns and Granny Smith sounds excellent. I am an occasional and basic baker of pie—though I love the stuff. My grandmother used sugar and cinnamon in highly inexact quantities, so that’s what I use in a fall apple pie.

I have a thing for Florida Crystals sugar as opposed to the fine-textured white sugar she had available, so that’s what I use. And I’m sure she used Crisco shortening and whatever apples and flour were priced best at the supermarket. Butter was too pricey for the family budget back in the day, but it made no difference in how we enjoyed her pies! My attempts, on the other hand, would benefit greatly from an all-butter pie crust. :wink:

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I have always wanted to try Kenji’s well-researched recipe:

Usually if I go homemade (about once a year), I put vodka in the crust and use all butter. It is crumbly and hard to work with but very tasty.

My husband’s family makes a cream cheese crust, which I don’t care for that much. It ends up being too thick and gummy with a tang.

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When I get over to the orchard I will decide based on which apples are avail for picking. I use very little if any sugar especially if the apple sugars are peak. I do use vanilla extract, fresh lemon juice, a dusting of cinnamon and a dusting of arrowroot. My secret weapon is a hit of fresh ginger juice (made with the elec juicer). A very tiny amt. Like many of you I let the apples sit a bit before adding to the crust and then decide if arrowroot is even necessary.

I am hoping the crust I just made works out nicely because it came together in minutes and feels very nice in the hand…something I notice when baking bread.

My birthday is Sunday…can anyone say birthday pie 3xs fast😊


I can say happy birthday! Wishing you a year of delicious breakfast pies!

How nice of you! Tyou. I was thinking chocolate cake but this thread and my trip to the orchard chgd my mind.

Some of the peaches we froze are also in the pie chute😉

Happy early birthday! I like a mix of apples. I feel like I get the most success from that. Ginger juice is interesting. I will need to try that out.

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My Mothers lemon meringue pie was always my birthday “cake” request when I was young!

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Let me know if you do try the fresh ginger juice and tyou.

Another delicious pie! A bit sweet for my tastes now but well made one I enjoyed in FL still holds a place in my food heart.

This is the recipe I use - the secret is in the technique, not the ingredients. I have made it with half lard half butter, all butter, half bacon grease, even half duck fat, etc. - it works perfectly with any fat. The first step, where you mix two-thirds of the flour with the butter until it is completely coated, is the key to a flaky crust that resists shrinking. This step is also part of the Cook’s Illustrated vodka pie crust recipe (which Kenji created for them), but his version without vodka proves that the vodka is really not necessary - while it does provide some insurance against gluten development, making sure most of the flour is fully coated with fat is really all you need.

Most are too sweet. Her’s was very tart and lemony. Only the meringue was sweet.


That’s the secret to good gravy too!

The recipe is identical to the other/earlier link posted but the method, which I am learning, is where Kenji and SE food testers really shine.

This morning, I took both sticks of unsalted butter out of the freezer and grated them first. The flour and sugar once combined quickly adhered to the butter and turned to dry peas😉 adding the water one tablespoon at a time and slowly working the dough worked nicely.

Adding vodka in place of all or part of the water? If I freeze the dough does that affect the dough since vodka doesnt freeze…