Monday, November 9, 2009

A Classic American Apple Pie – Warning: This Video Recipe is Almost All Filler

I really wanted to do a from-scratch apple pie video, complete with my Aunt Angela's famous homemade crust, but with my chicken wing video blowing up all over the web, and the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival this weekend demanding my time and attention, I took the easy way out (I'm looking at you Sandra Lee), and used a pre-made pie dough.

Besides, if you're not an experienced pie baker (and let's face it, you're
not), there's nothing wrong with a little ready-to-use dough, as long as it's filled with this fantastic apple pie filling.

What will strike you about this filling is just how
few ingredients go in it. Sliced apples baked with sugar taste really, really good, and we don't want to mess with that too much. For me, a little pinch of nutmeg and some cinnamon is all this timeless combination needs.

The other key here, compliments of my mother Pauline, is to use multiple types of apples. There are subtle differences in flavor and texture with the wide variety of baking apples (basically defined as anything except Red Delicious). This is a classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.

You can see the apple blend I used in the ingredient list below, but there are an endless number of combinations (not literally! I know how you math people are – you were so going to send me an email, weren't you?)

Anyway, I hope you give this delicious apple pie filling a try, and if you were going to shock the world and bake a homemade pie for dessert for one of the upcoming holiday meals, this would be a great choice. Enjoy!



Ingredients:
6-8 baking apples (depending on size) I used 2 Granny Smith, 2 Braeburn, 2 Fuji
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 cup white sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
very tiny pinch of salt
2 tbsp butter
1 egg, beaten
ready to use pie dough (I used Pillsbury)

83 comments:

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the award!! I happily voted for you. You're the best.
That being said, I gotta tell you when it comes to making pies, I have no sense of humor. I AM an experienced pie maker (including superior crust) and have been making all kinds of pies, including hundreds of apple, for more than 46 years. How old are you again?
I do agree that several types of apples are the way to go. In my kitchen, Granny Smith will NEVER be one of them--they don't seem to get soft. Braeburn, Fuji, Early Gold (my personal favorite), Macintosh, Ginger Gold are all great in my not so humble opinion.

Chef John said...

thanks, great tip about the Granny Smith, I'll never use it again.

Anonymous said...

I like the texture of the crisper Granny Smith in my apple pie... so thanks, "experienced pie maker," but no thanks.. Like so many other foods, it's a matter of "taste" and I'm not baking an apple pie that resembles softened, chunky, applesauce inside a crust.

Pssst - never a good idea to admit to no sense, especially "no sense of humor!"

irksome1 said...

So . . . how about a video that shows how to cut and extract that first piece of pie from the pan?

Anonymous said...

Puleeeeze, I told you I have no sense of humor when it comes to pie making!

Chef John said...

hmmm... pie extraction secrets... that could go viral!!

Anonymous said...

Yes, make more "How To" videos with Turkey Tips & Carving 101 your next... slow and detailed. American hosts need this at their tables, running as a podcast, for the 26th of Nov.

Bid said...

This pie recipe takes the cake....wait, what?

Bid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

he'll do the jokes... :)

niall said...

Hey Chef John,
does this apple pie have a soggy bottom crust with all that juice and no pre-baking?

cheers

Chef John said...

soggy is not the right word. The crust is cooked and then caramelized in the syrup. I don't think any fruit pie really keeps a dry crispy crust, so I've never really thought about it. Precooking wouldn't change the fact that all that caramelized apple syrup will be covering it.

Anonymous said...

i also would never make an apple that resembles softened, chunky applesauce, anonymous. What ever gave you the idea that I would?
And the Granny Smith thing is simply my opinion. I'm delighted for you that you're able to have your own.

grodriguez said...

I had no idea it was so easy, or at least, you make it look easy! I can't wait to give this a try and surprise some people I know with my pie prowess.

Anonymous said...

congratulations on the foodbuzz award you deserve it!

omnia said...

Congrats on the award!!we happily voted for you. You're my best blog ever . my family and i enjoy every meal we made from Ur blog . i live in Marrakesh and Moroccan food is very good but u r the best, thank u for the recipes and the good time .

DeLynn said...

I cheered right when your 'cheer' sound byte did, perfect timing Chef John. Congratulations ! I was gearing up to open a can of whoop cream if you didn't win. You rock! This pie looks delicious, the other apple pie you made is DELICIOUS!

DeLynn said...

PS: Can we get a peanut butter cookie recipe some time? ;)

Trevor Eichberg said...

Hey Chef,

Off topic, but you're getting a lot of love on Reddit.com this morning. "How to eat a chicken wing" is at the top of the page: http://www.reddit.com/

Pam said...

As soon as I saw the title for today's blog entry, I knew it would generate many comments.

I been making pies (and crust) from scratch almost 40 yrs. I agree, that things often come down to personal preference.

For those who want to experiment, may I suggest finding some Heritage apples such as Northern Spy, Winesap, or Cortland and see what amazing layers of flavors you can create.

Anonymous said...

What I want to know is how you manage to get that beautiful crust to stay so wonderfully rounded. It is simply gorgeous. Mine always sinks down on top of the apples.
BTW, your caramel apple pie is still my personal favorite!
Jackie

missfoxxxxxxx said...

My mom taught me the same trick with the 3 different kinds of apples. Beautiful looking pie! I never thought of putting egg wash on top, I guess that's why you're the Chef! Congratulations on your well-deserved win!!!

Amelia PS said...

well: first things first: congratulations for your win: as the video says: YEAH!!!

You make everything look so easy and you are so wonderfully calm when preparing your dishes, no sense of rush. perfect!

KrazyKook said...

Couple things I do when making most pies. I add a light sprinkle of sugar on the bottom crust. (gives air space to help from getting soggy) When making apple pie I add a can of pears (slice and mix with apples)then you wont need to add all that juice thats left in bowl to boil out.

Anonymous said...

Good Evening Chef John, I made this pie today and we are eating it RIGHT NOW! I used 2 Fuji, 2 Spartan and 2 Honeycrisp and did everything you did exactly. The pie is delicious (I like that some of the apples hold their shape and still have some tooth) and the top crust was really very nicely dark browned and crisp like yours. I did, however, end up with quite a bit of runny syrup that never did thicken up even as the pie cooled, so the bottom crust was too moist. (I called it pie soup but we still enjoyed it). I did have lots of large vent holes so that was not the problem. I know that I will be asked to make this again so am wondering what I should try differently next time. I have not made a lot of apple pies before so do not have experience to draw on. My first instinct would be to increase the cornstarch. Or maybe add flour as well? Will more thickener help? What would happen if I used too much?

Chef John said...

Impossible to say! Maybe some more cornstarch (i dont like flour) and maybe cook longer. so many variables... keep making pie

karimakene said...

Good Evening Chef John
im from Estonia and im ur big fan
i hope to make this pie tomorrow,i hope that my husband will like it too,usually he eat all what i cook but he prefer more his country(arabic) food than others but i want sometimes smth else than only 1 stile food i mean only red colour and spicy.ok enough from me and i wish all the best to u
i try this cheese what u made, it was yummy

Anonymous said...

If you follow me on Twitter you probably know, but I'm officially announcing here on the blog that I've signed an agreement with Parragon Publishing to do a cookbook!

Oh yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I want a signed copy.

thank you thank you thank you.

Made my day.

Yeah! :o)

Keep us posted.

I absolutely want a signed copy.

(I have never asked or wanted a signed copy ever from anyone before).

Love C.

Melissa said...

My mother-in-law and I both love your videos and decided to make your apple pie for lunch yesterday. Thanks for the tip on types of apples! We went with granny smith (we like the firm texture), braeburn and fuji and your video gave us the courage to use 8 apples and pile them higher than ever before! Your pie recipe was easy and really, really good. And along with the modest-looking-yet-surprisingly-delicious oatmeal pie I made earlier in the week, your pie has cemented my status as pie queen in our family. I owe it all to you!

P.S. Is it dorky for me to love knowing that you, an AWARD WINNING FOOD CELEBRITY, and I, a simple Midwest accountant, both have the exact same deep dish pie plate?! Well, us and a gazillion other Americans. :)

Chef John said...

thanks! and yes, it is dorky... ;-)

Melissa said...

I know.

Anonymous said...

"Apple Pie!!" "No actually it's apple filling!!" OG, Hilarious!

Eliza said...

Hi, i too was wondering how you can extract the first slice or maybe the whole pie out of the dish? Would baking in a spring form dish help? Is there any other solution? Thanks a lot!

Chef John said...

i didn't have a problem, just slice and scoop

hamad said...

hay chef,
this is shay from Australia. I tried your recipe. it actually reminded me of my mom's which she has took it from a lady when she visidted USA. I loooved it and my wife's too.

it was a total success eventhough I haven't used cornstarch and not that many apples. I would love to send the pictures of the pie (filling) to you. I wonder how? :)
thanks a lot

Anonymous said...

Ciao Chef John,
ti scrivo dall'Italia, ho provato moltissime tue ricette e mi sono piaciute tutte!!!
La tua apple pie รจ FANTASTIC!!!
Congratulations!!!
Ciao Barbara

Educating Maureen said...

hi chef john,

i stumbled upon your recipe on the internet today because my four year old wants to make an apple pie. i have always wanted to, so i said, why not? your youtube recipe popped up first and you made it look so gosh darn easy, that i am going to the store as soon as i hang up to go and get the ingredients i don't have and begin your aunt's recipe. thanks so much, i am very excited. by the way, i started a blog on here as well, but it is not nearly as well put together as yours. GREAT JOB!

Amanda said...

I made my first pie today with this recipe and it was amazing! thank you so much for posting it!

rhiannon.adkison said...

Hiya, Chef! I've made this recipe twice(and both times it was a foodgasm in my mouth), and both times the sauce/filling is always super liquid-y. And, I've followed the recipe EXACTLY. Maybe it's my oven? It is dated oven-technology I suppose. Any tips?

Chef John said...

could be, but eventually it would cook and thicken. Not sure!

Anonymous said...

Would it hurt to not add lemon juice? I don't have any handy at the moment.

Chef John said...

you can omit

Anonymous said...

I forgot to dot the apples with butter, is it still going to be good or am i going to hell?

Anonymous said...

I forgot to dot the apples with butter. Is it still going to be good?, or am I going to hell?

Chef John said...

should be ok!

Audrey said...

Happy Thanksgiving Day Chef John!! I love following your recipes and you are a great chef. My boyfriend thinks your cool! :) I'm using this recipe for today. Enjoy the holiday try to stay warm.

Anonymous said...

hello chef john,

i'm currently studying in manchester, uk and i couldn't find pillsbury or any refrigerated pie crust. do they sell those in uk?

Chef John said...

Sorry, no idea! did you google?

latoya said...

OMG! WHAT A GREAT PIE! The only thing I did different was...I didnt pour any juices over the apples. I used your caramel sauce recipe and drizzled some on the top crust. After the pie was cooked, I drizzled more caramel sauce over my individual slice. The pie had a crisp bottom layer and top layer..SOOOOO GOOD! Thanks so much for sharing!

xiaobao12 said...

chef john,

is it okay to use store bought pie crusts? i have two of them. could i just place one on the bottom, filling, and then use puff pastry to top it off? thank you!

Chef John said...

Yes!!

Kalvin said...

Ive watched your blog for at least a year now. This is the first recipe of yours that I have ever actually tried to make. Its in the oven right now, lets see if I did it right. ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef. I have a few questions. If i make mini-sized apple pies with this filling, how many mini-sized apple pies could i get approximately? I'll be using a standard muffin tins, is that okay? I'm going to make this for my friends and family. Thanks Chef!

Chef John said...

I wish I could tell you! But, i've never tried that and would have to test. Maybe 8?

Anonymous said...

Oh, Okay. Thanks Chef.

Anonymous said...

Heya chef john!
I'm 15, and have tried baking your pie before, it was so delicious the whole thing was gone in 15 mins after it cooled!

But the bottom crust always gets soft and soggy after baking, would pre-baking the base first help?
I've considered removing draining half of the 'good sauce' which might result in a non-soggy bottom crust, but a drier pie..

Any solutions? Thanks!

Chef John said...

can't really prebake the crust. never been a problem for me, so not sure what to say. Should be browned and soaked with syrup. this is normal.

Anonymous said...

ok, thanks chef!

Wendy said...

Hi Chef John
I am a new 'fan' of yours, and have already ear-marked some of your recipes to try out over the next few weekends ! Read somewhere that the secret of getting the pie base to be crisp is to sprinkle some sugar on the bottom of the pie dish before lining it with the pastry. Am gonna try that this weekend. Thanks for sharing your recipes.
Cheers!
Wendy from Singapore

CookieMeister said...

I just found the website today and I can't stop watching videos! I want to make everything I've seen! I just wanted a simple chili recipe and now I'm wanting to make bread and apple pie and pancakes! Stop it!
I think I love you.

Anonymous said...

This is very similar to my recipe, just replace the lemon juice with orange juice. Make a glaze of powdered sugar and orange juice, when pie is done and still warm, pour over top. This is a favorite with my family.

Yvonne A said...

Hi Chef John,
Thanks for the great recipe. Since my family has many diabetics, I started with your recipe and replaced the sugar with 1 cup of Splenda and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. The pie turned out great, if I do say so myself, even if it was less juicy than yours in the video. My brother-in-law, who has eaten my lower sugar offerings for many years, said it was my best ever! Thanks again.

PS I used Marie Calendar frozen pie crusts and they were almost as good as homemade.

Anonymous said...

In some applepies people put raisins.
In other applepies people put nuts.
There are applepies that have no dough on top...but slices of apple with caramel.
There are also applepies with chocolate inside.

But maybe your recipe is the classical american applepie.
I am from Europe..

Vivianne

chalkboard said...

Hi Chef John,

I wanted to share with you, having grown up in the midwest, that this classic apple pie recipe really nails it for the bread-basket folks. This is the pie you couldn't wait for at Grandma's Sunday dinner.

Tung said...

no preheat??

Tung said...

thanx a lot. I love ur recipe and wanna try soon but I wonder no preheat???

Anonymous said...

Hi, Chef John!

I just made my first pie ever with your recipe for the pie crust and the filling. The only thing I did differently was, I noticed a lot of juice at the bottom of my filling, so before I dumped the apples to my pie crust I heated the liquids so it would thicken to a syrup-y consistency. (Just sharing) Well anyway, I had a bit of a problem with the crust; by 30 minutes, some parts were a little too dark (almost black) so I was wondering if I did something wrong? I placed an aluminum foil on top of it as a quick remedy-- is this normal? Could my oven be the problem?

Chef John said...

That's normal, just cover with foil if getting too dark.

Anonymous said...

I made mine today and the crust was nice looking, just like your video, but then I cut it and it was all runny and watery :(

I mean, it tastes good, but sorta like eating poached apple.

I only had fuji apples available though, is that probably why it turned out badly?

Anonymous said...

Ran out of nutmeg:( Is it ok for me to omit it?

Anonymous said...

I just made this apple pie. I baked it at 375F for 50 minutes and my pie came out all burnt the top and bottom crust

Anonymous said...

I absolutely loved the video! It was really fun making that pie, thank you :)

Anonymous said...

Can you make and freeze an apple pie ahead of time and cook it when you're ready? If so how far ahead of time and do you need to defrost before cooking? Thanks

Chef John said...

Sorry, I've never done!

Toshiko Suisei said...

Dear Chef John, your new post for apple hand pies led me here because I can't wait for your butter pie crust recipe! That pie crust you were working looks amazing! If I may please I would like to offer a few tips to the comments here.
-To deal with a too liquidy filling, try replacing the cornstarch with 2 Tbls instant tapioca granules. Those tiny taste-neutral granules soak up the apple juice and turn into beautiful little super-soft pearls of gushy apple juice yum nestled around every piece of apple - holding the spicy liquid to the apples.
-To deal with a gummy bottom crust try giving up on using anything other than a metal pie pan. Try brushing egg white very lightly over the bottom crust before adding the filling. Try baking the pie in the bottom third of the electric oven on a heavy sheet pan (or broiler pan w/o the rack part) lined with foil and fully preheated with the oven to 425F.
-To deal with over-browned crust try placing a pie crust shield after the first 20 min of baking and reduce heat to 375F, and if the top starts to over brown, lay a sheet of foil on top (flat so the steam isn't trapped).
~Just a few tips from a woman with an electric stove :)

Dar said...

The pie, as well as all the other recipes look great!
What has helped me have a crispier bottom crust is to reduce the liquid from the bowl before I put it into the crust. I also bake at 3:50, as I have a convection oven, which tends to brown crusts at recommended tempuratures.
Thanks for the great website!

Tammy R. Esposito said...

I've made this pie last year around the holiday's and it came out incredible. I made it once since then upon request because my family loved it so much. I love to bake but between work and finishing my degree, I'm always so busy. I've been requested to make it again and I don't deviate at all. The recipe is awesome! My next venture is to make my own crust. - Thanks for the video and the recipe that made me the best apple pie maker in my family.

Laura H said...

I have never been very successful making apple pie. This recipe has turned me into a seasoned master baker! It was delicious, I used court land! honey crisp and gala apples. And a prepackaged crust. Thanks so much, Chef John!

Laura H said...

I made your classic apple pie yesterday....to rave reviews! I have never been much of a baker....at least a pie baker, anyway. I used courtland, gala,and honeycrisp apples....and a Pillsbury crust. It was a truly delicious pie! Thanks so much, Chef John!

Joy Pak said...

Hi Chef John! I'm such a huge fan!! I was just wondering if i HAVE to make the pie using the classical glass pie pan! I'm wondering if I can use the regular grey cake pans! Hope you can help me! Thank you

Jennifer Strong said...

I'm trying this this year instead of buying a pre-made pie. Question: I'm diabetic so I can't really use sugar. Can I use Splenda instead with the same result or do I have to use sugar?

DeniseRedRose said...

nothing to say, just... :Q_
my name now is Gluttony.

Ines Cardillo said...

I baked an apple pie (not your recipe). Had a problem with the filling. I used Granny Smith and Golden Delish. The filling was so mushy. Did I overcook the pie? Please let me know. I'm open to advice. I will be using your recipes next time, but I want to prevent the mushy filling.