Apple Pie Filling
Submitted by KitchenBarbaria... on March 14, 2011 at 11:42 pm
Apple Ambrosia pie filling
For the whole Potential Pie Perfection Package:
First, the foundation of all pies, THE CRUST aka Perfect Pie Pastry Premix
Then, the center of it all, the apple pie filling aka Apple Ambrosia
And now the Parade Of Streusels
Streusel #1 - Sweet, Sweet Streusel
Streusel #2 - Foster's Best Crumb Topping Seeing as this already HAS a name, I don't feel good about changing it - Foster's Best it has been, and Foster's Best it shall continue to be!
Streusel #3 - Big-Frank's Beautiful Balanced Bakery Betopping Bits, AKA Professor-Frank's Pulchritudinous Pulverulence for Proper Pastry and Pie Peaks
6 to 7 c apple slices - 8 to 9 c if you want a very apple-y pie
1/2c to 2/3c brown sugar
1 T cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 T butter
Have your pie crust ready.
Wash, core, and slice the apples. I don't peel mine but you can if you want to. Cutting them in half helps make it easier to pack them into the pie.
If you're using sweet apples, use 1/2c of sugar. If they're pretty tart, use 2/3c.
Put in a large glass bowl or microwaveable casserole, about 2.5 to 3 qt size. Toss all ingredients together - I use a small sieve to sprinkle the cornstarch on.
Let macerate, preferably overnight, or for several hours if possible. 24 hours (in the fridge) seems to have the maximum benefit for most varieties of apple.
Microwave on high, loosely covered, for 3 to 4 minutes, until the apples are just barely beginning to cook. Let cool thoroughly. They will continue to cook a bit as they cool.
When the apples have cooled, pour off the liquid into a small microwaveable bowl and CAREFULLY (because overcooking it will make a gooey mess) boil it down just a little. In my microwave this takes a minute to a minute and a half at high. It will take longer if there is more juice due to overnight maceration. Watch carefully, depending on how powerful your microwave is you can ruin it before you know it. It will thicken further as it cools, so just look for a syrupy consistency. I usually find this at about 1/3rd of the starting volume.
NOTE: Essentially you are making something similar to Boiled Cider when you do this. This has the same flavor-enhancing benefits as adding boiled cider to the filling.
Meantime preheat the oven to 350F. You may reduce oven temp by 25F if you are using a Pyrex pie plate, but I've been finding it makes no difference so I don't anymore.
Put the apple pie filling into the pie crust, as densely as possible (jiggle, gently press, move bits around to fill empty spaces)
Pour the cooked down juices over the top - use a spatula to spread it around a bit.
Top with struesel if you want a dutch apple type pie; else cover with a lattice or other pie crust topping.
Bake until the bottom crust is done, 45 mins to an hour.
Cover the top crust loosely with foil part way through - use your judgment - so it doesn't burn.
Placing the pie pan on a preheated baking stone will help the bottom crust to cook more evenly with the top - if using Pyrex or ceramic, wait until at least 10 minutes after placing in the oven before moving from the top rack to the baking stone to avoid shattering the pie plate.
Remove the foil when the pie crust looks nearly done to finish browning the top, if necessary.
Let cool thoroughly before slicing.
NOTE: I have since repeated my success with MacIntosh apples as pie filling. While they were noticeably softer than other types of apples (when using this method of preparation), they were nowhere near "mushy" and very far indeed from the soupy apple sauce others often report. I like the flavor better than many other varieties available to me from the grocery store. Preparing the apples for filling this way not only reduces liquid so you don't get gummy pie crust on the bottom, but also results in a firmer texture to the apples than if you didn't parcook.