The Secret to Great Apple Pie
by Debra Ross
There are two kinds of apple pie:
The kind I make now, and the kind I used to make.
Here's how I used to make apple pie: I would peel wonderful, delicious, upstate New York Apples, chop them up, stir in some brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, a touch of nutmeg, and pile it high into a nice crust. I'd cover it with a second crust, poke some U-shaped holes in it with the end of my apple peeler, brush it with egg white, and bake it at 375 for about an hour and 15 minutes. I'd always end up with a high crust, but "settled" apples with space over them and a soggy crust underneath. I'd slice it, call it "apple mess," and feed it to my family. Most of us, except for finicky kids who didn't appreciate apple pie (!) loved it anyway.
But then the wonderful folks at Cook's Illustrated educated me about how to avoid the soggy crust and deflation issue:
After you slice the apples, cook them in a pot on the stove with a little bit of water, until they are still firm, but reduced in size. The cooking takes out the excess water, so you can fit in a LOT more apples underneath that crust. The crust is no longer soggy, and the whole thing stays together so that when you slice it, it looks, you know, like a PIE piece.
Here is the whole recipe for Deep-Dish Apple Pie from Cook's Illustrated, although you need an online subscription to read it.
© 2010, Debra Ross