an unorthodox apple pie: precook the filling!
this crust was easy to work with, but I'm looking for something even better!
I love apple pie and I'm still searching for the best flaky, tender, flavourful crust. The most recent recipe I tried (Barefoot Contessa) incorporated butter and shortening but I wasn't that impressed by the flavour (not buttery enough!) and the flakiness was somewhat lacking. It was okay. Not bad but not worthy enough for me to post.
A technique I did fiddle with was precooking the apple pie filling. I hate it when the crust sets up high and the filling shrinks down low in some recipes. You're left with this huge void in between the top crust and the filling. From research, I have found that in some recipes that the filling can be cooked ahead of time and then popped into the unbaked pie crust to be baked again. This seemed intriguing.
My mother had purchased 4 lbs of local organic Fuji apples at the annual Apple Festival at UBC. Precooking the apples on the stovetop totally worked out for me and I was happy with the consistency of my apples. Whereas previously with some recipes, I'd have about 3 cups of apple juice pooling around the bottom of a soggy crust, now I had a nice dry crust and a filling that held up when sliced. It wasn't all cornstarchy either. I was worried that the filling would overcook, but it hadn't done that at all.
Now, I just have to fix the crust problem! I realize the shortening is there to help alleviate the sunken filling syndrome, and it also helps with tenderizing, but I could really tell the shortening was there. I wasn't so impressed with the flavour. I have yet to try ATK's vodka instead of water technique. Perhaps it'll be my next crust to make.
Anyone out there have the best darned pie crust recipe?