Learning how to bake pies, especially if you want to make the crust from scratch, may seem like a big endeavor. However, warm pie straight from the oven is a gift everyone deserves, and for millions of Americans, apple pie is the pastry of choice. In fact, according to the American Pie Council, 36 million Americans call apple their favorite pie. The source also notes there are more than 230 varieties of apple pie in all! If you’re ready to make a go at this classic apple pie dessert, consider these four tips for taking your apple pie to the next level:
1. Make pie when apples are in season
Apples are generally in season from August through January, but you can usually find them up until early spring. This is the best time of year to make apple pie because the fruit is fresh and full of flavor. While you’ll likely be able to find some apples during late spring and summer, odds are there will be less variety and in general the apples will be more bland. Opt for berry pies in season during the summer and save the apple pie for once the leaves start changing colors.
2. Vary your apples
Eating Well suggests choosing two varieties of apples when making a pie to develop a deeper flavor profile. Apples have a wide range of flavor spread across the tart-to-sweet spectrum and also textures ranging from firm to soft, so try to use apples with distinctly different tastes and textures that complement one another.
3. Keep your crust cold
For the flakiest crust, you have to keep the ingredients cold as you mix them together. The American Pie Council even recommends using chilled bowls and utensils for the best results. Serious Eats adds that you should make sure to keep your butter in the refrigerator up until the moment you are about to make pie crust to ensure that it doesn’t get too warm.
4. Pre-cook your apples
Cooking your apples before baking your pie has a wide array of benefits. This measure will prevent your filling from shrinking as much during the baking time, which in turn will allow your crust to better maintain its shape. Serious Eats notes that this also allows the apple slices to become more tender during baking without them turning into mush. All in all, this leads to a better formed apple pie.