The leaves are starting to turn, there’s a nip in the air and nighttime-low temperatures are dipping below freezing. Those are all sure signs that Fall is upon us. Another indicator that Fall is here is that local Apples are starting to come in. And that calls for a refresher on Fruit Pie Basics!
Oh, I love a fresh Apple Pie made with new-crop Fruit and baked just right – Golden crust on the top and not soggy on the bottom!
But I keep hearing from folks that they still have trouble keeping their bottom crusts from coming out too moist. That’s really a shame, when you’ve got great fresh fruit and all the spices you love in the dish… But there is a way to ensure you’ll never have a soggy bottom crust again! It’s simple and foolproof. And it can be adapted to a whole slew of Pies you might not try if you didn’t know the bottom-crust secret.
So, give with the secret, already!
Okay… Here it is: Preheat your oven to 425 F before putting the Pie in to bake. It’s that simple. Let the pie bake for the first 15 or 20 minutes at the high temperature before turning it down to 350-375 F for the remainder of the cooking time. Starting high sets and seals the bottom crust and keeps moisture from the filling from soaking in to it. And that’s all it takes.
A useful tip for many crusty projects!
And don’t think of this essential technique as applying only to Fall Fruit Pies! You need to use it to ensure perfect Pumpkin Pies, Custard Pies and Quiches, too! And how about Gratins and Glazed Tartes and… so many more?
I feel it’s really sad that one or two early bottom-crust failures sour so many cooks on pies with wet fillings. Those cooks are closing the door on a whole world of wonderful crusted experiences! And they are depriving their dining audiences, as well!
So be brave and take the high road…
…And commit now to make lots of Fruit and Custard Pies this fall!
Start with my Perfect Pastry. I posted a graduate-level seminar on Pastry a long time ago in this space and nothing has changed, since.
A couple of essentials:
- Use Pastry Flour, if you can get it. All-Purpose is okay, but Pastry Flour produces a perfect, short crispy Crust every time.
- Don’t go short on the Sugar in Fruit Pies. Sugar plus Pectin (the stuff that makes Jams and Jellies thicken) makes a firm, set filling.
- I always use an extra Egg in Custard Fillings to ensure the filling sets up firm and doesn’t sag when cutting and serving.
And that’s it for the Pie Crust pep talk…
Now, get out there and start baking!
~ Maggie J.