There doesn’t ever need to be a reason to make pie, but this pie served a specific purpose
because I’m a nerd. I wanted to test out Bon Appetit Magazine‘s tip about roasting apple slices prior to making pie so that the filling doesn’t shrink so dramatically as it bakes. Because, as much as I love ALL pie, I hate when I bake a double crust apple pie and when I pull it from the oven, I find that the filling has shrunk down a good inch or two from the puffed top crust. Shrinking pie filling makes me very sad, and pie-making should always be a happy exercise.
For this pie, I started with 12 cups of sliced apples (that’s 4 pounds of whole apples!). Yes, you read that right: TWELVE cups of apple slices. I roasted the slices for about 45 minutes. They didn’t appear to have shrunk that much, but when I compared the volume of apple after baking, I realized I was left with a lot less, like 4-to-5-ish cups. That seemed just crazy to me but I had “so little” roasted apple that when I later filled the pie plate with the apples, it filled the crust snuggly without having to make a big mound in the centre. Imagine having to pile 12 cups of apples in a pie for a second. That’d basically be impossible had I not roasted the apples first. Perhaps the only plausible way to get all those raw apple slices into a pie would be to make a pie in a deep dish springform pan, arranging them ever so neatly to avoid any wasted space and gaps. Maybe that would work. Maybe.
Roasting the apple slices not only allowed me to cram the equivalent of 4 pounds of apples into one pie (woah!), but it also meant that I only had to mix in 2 tablespoons of flour to thicken the filling (instead of at least 5 had I not roasted the apples first). Basically, this technique prevented any extra ingredients getting in the way of the apple flavour in this pie.
By the way, I got this pie top cutter from Nordic Ware. It’s basically a giant cookie cutter for a pie top. Because of its intricacy and its size, it’s a little tough to use because you have to be sure to press evenly and hard enough to cut through the dough. To be honest, I didn’t press as evenly as I should have when I used the cutter, so I had to take a small pairing knife to finish some of the cuts. Still, I think the crust pattern turned out beautifully. The top crust cracked a little as the pie cooled and settled but hey, pie is not meant to be perfect. It’s pie. Having a warm homemade apple pie to enjoy basically erases every crack and imperfection in my mind.
The verdict: roasting the apple slices before making apple pie is a mind-blowing technique. The pie cuts beautifully, and there is hardly a gap between the top crust and the apple filling. The filling has an intense apple flavour that isn’t masked by a thickener because there’s hardly a need for a thickener here. Fine, it takes an extra hour (when you count the time to cool the apples) to prep the apples, but I think it’s absolutely worth it. I give this apple roasting technique from Bon Appetit Magazine a big thumbs up.
- 1.8 kg (4 lbs) Cortland apples
- 234 grams (3/4 cup) maple syrup
- 100 grams (1/2 cup) maple sugar (more or less depending on how sweet your apples are)
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 312 grams (2½ cups) all-purpose flour
- 173 grams (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 105 mL (7 tbsp) cold water
- 1 large egg
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lline two half sheet pans with parchment and set aside.
- Peel and core the apples. Cut them into quarters, then cut each quarter into three.
- Place the apple slices in a big bowl with the maple syrup and toss them to evenly coat them in syrup.
- Divide the slices between the two parchment-lined half sheet pans, arranging them in a single layer. Roast the apples for about 45 minutes, rotating the pans every so often.
- Let the apples cool then toss them with the flour and the maple sugar.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour and salt.
- Drop in the cold butter chunks and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse almond meal. Add the cold water and pulse until the mixture forms a dough.
- Divide the dough into two, pat into disks and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 45 minutes.
- Roll out one disk on a floured surface into a 13" disk. Transfer to a metal pie dish and trim the edges to ½".
- Pour filling into the pie and smooth it out.
- Roll the second disk of dough and use the Nordic Ware pie crust cutter to stamp out a pattern from the top crust, then top the pie with the crust. Trim the edge to 1" then fold the excess under. Crimp the edge of the pie.
- Whisk the egg in a small bowl and brush it over the entire surface of the pie crust. Freeze the pie for 45 minutes, then bake the pie on a baking sheet on the bottom rack for 30 minutes at 400ºF, then 50 minutes at 350ºF.
- Let cool slightly before serving.
Need some more pie inspiration? Try these!