Whether it’s eaten for Independence Day, Thanksgiving, or an everyday weekend, apple pie is a truly American institution that few people can honestly say they dislike. With its sweet and tart filling, flaky crust, and warming spices, what’s not to love? But, to make a truly great apple pie, you need to know how long to let it bake.
Generally speaking, you should bake your apple pie at 400° Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes to an hour. This will ensure that the filling is cooked through and the crust is golden brown and flaky. However, every oven is different, so it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your pie and give it a few extra minutes in the oven if necessary.
Unlike a whole turkey or a flank of roast beef, baked goods take a certain level of perfectionism to get right. You can’t simply let it sit and bake indefinitely. To help you make a perfect apple pie, though, we’ll guide you through the steps and share some ultimate tips for first-time bakers.
Preheat the Oven and Don’t Let the Temperature Fluctuate
Baking is a bit of a science. It’s a combination of chemistry and physics, and even a small change in temperature can affect the outcome of your dish. When you’re baking an apple pie, you want the filling to be cooked through but not mushy, and the crust should be flaky and golden brown.
To ensure that your pie comes out perfectly, preheat your oven to the correct temperature before you even start making the filling. This way, the oven will be at the right temperature by the time you’re ready to put the pie in.
It’s also important not to open the oven door too often while the pie is baking. Every time you do, the heat escapes and the oven has to work harder to get back up to temperature. This can cause the pie to become overcooked or uneven.
If you’re unsure if the pie is done, you can always check the temperature of the filling with a food thermometer. The filling should be between 160-170° Fahrenheit and leave a brownish apple residue on the metal tip of the thermometer.
Consider Blind Baking the Crust
If you’re not a fan of a soggy bottom, you may want to consider par-baking the crust. Par-baking is when you bake the crust for a short amount of time before adding the filling. This helps to cook the dough slightly so that it doesn’t turn out raw and doughy when the pie is done.
To blind bake the crust, simply line the pie dish with the dough and then preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit. Once the oven is preheated, bake the crust for 8-10 minutes. Then, remove it from the oven and let it cool slightly before adding the filling.
It’s also important to use some sort of weight to prevent the crust from bubbling up. You can use pie weights, dried beans, or even raw rice. Just make sure to evenly distribute the weight so that the crust cooks evenly.
Use the Right Type of Apple to Avoid a Soggy Crust
There are dozens of different types of apples out there, and each one has its own unique flavor and texture. When you’re making an apple pie, you want to use a type of apple that will hold up well to the baking process and won’t turn to mush.
Some of the best types of apples for pie are Granny Smith apples. They’re tart and have a firm texture, so they won’t liquify when you bake them. Other good options include Honeycrisp apples, Braeburn apples, and Golden Delicious apples.
Once you’ve selected the type of apple you want to use, it’s time to start prepping them. The first step is to wash the apples and then cut them into even slices. This may seem like a tedious task, but it’s important to make sure that the apples are all the same size so that they cook evenly.
If you want to make things even easier, you can always use a mandolin to slice the apples. Just be sure to use the guard that comes with it to protect your fingers and prevent any unwanted accidents.
Adding a Top Crust vs. Leaving the Pie Open
Once you’ve added the filling to the pie dish, it’s time to add the top crust. If you’re using a store-bought crust, simply unroll it and place it over the top of the filling. If you’re making your own crust, roll it out into a thin sheet and then place it over the top.
Once the crust is in place, use a fork or your fingers to crimp the edges and seal in the filling. Then, cut a few vents into the top of the crust to allow the steam to escape while the pie is baking.
If you don’t want to add a top crust, you can always leave the pie open. This is called a Dutch apple pie and it’s a popular option for those who don’t like the taste of crust or want a lower-calorie option.
To make a Dutch apple pie, simply add the filling to the pie dish and then top it with a streusel topping. This is usually a combination of flour, sugar, butter, and spices. Once the streusel is in place, bake the pie as directed.
A Few Helpful Tips to Improve Your Apple Pie
It’s hard to mess up an apple pie, but by getting a little more technical with your skills, you can take something good and transform it into something great. The following tips can improve your pie but keep in mind that they’re not always applicable.
- Make Your Own Crust – Making your own pie crust can be a bit of a challenge, especially depending on the climate and your kitchen set-up, but it’s worth the effort. Store-bought crusts are convenient but they don’t have the same flavor or flakiness as a homemade crust. Just be sure to use ice water and handle the dough as little as possible to prevent it from becoming tough.
- Use Apple Cider Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar may seem like an odd ingredient for pie but it actually helps to balance the sweetness of the filling. Just add a tablespoon or two to the apples before you bake the pie and you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes. The contrast between acidity and sweetness will amplify the overall flavor and create a powerfully apply dessert.
- Soak the Apples in Sugar – If you want your apples to be super sweet, you can always soak them in sugar before you add them to the pie. Just add the sliced apples to a large bowl and then sprinkle them with sugar. Toss them until coated and then let them sit for 30 minutes to an hour. This will help to draw out the juices and make the apples even sweeter.
- Use a Lattice Crust – If you want to get fancy with your pie, you can always use a lattice crust. This is when you cut the dough into strips and then weave them over the top of the pie. It may seem like a lot of work but it’s actually not that difficult and it gives the pie a beautiful, professional finish.
- Bake the Pie on a Baking Stone – If you have a baking stone, use it! Baking the pie on a stone helps to evenly distribute the heat and prevents the bottom crust from getting soggy. Just be sure to preheat the stone in the oven before you add the pie.
Apple pie is a delicious and classic dessert that can be enjoyed all year round. By following these tips, you can make a perfect pie that will be the star of any gathering.
Our Recipe for Homemade Apple Pie
Ingredients for the Crust:
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 6-8 tablespoons ice water
Ingredients for the Filling:
- 8 cups of sliced Granny Smith apples (about 8 large apples)
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Instructions for the Crust:
- Combine the salt, flour, and sugar in a food processor and pulse the contents a few times until they’re thoroughly combined.
- Then, add in the butter and continue to pulse the mixture until it’s coarse and crumbly.
- Add 6 tablespoons of the ice water to the mix and pulse it until it combines into a dough. If the dough is too dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Divide the dough into two sections and shape each section into a disc. Cover the dough with a towel or plastic wrap and let it cool in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or up to 2 days.
Instructions for the Filling:
- In a large bowl, combine the apples, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, flour, ginger, nutmeg, and lemon juice and toss to combine.
- Set your oven to preheat to 400° Fahrenheit.
- Roll out one of the sections of dough on a gently floured surface. Try to create a 12-inch circle. Then, transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie dish and trim the excess dough, leaving a 1-inch overhang.
- Add the filling to the pie dish and lay small pieces of dotted butter around the pie. Roll out the remaining section of dough into another 12-inch circle and place it over the top of the filling. Trim away any excess overhang, seal the edges, and flute or crimp as desired. Cut vents into the top of the crust.
- Bake the pie for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool on a trivet or baking rack for at least 2 hours before serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 351Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 271mgCarbohydrates: 75gFiber: 4gSugar: 37gProtein: 5g