Baking an apple pie for dessert is always something to look forward to, and for many of us, it’s a family favorite.
Homemade apple pie goes perfectly with many different types of meals, and while you want it to turn out perfectly, sometimes things go wrong.
For example, your apples might be a bit too hard. What causes this to happen, and what can you do about it?
Continue reading to learn about why apple pie apples will sometimes not be as soft as you want them to be. This should allow you to make adjustments so you can make a pie that will please the whole family.
How Soft Should Apples Be for Pie?
It’s actually best not to use apples that are overly soft when baking apple pie. Some apples are so soft that they will essentially turn into applesauce when you try to bake them.
This is why it’s not recommended to use apples such as Red Delicious, Macintosh, or Golden Delicious when baking apple pies. Instead, you’re meant to go with crisp apples such as Honeycrisp or Granny Smith apples.
Some people opt to use Fuji apples or Gala apples. These apples can turn out soft while still keeping their shape and not turning to mush during the baking process.
So you don’t want to start with soft apples while making pie. There are some other tips that you’ll learn later that will help things to turn out perfectly, but for now, you should know that you need to buy the right apples from the store.
How to Soften Apples for Apple Pie
Sautéing the apples on the stove ahead of using them in apple pie filling is the best way to soften them. This is normally what apple pie recipes ask you to do.
A typical apple pie recipe will ask you to melt butter in a pan over medium heat on your stove. You then add the apples to the pan along with ingredients such as sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Then you stir the apples up with the other ingredients and allow them to cook. Stir constantly during this time and the apples will soften.
This process takes between eight and eleven minutes. You’ll cook until the apples are softened and they have released liquid.
The sugar will also dissolve during the cooking process. This is how you prepare the apple pie filling.
To get the best results, make sure that you cut your apples into slices that are ¼ of an inch thick. This makes it easier for the apples to soften during the cooking process.
Do You Cook Apples for Apple Pie?
Yes, you’re generally meant to cook the apples on the stove before using them to make apple pie filling. During the cooking process on the stove, the apples will soften and release liquid.
This prepares the apples and makes them ready for baking. If you forget to do this, the apple pie filling won’t turn out right.
You can’t just mix the ingredients without cooking the apples and the other filling ingredients together, so this is a crucial step that you must remember when trying to get apple pie to turn out optimally.
If you’ve been having issues with apple pie, you might have forgotten to sauté the apples. Simply remembering to do this step will make all the difference.
Reasons for Apples Being Too Hard in Apple Pie
So what if you’re sautéing the apples and they’re still turning out too hard? What could be going wrong?
There are a few things that could be happening. The first thing to consider is whether the apples are too thick.
Are you cutting the apples into slices that are far too thick? You might have apple slices that are double the normal thickness or even thicker.
It’s harder for thick apple slices to soften as much while they’re being sautéed. Remember that you’re supposed to slice the apples into ¼ of an inch thick slices.
Another problem that people encounter involves not sautéing the apples long enough. You simply might not be cooking them for as long as necessary.
It usually takes between eight and eleven minutes to sauté apples when using a medium heat setting. You could be making the mistake of using a heat setting that’s too low, too.
Try to make sure that you’re doing everything as instructed. If you’re having problems with apples turning out too soft you might need to take a step back and ensure that you’re following a recipe step-by-step so you don’t make mistakes.
General Apple Pie Baking Tips
Getting things right when baking apple pie is important. If you approach things the wrong way you’ll have things turn out a bit wrong.
You must pick the right types of apples when baking apple pie. Using apples that start out too soft will lead to terrible results.
Don’t use apples that are overly ripe. You never want to use overripe apples even if they’re the right type such as Honeycrisp.
Pick good apples to start and make sure to sauté the apples ahead of time as instructed. Do your best to measure out the ingredients properly as well.
Sometimes using a little too much of one ingredient will throw off the taste. Doing your best to carefully measure out the ingredients helps a lot.
Make sure that you use the right baking temperature as well. Some apple pie recipes will call for slightly different baking temperatures so be sure to use whatever temperature your recipe calls for.
Always preheat the oven before putting the apple pie in. Don’t make the mistake of putting the pie in the oven before it has preheated.
What’s the Best Crust for Apple Pie?
The best crust for baking apple pie is mealy dough pie crust. This pie crust is perfect when you’re baking pies with fillings that can get a bit soggy.
Some types of pie crusts will get soggy on the bottom when you bake apple pies. Mealy dough pie crusts do a fantastic job of avoiding this issue.
The fat content is high enough that the pie crust will not get soggy at all. So you should consider using a mealy dough pie crust for your next apple pie.
It’s also wise to blind-bake the pie crust before moving forward. It helps the crust and the apple pie to turn out better overall.
Now you know a lot more about how to bake apple pies the right way. Apples might turn out a bit too hard or too soft if you’re not careful.
Make sure to use the right types of apples to avoid these issues. It’s also imperative to sauté the apples and prepare the apple pie filling before the baking begins.
So long as you do this, it’s likely that your pie will turn out well. Make sure that you use the right ingredients and measure things out properly.
Handling the basics and following the advice above will make it simple to enjoy apple pies with your family. You can feel confident that your next homemade apple pie will turn out fantastically.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.