Help needed for apple pie
Posted: 28 November 2010 04:20 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I made half of an apple pie yesterday (in a 7 ” pan). The recipe was from PPB, my first time making this particular recipe. I used the cream cheese/flaky pastry again, and for the 2nd time it was too dry (I previously made it last February). This time I decided to wet my hands while kneading (I didn’t put the mixture in a plastic bag). Very soon I want to try making it by hand - I think mine was overprocessed, partly because it was too dry. The only time I made pastry by hand in recent years I didn’t have Rose’s instructions, so I hope it will go better. I’ve decided to make pastry more often in order to get better at it. I used to make an all butter crust in the food processor quite frequently, and never had any problems with it. I just let it come together, did a little fraisage, then shaped it into a disc. I had far fewer problems than I’ve been having with the cream cheese dough, ironically. I think I’ll view Rose’s video again to see her do it. It’s too bad that my husband likes pies better, and I enjoy making cakes more. I do like to eat pie, but it doesn’t taste as good the second day, while I find that the cakes keep much better, and you can always freeze part of it.

My main issue with the pie is that I used the amount called for by weight for the apples (half of that). When piled into the shell, it rose far beyond the edge of the pie plate. When they sank down, finally, the top crust sat where it originally was, so there’s at least 1.5 inches between the crust and the filling. Rose says that this can happen if the apples are not sliced consistently, but I made sure to make nice, even slices. While the pie tastes wonderful, I wouldn’t want to serve it to company in this condition, as it doesn’t slice very easily or prettily. Any ideas? Thanks.

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Posted: 28 November 2010 06:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Assuming you are weighing everything for the crust, are you using pastry flour (either store bought or homemade)?  A flour with too much protein normally needs more liquid than the recipe calls for.  I find that I need to add extra liquid when I make this with bleached AP.  Are you using the heavy cream update from the blog?

After that, check that you are fully incorporating the cream cheese with the flour until it is well coated, and also that you are rolling the butter into large flakes until there is only a little loose flour.

For the apples, have you checked the volume of your pan to see if it is half of the volume of the 9” pan?  You could try allowing the apples to macerate for longer so that a little more liquid comes out before baking, rather than during. 

Another option is to go for an open-face pie, like the designer open-face.  For that, I really wedge the apples in tightly to account for them cooking down a bit during baking.

Good luck!

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Posted: 28 November 2010 07:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Julie, I used the bleached AP (which was listed as an option); I forgot about the update of the cream. I did macerate the apples for a long time, as I started them before I started the dough. It was close to the three hours, and a large amount of liquid did come out. Having now re-watched several of Rose’s videos, I can see that the dough was definitely too dry. It’s been many years since I made dough often, and since I was then using an all-butter crust, I didn’t quite know what I was looking for with the cream-cheese flaky dough. I made the pie yesterday because I wanted to verify that I could make a much better one than that served at Thanksgiving, one that everyone was raving about. My sister’s in-laws have always used the type of crust that includes milk and oil rather than solid fat; several years ago, I, too, was using that method, as it is very easy to roll out, and can be put together in a matter of minutes (no chilling, resting, etc.). But I find that I much prefer the taste of the butter pastry. Also, Rose’s method of draining the juices and then concentrating them was superb.

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Posted: 30 November 2010 11:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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knit1bake1 - 28 November 2010 11:14 PM

Rose’s method of draining the juices and then concentrating them was superb.

I couldn’t agree more, her apple pie is a revelation, I was so amazed the first time I tried it, it was far, far better than anything I had ever tasted before.

As for your dough, it sounds like maybe you could spend a little more time rolling the butter into flakes, so that there isn’t quite so much loose flour.  And using either Wondra or pastry flour (homemade, as per the PPB, or storebought) will help ensure that you don’t need to add extra liquid.

As for the volume of the smaller pie pan, I don’t have one so couldn’t check volumes, but I do wonder about the sloped sides, and whether the smaller pan has a capacity of less than half the larger pan.

Good luck, it’s an amazing pie!

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Posted: 30 November 2010 12:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Having made the apple pie, I think it is important to make another pie soon. I am committed to improving my technique (though, as I said earlier, I was used to make pie often, just with a different recipe for the dough; I just chilled the butter, used the food processor, then chilled the dough, and had no issues at all. My mother made a wonderful cranberry sauce with apples in it for Thanksgiving, so I was considering making the apple/cranberry pie. The technique is much the same, with cranberries added. Has anyone tried this one? I’m intrigued, but of course it must be judged on its own merit - it wont’ have the same effect as the purely apple pie.

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Posted: 30 November 2010 01:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I made that one about two years ago.  I remember not liking it as much as the designer open-face apple pie or the apple dumplings, but thinking it was pretty good.  My father, though, liked it better than the other two, so maybe it just comes down to taste.  (I like cranberries well enough, I suppose, but they were never a favorite.)

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Posted: 30 November 2010 09:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I just made the cream cheese pastry a couple of days ago for a turkey pot pie.  I used pastry flour and the original recipe as written in the PPB (no cream—I was not aware of a blog post update to the recipe).  I doubled the recipe for a 2 crust pie.  I put the butter in the freezer as directed.  I used a food processor to process the pastry.  In fact, I followed the directions to the T and the dough was perfect.  Did you knead it in a ziplock bag?  Do you have a specific reason for not wanting to use the food processor or the plastic bag?  The dough is so crumbly at first, that I can’t imagine it coming together without being in the plastic bag.

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Posted: 03 December 2010 12:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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knit1bake1 - 28 November 2010 08:20 PM

I made half of an apple pie yesterday (in a 7 ” pan). The recipe was from PPB, my first time making this particular recipe. I used the cream cheese/flaky pastry again, and for the 2nd time it was too dry (I previously made it last February). This time I decided to wet my hands while kneading (I didn’t put the mixture in a plastic bag). Very soon I want to try making it by hand - I think mine was overprocessed, partly because it was too dry. The only time I made pastry by hand in recent years I didn’t have Rose’s instructions, so I hope it will go better. I’ve decided to make pastry more often in order to get better at it. I used to make an all butter crust in the food processor quite frequently, and never had any problems with it. I just let it come together, did a little fraisage, then shaped it into a disc. I had far fewer problems than I’ve been having with the cream cheese dough, ironically. I think I’ll view Rose’s video again to see her do it. It’s too bad that my husband likes pies better, and I enjoy making cakes more. I do like to eat pie, but it doesn’t taste as good the second day, while I find that the cakes keep much better, and you can always freeze part of it.

My main issue with the pie is that I used the amount called for by weight for the apples (half of that). When piled into the shell, it rose far beyond the edge of the pie plate. When they sank down, finally, the top crust sat where it originally was, so there’s at least 1.5 inches between the crust and the filling. Rose says that this can happen if the apples are not sliced consistently, but I made sure to make nice, even slices. While the pie tastes wonderful, I wouldn’t want to serve it to company in this condition, as it doesn’t slice very easily or prettily. Any ideas? Thanks.

We sound as though we had a very similar experience.  Also, I prefer cakes/quick breads to pie but my husband loves pie.

I cut my apple slices 1/4 inch or less, which equaled about 32 slices per apple and had the same result you describe.

My crust tasted a bit dry too. I’m sure it was all my error since this is the first pie I ever made

I’ll be looking forward to see your future experiences with pie

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Posted: 03 December 2010 02:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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so you had the crust hanging high above the apples? That’s interesting. Your crust looked moister than mine. I’ve viewed a lot of videos in the past few days - it looks so easy. As I said, I made food processor all/butter crusts for years with no problems, but am trying to learn the techniques that Rose (and Julie, etc) talk about. Mine was just pulse til it comes together, gather into a disc, cool for a while, and then go.

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Posted: 03 December 2010 04:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Before the pie was baked, the inside was packed high against the crust.  The crust didn’t shrink but the apples did. However, when I cut a slice, the crust shrank down and touched the apples.

My husband didn’t think it was dry. He thought the part that touched the apples was very moist and flaky. I, however, only tasted the part that was crimped and it seemed dry to me but I never eat pies so I am not a good judge.

I didn’t use a food processor because I don’t like the way streusel comes out using a processor and I thought that might be comparable.

The hardest thing for me was rolling the dough.  I had to apply my body weight to get it to the right size.

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