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8 Mistakes That Make Your Apple Pie A Mushy, Soggy Mess
Nothing caps off a cozy winter dinner quite like a slice of sweet, buttery apple pie. And nothing is as disappointing as slicing into said pie only to find that the filling is a puddle of liquid and the crust falls apart. Especially when you spent time making it yourself.
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If this problem has plagued you before, there’s both bad news and good. On the downside, the sogginess is probably your fault. But don’t feel bad, because it’s entirely possible to achieve textural perfection. And you don’t have to be a professional baker or anything. It’s actually pretty easy.
It all comes down to steering clear of a few common missteps. Here’s what they are—plus the easy tricks to avoid them and make a mouthwatering apple pie.
Picking the wrong apples
Sure, all types of apples might be delicious. But not all of them are right for apple pie. Softer apples like Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, or Macintosh break down too much in the heat of the oven, basically turning into applesauce. So avoid those, and opt for a variety that’s firm and crisp like Granny Smith, Fuji, Gala, or Honeycrisp. They’ll turn velvety soft while still retaining their shape. (Here are 25 different kinds of apples, plus the tasty benefits of each.)
Cutting the fruit into tiny pieces
Tossing those apples in the food processor so they’re fully chopped in 5 seconds flat wins points for convenience. But those tiny shreds will all but melt in the oven, leaving you with a liquefied mess of a filling. Instead, grab a sharp knife and chop apples into ¼” slices. It’s thick enough for them to retain their shape while baking, but not so thick that they fail to fully cook through.
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Forgetting to add a thickener
Flour or cornstarch might seem like an odd addition to your pie filling, but it’s there for a reason, people! These ingredients work to thicken the juices from the fruit, helping them gel together instead of staying thin and runny. For the love of all things delicious, do not forget them. (Gluten-free? These are the 5 best pie crust recipes for you.)
If you love apple desserts, try these tasty cranberry and walnut baked apples:
Leaving the dough out while prepping the filling
Whether you’re using a store-bought or homemade pie dough, keep it in the refrigerator until your filling is 100% ready to go. Letting dough sit out for even a few minutes will cause the butter to soften—which means your finished crust will turn out soft and soggy instead of crisp and flaky.
MORE: 8 Surprisingly Healthy Holiday Pies That Still Taste Awesome
Using a disposable pie plate
That serve-and-toss tin means one less dish for you to wash after dinner. But because it’s opaque, it makes it impossible for you to tell whether the bottom of your crust is fully cooked (mmm, golden brown!) or not quite there yet (still kinda pale). And that can spell the difference between a pie with a crisp, flaky bottom crust that holds it shape—and a soft, undercooked one that falls apart.
Overfilling the pie
More filling just equals more yumminess, right? Actually, you can have too much of a good thing. Overload your pie with apples, and you run the risk of all that extra fruit juice making your crust wet. The lesson: Stick with the amount of apples that your recipe calls for. For a standard 9-inch pie, that’s usually 6 to 7 medium apples. (Psst! Here are 5 secrets to making delicious, low-sugar desserts.)
Baking the pie on the wrong rack
Most of us are used to putting things on the middle oven rack. But for pie, that’s a move that’ll send you straight to Soggyland. In order for the bottom of the crust to get the firm, flaky texture you’re looking for, it needs to be as close as possible to your oven’s heat source. And that’s on the bottom rack, not the middle one.
MORE: 16 Cool Kitchen Gadgets And Tools That'll Save You Tons Of Time (Or Make Great Gifts)
Baking at the wrong temperature
By now, you get that a big part of minimizing mushiness involves making sure that the bottom of your crust gets fully cooked. One more way to help that happen? Baking your pie at the right temperature. A too-cool oven will cause the crust to come out soft and dough-like, so get yourself an oven thermometer to see what temperature your oven is really running at. If it’s not actually as hot as the display screen says, you can bump it up as needed to reach the temp that your recipe recommends.
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