One thing we were keen on trying was apple pie filling. We like to make our own pie filling prior to making a pie or apple crisp because it helps make sure the end product isn't runny or overly dry, which can be kind of a guessing game depending on the juiciness of the apples. But making the pie filling at pie-making time is kind of tedious, and we have the fresh apples now, not a couple months from now. So we started asking the great googley moogley about pie filling recipes, and found out that when making canned pie filling, regular corn starch or tapioca won't work because the thickener starts to break down during the extended processing at high temperature (although we haven't verified that ourselves). As a result, almost all canned pie filling recipes call for a commercial product called ClearJel, which is a corn starch derivative. Not wanting to use a nebulously-described product like that (and more importantly, not having any on hand), we looked for other options, and found a tip in an gardenweb forum that canned pie filling can be made with pectin, just using less than would be required for a fully set jam or jelly. Now we were in business! We've got plenty of pectin. And, it turns out, the Pomona's Pectin website even has a recipe for apple pie filling! (The recipe isn't on the chart that comes with the pectin. Also, while we're on the subject of Pomona's pectin, why do they give you way more CaCl2 than you need to make the amount of calcium water required for the packet of pectin in the box? We're accumulating quite a bit of the salt, which we will probably start storing in the car as an emergency ice-melting kit.)
Anyway, time to give the pectin pie filling a try!
|We started by converting the apples into spot- and core-free apple chunks, and then slices.|
|Then we added the pectin-sugar mixture and returned to a boil...|
|Since it had been a while since we made apple crisp, we figured it would be a good idea to make one with our old recipe, too, um, as a control. Real science experiments like this must have a control.|
For the pectin-canned pie filling, go here.
For the uncanned, corn starch-thickened recipe we used before (can't remember where we found it):
4 cups apple slices
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 cups water
1 cup brown sugar
0.5 teaspoon cinnamon
0.25 teaspoon salt
0.125 teaspoon nutmeg
0.25 cup corn starch
Slice apples, mix with lemon juice, set aside. Mix all other ingredients in 2-quart saucepot on stove, heat on medium heat until thick. Add apples, cook until tender.
The crisp topping we used is usually good for a thin topping on a 9" x 13" pan, or a thick topping on a 9" x 9" pan:
1 cup oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick melted butter
0.75 cups flour
Mix all ingredients together until uniform.
Put the pie filling into a 9" x 13" pan, spread the crisp topping on the top, lightly pack together by patting the crisp lightly on the head like it just brought you the Sunday paper, and bake at 350 °F until crisp topping is crispy. That's all there is to it!
For the pie crust, we used this recipe, but reduced the butter to 0.75 cup and replaced about a cup of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour.
What types of preserved apple products do you make? What's your favorite apple pie filling recipe? Let us know in the comments section below!