Fall is the unofficial season of pies, so preventing soggy apple pie crust is probably high on your list of concerns. There’s nothing sadder than spending hours peeling and slicing apples (and delicately weaving the pie crust) only to bite into a steaming pile of mush once it’s cooked. So what’s the secret to flaky, buttery pie crust that holds up in the oven? Precook your apples.
To prevent a soggy pie crust, it’s important to first understand why it happens. When you bake a fruit pie, the heat in your oven causes the sugars in your apples, peaches, and blueberries to boil and bubble. This process makes your pie filling soft and sweet, but it also creates steam that needs to be released — hence why you cut holes in the top of your pie. The problem with deep-dish pies is that there’s a whole lot of filling through which steam needs to move, and sometimes it can get trapped, resulting in a soggy pie crust bottom.
Avoid soggy pie crust by cooking your apples ahead of time. Precooking your apples helps the fruit hold its shape while also removing excess moisture. There are several different methods for precooking apples: Cast-iron skillets, non-stick frying pans, and Dutch ovens are all OK to use. The main thing you want to accomplish is softening your apples over the stove for about 15 to 20 minutes in the cookware of your choice. Once your apples have cooked and cooled, you can strain them if you wish to get rid of as much liquid as possible.
If you’re really concerned about a soggy pie bottom, blind bake your crust. What’s that? Blind baking pie crusts means cooking the pie crust without any fillings. Pie weights ($5.99, Amazon) are necessary for preventing the pie crust from bubbling. Precooking your apples should prevent the need for blind baking, but it’s an extra step you can take if you want.
Once your fruit is cooked and cooled, simply pile it high, cover your concoction if you’re making a double-crust pie, and bake everything. Then sit back and relax, knowing you just prevented a holiday horror story with your soggy-pie-crust fix. As those sweet, sweet smells of cinnamon, brown sugar, and tart apples baking fill the kitchen, the hardest part of your whole day will be waiting for the first bite.