Start to finish: 30 minutes
Difficulty level: Beginner
Make apple pie filling ahead of time and refrigerate to use later or spoon it into a pie shell and bake it right away. With ingredients adapted from a Pillsbury recipe and guidance for selecting apple varieties, this recipe uses exactly what you need to make fresh, sweet apple pie filling with a hint of complementary spices.
- 8 medium apples
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon apple juice
Wash, peel and core the apples. Cut them into thin slices. The 8 apples should make 7 to 8 cups of sliced apples. Set the apples aside in bowl.
Add the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt to a small mixing bowl and whisk until mixed well.
Place a large sauce pan on the stove top, set the burner to medium and allow the pan to heat.
Lower the heat slightly, melt the butter in the sauce pan and add the apples to the pan.
Allow the apples to cook for 2 minutes, stirring the slices well to mix with the melted butter.
Sprinkle the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt mixture over the apple slices and stir to mix well.
Cook the apples on low heat for 5 minutes, or until the apple slices soften. Stir and turn the apples over gently with a fork to help them cook evenly without breaking them.
After the apples soften, add the flour and apple juice to the sauce pan. Fold gently to mix and cook over a low heat for another 2 minutes. Allow the excess liquid to cook out, but don’t overcook the apples. Test the consistency with a fork. The apples should be softened, but not mushy, and still firm enough to hold their shape.
Remove the apple pie filling from the sauce pan and spoon into a pie shell or a container for refrigeration or freezing.
Recipes for apple pie filling often recommend using a tart apple variety. However, a more interesting flavor results from mixing tart and sweet apples, according the Kitchn website. Choose crisp apples such as golden delicious, Granny Smith and ginger gold that maintain some firmness when baked.
Variations and Tips
If you prefer a cornstarch binder for the filling, the apple pie filling recipe on the King Arthur Flour website recommends using 2 tablespoons of flour and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch instead of ¼ cup of flour.
Increase the tartness a little, especially if using sweet apples, by adding ½ teaspoon lemon juice to the sauce pan and mixing well before adding the flour and apple juice.
Substitute half of the sugar with brown sugar if desired.
Spice variations include allspice, apple pie spice and ginger.
Add raisins or fresh cranberries to the apple pie filling for a more colorful and flavorful holiday pie.
If you prefer, add the apple pie filling to the pie shell for baking without cooking the apples in the sauce pan first or cook the apples in the sauce pan for a shorter time. Adjust the baking time for the pie if you use uncooked apples — the apples need a longer time in the oven to soften and absorb the other ingredients.
If you prefer, assemble the apple pie filling ingredients ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze the uncooked filling to add to the pie shell later.
Toss the apple slices in 1 teaspoon of lemon juice if you plan to store them uncooked. The lemon juice prevents the apples from turning brown.
References and ResourcesPillsbury: Perfect Apple Pie
King Arthur Flour: Apple Pie
Kitchn: What Are the Best Apples for Apple Pie?
Baking Bites: Do You Need to Add Lemon Juice When Baking with Apples