Homemade apple pies are a delicious dessert, but require preparation time to slice the apples and make and roll out the crust. After all that time and effort, nothing is more discouraging than cutting into your baked apple pie to discover the filling is watery. Although the flavor is likely to be fine, when presentation is important, a watery filling won't do. A few simple preventative measures help you avoid watery apple pie and obtain a thick, flavorful filling.
Set a medium pot on the stove top and adjust the burner to medium heat. Place the sliced apples and other ingredients, as called for by the pie recipe you're using, in the pot. If the pie recipe calls for liquid, such as apple cider, lemon juice or water, reserve 2 tbsp. liquid for the pie filling thickener.
Stir the apples and other pie filling ingredients over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil and the sugar dissolves.
Mix 3 tbsp. cornstarch with the 2 tbsp. reserved liquid. If no liquid was reserved, use water instead. Stir until the cornstarch and liquid form a paste. Add the paste to the apple filling mixture and continue to boil it for one minute, stirring constantly. This will cause the apple pie filling to thicken without causing it to become opaque or cloudy.
Bake the apple pie according to recipe directions. Place the pie pan on a cooling rack and allow the pie to cool completely before slicing it. The filling will thicken further as it cools.
When cornstarch is unavailable, substitute white flour. The flour will thicken the apple pie filling but will not leave it clear, like cornstarch does.
Precooking apples in the pot helps reduce liquid in the filling.
You can also use tapioca to thicken a fruit pie filling.
Even if you've thickened the pie filling, the center will tend to be more runny when hot. Allow the pie to cool so the filling can thicken completely.
Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.