Tag Archives: apple pie

Canning Apple Pie Filling

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As part of a church young women’s project this fall, I have been teaching MiddleK how to can. We started with Applesauce, then promptly proceeded to eat almost all of it over that next week, which kind of defeated the “storage” role of canning. But it had been a long time since we’d had homemade applesauce around here, and I was glad to see the kids asking for that for a snack instead of chips or candy. So we bought A LOT more apples, and made LOTS more applesauce. With all of our apples we also made this Apple Pie Filling.

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Middle K also wanted to learn to make her own piecrust for her pie filling, and while the family waited for her to finally make a pie, we ate the pie filling stirred into yogurt, as an ice cream topping, or when no one was looking: straight from the jar.

Yesterday, Middle K, under extreme pressure from her siblings, found the time to create this beautiful apple pie. She made the crust all on her own, and she did a fabulous job!

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This canned apple pie filling is chock full of apples in a cinnamon brown sugar syrup. When choosing apples for pie, you want to choose a variety that does not get mushy when cooked, and is not overly tart, or you will need to add a lot more sugar to the syrup. We really like eating Granny Smith apples around here, but I don’t usually use them for pies, unless it is in combination with some sweeter varieties. I also like to use a combination of apple varieties, when possible. Then the different textures of the apples makes a nice balance in the pie. For this pie filling we used a combination of Golden Delicious and Fuji apples.

Good Apples for Canning:
Golden Delicious
Fuji
McIntosh
Jonagold
Rome
Jonathon
Cameo
Gala (but only in combination with another variety: they get kind of soft when cooked)

Not-So-Good Apples for Canning:
Red Delicious
Cortland
Gala (on their own)
Granny Smith (too tart on their own; texture is good, but they will require more sugar; good when combined with sweeter varieties)

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When making the apple pie filling, you can thinly slice or dice the apples. I like to dice them because they fit better in the jars and are a nice size for biting in a pie. The chopped apples are mixed with apple cider, sugar and spices, and left to macerate for an hour or more before cooking. This helps release some of the juice from the apples and helps meld the flavors. We kept the spices simple in our batches this year: just cinnamon and a little bit of nutmeg. For a more heavily spiced pie filling, you can add cloves, ginger and/or allspice.

The one special ingredient that you need for making canned pie fillings is Clear Jel. Clear Jel is a modified corn starch made specifically for canning. It is a thickener that will not loose it’s texture or become grainy after being cooked more than once (first while preparing the filling and processing the jars and then again when you cook the pie). I buy mine from a company called Walton Feed. I like that I can get sealed cans. Clear Jel is also available in bags from Amazon.

One problem that we did run into on a couple of our jars was “siphoning”. This is when some liquid from inside the jars seeps out while processing, or immediately after being removed from the canner. The filling is still safe to eat as long as the lid seals, but it does make for kind of a sticky mess and an increased likelihood that the jars won’t seal properly. We left 1” headspace on the jars before processing, but next time I will leave 1 1/4”. After doing some reading, another way to reduce siphoning is to leave the jars in the boiling water bath (with the heat turned off and the lid removed) for about 10 minutes after fully processing them. I will try this next time around. Supposedly, the drastic temperature change from the boiling water to the outside air can often cause siphoning. Pie filling is the only thing I have ever had this problem with. Luckily, all of our jars sealed, but I did mark the ones that had the siphoning problem so that we could eat those jars first.

When making a pie from canned filling, you simply prepare your bottom crust, pour in the filling, add a top crust or streusel topping and bake (for about 45 minutes at 400°F). A regular 8”or 9” pie plate will use one quart jar. For deep dish pie plates (which I have), I use one quart jar and one pint jar. So I can both quart and pint sized jars. You could also just use 1 1/2 quart jars and use the other half jar as ice cream topping.

RECIPE:

Apple Pie Filling (for canning)

  • Servings: Makes about 3 ½ quarts
  • Print

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6 lbs apples** (about 16-18 apples, or 12 cups sliced/diced apples)
3 cups apple cider
1 cup dark brown sugar (or light brown sugar plus 1 tsp molasses)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract (or one vanilla bean, scraped)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
scant 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
(OPTIONAL: 1/8 tsp each: cloves, ginger & allspice)
1 cup apple cider
1/3 cup Clear Jel

In a very large bowl, mix together 3 cups apple cider, sugars, lemon juice, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and optional spices (if using).

Peel, core and coarsely chop or slice apples. Place apples in cider mixture as you cut them. Allow apples to sit at room temperature for at least 1-3 hours, stirring occasionally.

Strain juice from apple slices into a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix additional 1 cup of apple cider with the Clear Jel; stir into the cider mixture simmering in the pot. Return to a boil and cook until the juice has thickened, about 1 – 2 minutes. Stir in apple pieces with any remaining juice in the bowl. Return mixture to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Ladle hot pie filling into hot jars, leaving 1 1/4” headspace. Use a spatula or knife to remove air bubbles. Make sure that your apples are covered by the syrup. Wipe rims with a clean, damp cloth, place lid and ring on the jars, and process in a boiling water bath for 25 minutes for quart or pint jars. After processing, turn off heat and remove the lid from the canner, but allow the jars to sit in the water for 10 minutes before removing. This will help reduce siphoning (liquid seeping out of the jars). Remove jars from water and place on a clean, dry towel on the kitchen counter. Let sit for 24 hours. Check seal, remove rings and store.

**For best results use a mix of Golden Delicious, Fuji, McIntosh, Jonagold, Rome, Jonathon, Cameo or Gala.

Yield: about 3 1/2 quarts

 

Recipe adapted from LocalKitchen

USING YOUR CANNED APPLE PIE FILLING:

Canned pie filling can be used to make apple pies, tarts, or apple crisp. Or spoon it onto ice cream or yogurt.

To make a regular 8-9” pie:use one quart of pie filling

To make a deep dish 9” pie:use one quart + 1 pint of pie filling (I can both quart and pint jars to make this easy. Or just use 1 1/2 quart jars and eat the other half quart as ice cream topping)

BAKING:Bake pies at 400°F for 30 minutes. Check browning on top crust. Add a Pie Crust Shield (you can make your own!) or foil to edges as they begin to brown. Cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and crust is cooked (check often to prevent over-browning of top crust)

I like to use this All Butter Pie Crust.

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Thanksgiving Dessert: Caramel Apple Cheesecake Tart with Streusel Topping

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A combination of so many things that I love: apples, cinnamon, cheesecake, caramel (I used homemade Dulce de Leche, or try this Caramel Sauce), and a buttery, slightly sweet oat topping. A perfect end to a Thanksgiving meal- a perfect end to just about any meal!

The recipe is long, but not complicated. While there are a lot of ingredients, each layer is easy to put together. Just make sure you have all of your layers ready to go before putting things into the pan.

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For a more pronounced caramel flavor, you could drizzle individual servings with additional caramel sauce at serving time.

I used a Cream Cheese Pastry recipe for the crust, but you could also use any basic pie crust. I bake this in a tart pan (mine has an 11” diameter). You could also use a deep dish pie pan, but you might want to reduce the amount of streusel topping and increase the baking time to make sure cheesecake layer sets.

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Cheesecake layer on the bottom.

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A caramel apple filling made with apples, brown sugar, dulce de leche or caramel sauce, and cinnamon. Use a spoon to gently and evenly distribute apples over the cheesecake filling. Try to not mix the two layers together.111010 057-1

A chunky streusel topping with a nutty oat flavor gets sprinkled over the apples.111010 058-1

Cover edges of tart with a pie crust shield. I do not own one that fits my tart pan, so I make my own out of foil. See How To…Make Your Own Pie Crust Shield. Since the tart pan has steeper sides than a regular pie plate, when you are tracing the circle to cut out, be sure to cut a circle that is about 1/2” smaller than the outside edge of the tart pan. 111010 068-1

Bake until center is set (it will still jiggle just a little in the center, but will continue to set as it cools) and streusel is golden brown. I leave the foil on for all but the last 5 minutes of baking time.  111010 073-1

The hardest part: keeping little fingers (and a few big ones) from picking at the streusel topping while the tart cools completely.

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RECIPE:

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Tart

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Cream Cheese Pastry Crust:
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
4 oz (½ pkg) cream cheese, softened
1 Tbs powdered sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
1 ½ cups flour (divided)

In a food processor, combine butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and salt. Process until smooth. Add ½ cup flour. Pulse just until flour is incorporated (do not overmix). Repeat with another ½ cup flour. Scrape dough from sides of bowl and repeat with the last ½ cup flour.

On a floured surface, flatten dough into a 1/2” thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes, or until firm enough to roll. Dough can also be frozen for later use.

Cheesecake Layer:
12 oz (1 ½ pkg) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth with a mixer.

Apple Layer:
4 cups peeled and sliced apples (about 3-4 apples)
½ cup Dulce de Leche or Caramel Sauce
3 Tbs brown sugar
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp ClearJel or cornstarch
½ tsp cinnamon
scant 1/8 tsp nutmeg
pinch salt

Combine all ingredients.

Streusel Topping:
6 Tbs butter, melted
1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup flour (white or whole wheat)
2 Tbs brown sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp kosher salt

Combine all ingredients. Mix until crumbly.

ASSEMBLY:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Move oven rack to lowest level.

Remove pastry dough from refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a circle 1” larger than a 10-11” tart pan. Transfer to ungreased tart pan. Crimp edges, if desired.

Pour cheesecake filling into crust. Carefully top with apple layer. Sprinkle with streusel topping.

Cover edges of tart with a pie crust shield or aluminum foil. Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes on lowest rack of oven. Reduce heat to 375°F, move tart to center rack, and bake for 15-25 additional minutes, or until just the very center (not the edges) jiggles when shaken lightly. Cover entire tart with foil if streusel begins to brown too much. Cool completely on a wire rack.

NOTE: This can be made into bars by cooking in a rectangular baking pan (put crust on bottom of the pan only, not up the sides). A 7×11” pan will give you about the same thickness as the tart, or use a 9×13” pan for slightly thinner bars.

 

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Apple Pie

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Monday nights at our house are “Family Night”. This is a definite No Empty Chairs event in our home. We work very hard to keep everyone’s schedule clear on Monday nights. Family Night is a time when we gather together for some good old fashioned family fun and bonding. Everyone has an assignment on Family Night and it rotates weekly. Assignments include everything from saying a prayer, to choosing a song, giving a short lesson or message, choosing the family game, to everyone’s favorite: making a treat. This week it was Brian’s turn to make the treat, but he is usually pretty good at delegating this responsibility (for which everyone is grateful, or we would be eating microwave popcorn whenever his turn came around). As he is also still recovering from the effects of swine flu, I took on his treat responsibility this week.

I recently bought a bushel of apples from a produce auction (many thanks Cynthia!), so we have been trying out some fun new apple recipes. The recipe for this pie comes from Dawn Viola, a winner in this year’s Crisco National Pie Championship for her Vanilla-Vanilla Bean Roasted Apple Pie. (Which is kind of funny, because she uses no shortening in her recipe!) I simplified and modified it some for the dessert I made tonight (I will try it again another time when I have whole vanilla beans). The resulting pie was wonderful: a filling of cinnamon spiced apples  that was not too runny and an especially flaky all-butter crust.

The secret to making the dough flaky is to keep your ingredients and equipment as cold as possible. Dawn suggests putting your ingredients, bowls and food processor blade in the freezer for 15 minutes before starting.

To make the pie crust, combine the chilled flour, sugar and salt in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add butter cubes and pulse  until the mixture resembles coarse meal with pea-sized pieces of butter. Add the vinegar (cold) and vanilla extract and pulse to mix. Add one tablespoon of water at a time (make sure it is ice-cold), pulsing until the mixture begins to hold together. If you pinch some of the dough, it should stick together in your hand. Add more water if necessary. Dough should be slightly crumbly, but hold together when pinched.
Divide the dough into two equal parts and shape into two  round discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

I got a lot of help with the apple filling. LittleJ loves to help out in the kitchen! She is now my official apple peeler.

DSC01515Peel and slice about 12 apples (8 cups of sliced apples). Preheat your broiler. Place apples, cinnamon and 2 tablespoons brown sugar in a roasting pan; toss apples to coat.

DSC01505 Broil until the apples begin to brown. Watch carefully so that your apples don’t burn. Stir once or twice. Remove apples  from the oven when they have begun to brown, but are not completely cooked through. Stir in the remaining sugar,  flour, Clear Jel and salt. Add the vanilla extract, apple cider and cream; stir. Set aside.

To assemble the pie, place a 9” pie plate into the freezer. Remove the pie crust dough from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 5 – 10 minutes, or just long enough for it to become easy to roll, but still chilled. Roll dough into a 12” circle on a lightly floured surface. Place in the bottom of the chilled 9” pie plate. Return to the refrigerator to chill. Roll out the second piece of dough into a 12” circle on a lightly floured surface.

Remove pie plate from the refrigerator. Fill with apples. Dot top of apples with 2 Tbs butter. Place top crust on top of the apples and pinch the top and bottom  edges together to seal. Flute edge, if desired, and make a few air vents around the top of the pie. I used a cute little maple leaf cookie cutter to make my vents.

DSC01509 Lightly brush the top and sides of the pie with an egg wash. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake at 400° F for 30 minutes. Cover edges with aluminum foil or a pie shield if edges are browning too quickly. Cook for another 15 minutes. Check pie every 7-10 minutes, cooking until the crust is golden brown and flaky.

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Cool pie for at least two hours before cutting and serving. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

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RECIPE:

Apple Pie

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 All-Butter Pie Crust (for double pie crust)

Filling:
8 cups peeled, cored, sliced apples (about 12 Granny Smith)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
3 Tbs flour
2 Tbs Clear Jel (or 1 additional Tbs flour)
1 tsp salt
½ cup apple cider
1 tsp vanilla (or seeds from 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped)
1 Tbs heavy cream or ¼ cup sour cream

Egg Wash:
1 egg
1 Tbs cream

Coarse sugar

Prepare pie crust as directed for a double crust.

Filling: Preheat the broiler. Add apples, cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar to a roasting pan; stir. Broil until the apples begin to brown. Watch carefully so that your apples don’t burn. Stir once or twice. Remove apples  from the oven when they have begun to brown, but are not completely cooked through. Stir in the remaining sugar,  flour, Clear Jel and salt. Add the vanilla, apple cider and cream (or sour cream); stir. Set aside.

To assemble the pie, place a 9” pie plate into the freezer. Remove the pie crust dough from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 5 – 10 minutes, or just long enough for it to become easy to roll, but still chilled. Roll dough into a 12” circle on a lightly floured surface. Place in the bottom of the chilled 9” pie plate. Return to the refrigerator to chill. Roll out the second piece of dough into a 12” circle on a lightly floured surface.

Remove pie plate from the refrigerator. Fill with apples. Dot top of apples with 2 Tbs butter. Place top crust on top of the apples and pinch the top and bottom  edges together to seal. Flute edge, if desired, and make a few air vents around the top of the pie.

Gently whisk the egg and cream in a small dish. Lightly brush the egg wash over the top of the pie and along the edges. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake at 400° F for 30 minutes. Cover edges with aluminum foil or a pie crust shield if edges are browning too quickly. Cook for another 15 minutes. Check pie every 7-10 minutes, cooking until the crust is golden brown and flaky. Cool pie for at least two hours before cutting and serving. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

All Butter Pie Crust

  • Servings: Makes a double pie crust
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2 ½ cups flour
3 Tbs sugar
2 tsp salt
1 ¼ cups unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 Tbs white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract (or seeds from 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped + 1 Tbs vanilla powder)
6-8 Tbs ice water

Chill ingredients, bowls and food processor blade in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a food processor; pulse to mix.Add butter cubes and pulse  until the mixture resembles coarse meal with pea-sized pieces of butter. Add the vinegar (cold) and vanilla extract and pulse to mix. Add one tablespoon of water at a time (make sure it is ice-cold), pulsing until the mixture begins to hold together. If you pinch some of the dough, it should stick together in your hand. Add more water if necessary. Dough should be slightly crumbly, but hold together when pinched.

Divide the dough into two equal parts and shape into two  round discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Remove the pie crust dough from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 5 – 10 minutes, or just long enough for it to become easy to roll, but still chilled. Roll dough into a 12” circle on a lightly floured surface. Place in the bottom of a chilled 9” pie plate. Return to the refrigerator to chill. Roll out the second piece of dough into a 12” circle on a lightly floured surface.

Fill with desired filling and bake as directed in pie recipe.

Adapted from Dawn Viola

 

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