Apple pies are a cornerstone of American baking, but depending on where you are in the world, your apple pie might look a little different from the deep-dish slices with a scoop of vanilla ice cream that Americans are accustomed to. In Germany, it might be apple strudel, and in France, it might be something like a delicate apple tart. In Paul Hollywood's neck of the woods, it might look something like an apple crumble, but no matter what the presentation, there's one unifying thing that needs to be done well: the apple filling. And being the baking expert that he is, it's no surprise that Hollywood has a trick for perfecting the texture of any apple pie filling.
The key to great texture in an apple pie is to use two different kinds of apples in the filling. This doesn't mean picking out your two favorite kinds of apples at the grocery store and then cooking them down together. No, this refers to using one type of apple that's best for cooking, such as Granny Smiths and Braeburns, and one type with great natural sweetness that's good for snacking, such as Honeycrisps, Pink Ladies, or Fujis. The cooking apples get simmered down until they reach a soft consistency, while the eating apple just gets peeled and diced before being combined with the cooked apple filling. Leaving the snacking apples uncooked lets them provide some much-needed crunch to an otherwise uniform filling.
Hollywood's Other Tips To Improve Texture
While it could be argued that apples are the most important part of apple pie, the crust is also crucial in achieving the correct texture. Thankfully, Paul Hollywood also knows a thing or two about how to make the perfect crust. In his book, "Bake," he suggests using a simple crispy and flaky pastry crust — one layer on the bottom and one on the top to cover the filling. There are many tips for making the perfect pie crust, but the most important that Hollywood recommends is dusting cornstarch on the base of the pie crust to absorb excess moisture and avoid the dreaded soggy bottom that could ruin the texture of the entire pie.
Besides mixing cooked apples with raw apples in the filling, Hollywood also has ideas for apple pies that feature interesting ingredients to contribute to varying textures. In his recipe for apple and Wensleydale pie, he shares how combining a tangy, salty cheese with the sweetness of apples can result in something not only extremely delicious but with an interesting texture as well. If you're imagining melted cheese that pulls apart like mozzarella on a pizza, it's important to note that Wensleydale has a creamy and crumbly texture, and therefore will stay mostly intact after the pie cooks. As a result, the cheese crumbles will complement the subtle sweetness from the apples while imparting their unexpected creamy flavors.
Read the original article on Mashed.