Cooking With Apples: Kitchen Q&A

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This week’s Kitchen Questions & Answers is all about apples…Do you know which are the best ones to use for baking pies and why? That they can replace eggs or oil in a recipe? Or how slices can be prevented from turning brown?

Pie IngredientsThese questions and more are answered below…

  • Which are the best ones to use for making sauce? For best results, choose a soft variety such as the Red or Golden Delicious and Gala varieties.
  • Which are the best ones to use for baking pies? You want one that won’t turn too mushy when baking (the popular Red Delicious usually get too soft and mush-like when baked). Try Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Rome and Jubilee since they’ll taste great when baked and won’t be mushy. Did you know: many advocate using two or three different varieties of when making pie since they find both the flavor and texture so much better?
  • Can they replace eggs in some recipes? Yes it does work! Use 2 TBS applesauce per egg required. See Egg Substitutes: Handy Recipe List.
  • Can they replace oil in a cake recipe? You can substitute oil in the recipe with unsweetened applesauce or plain yogurt. Your measure can be 1:1 or 50/50. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 cup oil, use 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce. Different types of cakes will offer different results for texture and taste, but a good start would be to try the 50/50. Not only helps for moister cakes, also cuts fat. Source: 43 Cake Baking Tips & Tricks.
  • How to bake a frozen pie? For an unbaked pie that’s been frozen, pop it in the oven (still frozen) at 400°F for about 60 minutes then watch. Once the crust is golden brown and the center is hot, the pie is ready. Check on the pie half-way through and if the crust is browning too quickly you can wrap the top (or just the edges) with foil and continue to heat. Remove foil the last 10 minutes or so of baking. For a baked pie that was frozen, bake in an oven at 375°F for about 45 minutes.
  • How do you keep slices from turning brown? You can dip them in lemon juice or 7-up to prevent browning. If you’re peeling and slicing them for baking, try to do this right before you add them to the batter rather than prepare them ahead of time. If you’re preparing a bunch for a later snack, keep them in water with a bit of lemon juice or vinegar added, drain well before serving.
  • Why is the top peeled before they’re baked? This is done to prevent the fruit from splitting while it’s baking.
  • How do you rehydrate them when they’re dried? Simply pour boiling water over top and let sit for about 5 minutes or so.
  • Why do slices of this fruit soften brown sugar and hard cookies plus keep cakes moist when stored in a cake container? Both cookies and brown sugar harden when they lose moisture, sealing them in a container with a slice or two of apple helps them absorb the moisture from the slice and get soft again.
  • I notice when making jam and jelly with them, pectin isn’t required. Why is that? This fruit contains enough natural pectin to gel when making homemade jams & jellies…you’ll still need sugar in the recipe though to make the magic happen. You’ll find a few recipes here: 101 Homemade Jam, Jelly & Marmalade Recipes.
  • Is it ok to freeze them and if so, what’s the best way? Sure you can freeze them! First wash, pare, core and cut them into slices. Then pack with sugar or syrup and freeze (see How To Freeze Fruit for details).
  • Should they be refrigerated? They will keep for a few weeks when stored in the refrigerator (the cool temperature helps them stay fresh and preserve them) but it’s not necessary, you can keep them at room temperature if you prefer–keep in mind though that they won’t keep as long as if they were kept cool.

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