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I've been an expert apple pie baker for years (at least to my personal taste) and I just made a pie - followed the usual recipe - used the usual granny smith apples but this time the apples turned into apple-sauce!! How did this happen? Did I slice the apples too thin?

asked by lilredcurls over 5 years ago
7 answers 3531 views

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 5 years ago

That happened to me last year. (Very embarrassing...I am also known for making a wonderful apple pie.) I forgot how I found this out, but it has to do with the age of your apples. Older apples have less pectin and don't hold their shape (and are better for making applesauce than pies).

added over 5 years ago

The last issue of Cook's Illustrated commented on this problem in text for an apple crisp recipe. They reccommend to use Golden Delicious because the Granny's doing this are apparently hit or miss. You'd think they would have tried to get to the bottom of it (maybe they did try and fail.) I made the crisp with Granny's anyway because I like the flavor but sure enough it was chunky applesauce. my slices weren't extra thck but certainly not thin. It was delicious just the same. Two people said it was the best crisp they've ever had. And my apples were from a large coop and organic foodstore. It is unknown if they were stored, however.

added over 5 years ago

All apples can vary in both moisture and pectin levels. Unless you've picked them yourself, age can also be a factor. That's one of the reasons (Folk Wisdom Alert) you're supposed to use a mixed variety of apples for pies, crisps, etc.

added over 5 years ago

You're in good company. The same thing that happened to you happened to Julia Child.

Forty years ago, I had the opposite problem. I was trying to make applesauce and apple butter, but the apples refused to cooperate and I had to beat them into submission through a food mill. Julia taught me the basics of apple picking. Since then, I've learned a whole lot more.

Folk Wisdom Alert #2 (good one, Christina): If it's not nippy out, it's not apple season yet, so don't buy apples if it's too warm for a jacket. U.S.-grown Granny Smiths don't show up in stores until mid-October at the very earliest . Imported Granny Smiths hit local grocery stores in April. It's possible that your Granny Smiths were old and punky imports.

If you really like Granny Smiths, select apples that are uniformly green, shiny, heavy, fragrant and still have a stem attached--that's the surest way to tell their age.

I've had the best luck with Rome Red, Rome Beauty, Paula Red and Cindy Red. I like a blend of Granny Smiths and Golden Delicious, too.


AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 5 years ago

Alas, perhaps to prove the point made here that you really can't be guaranteed any particular result by selecting one variety over the other . . . . the last pie I made in which Golden Delicious were used, they turned to mush and the other two varieties (Mutsu, also known as Crispin) and Fuji did not. I only eat/use apples in season, or ones that have been picked locally and properly stored for three or four months at most. And then I prepare myself for surprises of all kinds. ;o)

added over 5 years ago

I was just wondering if anybody could remember if thier apples had a good moisture content. I have a dozen apple trees of different varieties. And I noticed this happens when the apple seems less juicy and kinda of dry. This happened to me and I think I made the connection of juicy apples make better pies. Not totally sure.


Meg is a trusted home cook.

added over 5 years ago

My mom used to make a french apple tart that used applesauce as a base and then was covered with very thinly sliced apples in a beautiful swirl pattern browned in the oven. Just delete the food pickle and say it was her recipe!