Excess water from baking with apples

I recently tried my hand at baking for the first time and tried making tarte aux pommes and tarte tatin. Each time I have the same problem: the apples give off too much water. I tried using the 'right' apples (last time was granny smith and red delicious), but the same result. I suspect it's either because:
1. The recipe I'm using calls for sautéing the apples in butter before hand
2. I'm chopping the apples too thinly
I've read some comments elsewhere that state that they leave (some) apples raw for baking; any suggestions? Thanks.

  • Posted by: drukqs
  • April 30, 2012


drukqs April 30, 2012
This site is AWESOME. Thanks, everyone!

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passifloraedulis April 30, 2012
I encountered the same problem making Dutch Apple Pie with Granny Smith Apples. The recipe called for tossing uncooked apple slices with lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and flour. I solved the problem of watery apple pies by using the apples only AFTER I let them sit in the sugar/cinnamon rub for 5-10 minutes. During this time the apples start excreting juices, which you drain before using the apples as filling.

As a bonus, you can turn the drained juices into a fantastic apple/cinnamon syrup.
Shuna L. April 30, 2012
This is a great answer-- the more tart the apple means (usually) two things: 1. the less inherent sugar/fructose it possesses 2. the harder the flesh and therefore the less liquid it will emit.

As soon as you toss apples with lemon juice or sugar of any kind the apples will begin to "macerate" = give off liquid.

Also, depending on what region you live in, those apples could be very old. In the USA and in Northern Europe apples are picked in Aug-October and in season until about Feb, maybe early March.
HalfPint April 30, 2012
I'm with ChefJune. Red Delicious are not good baking apples because they're too bland and watery. For Tart Tatin, I usually like to use honey crisp or fuji apples. I follow the 'recipe' from David Lebovitz in which you peel, core, and then quarter the apples. So you're cooking large chunks of apples. Make sure you're using enough butter when saute-ing those apples. The butter (along with sugar) will thicken the juice from the apples. I think I used about 100g (~1 stick of butter) for about 8 medium apples. I found that it took about 45 minutes of cooking on low-med heat, no stirring, to cook down the juice (and there was plenty of it) and get a very caramel-y sauce. Keep trying. Tarte Tatin is so worth the effort.
ChefJune April 30, 2012
FWIW, red delicious apples are not considered good for baking with or cooking at all. They are too mealy.

When I was a little girl, my aunts used to line the pie shell with plain, dry breadcrumbs (from fresh bread) before they put the apples in. These crumbs absorbed all the liquid the apples threw off and just became part of the filling. It took more crumbs in mid-winter when the apples weren't fresh from the trees.

For Tarte Tatin, I also reduce the liquid after the apples are properly sauteed, so that the remaining liquid is sure to turn into the luscious caramel we expect in our Tarte Tatins!
drbabs April 30, 2012
Your apples also may be too old. I'm trying to find a source to back this up, but haven't been able to so far. I had a similar problem with an apple pie recipe that I make so often I can make it in my sleep, and when it was mostly liquid at the end of baking, I read somewhere that old apples don't hold their shape and release a lot of liquid (and are therefore better used for applesauce or apple butter than in a pie or tart). You could toss them in about 1/4 cup of flour, but then i don't know if you'd get the consistency you're going for.
Margit V. April 30, 2012
When you sauté the apples, remove them from pan when they're ready, and reduce the liquid in the pan so it's a half or less. BTW, are you using enough apples? I find that it works best if I use more apples than the recipe generally calls for. Also, after cooling, much of the liquid seems to jell into a caramelized yummy "goo". Hope these tips help----I love when the apples are fully cooked, not almost raw!
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