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Thread: My apple pie POOFED in the oven - why????

  1. #1
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    My apple pie POOFED in the oven - why????

    I made this kick-a$$ apple pie yesterday for Thanksgiving. It looked incredibly beautiful going into the oven - perfectly crimped edges, maple-leaf-shaped cutout in the middle and perfectly aligned slits to let out steam.

    Halfway through baking, it still looked perfect but was really getting brown so I laid some foil over top (did not seal or even really tuck in) to keep it from getting too brown/burnt.

    When it was done and I took it out of the oven and the foil off, the crust had had a frost heave or something and the edges were broken away from the flat part of the top crust.

    It also deflated after cooling so that it wasn't piled high with apples - sort of sunk in the middle.

    It still tasted out of this world but I was so bummed about the presentation. The other good thing I did was cook the filling before putting it into the pie letting the apples' juices come out and keeping the finished product thick and absolutely not runny.

    1. Should I have left the crust completely uncovered and hoped for the best?

    2. And just how many apples do you need to have to keep it from deflating when cooled?

    3. In some spots, the top crust didn't deflate but the apples underneath did so there was a big gap between crust and apples. Why? How do I keep this from happening again?

    Help - I'd like to have a pie that looks as good as it tastes!

    Loren
    The term "working mother" is redundant.

  2. #2
    I'm certainly no pie expert, but I was reading on baking911 and there were 2 possible solutions mentioned for the filling shrinking away from the crust.

    One is to precook the filling, which you did. The other is to slice the apples into really thin slices so air pockets don't get trapped between the layers of slices. Evidently the thinner slices can lay closer together and not trap air.

    Also, I wonder if by putting the foil over the entire crust, it ended up sealing the vent holes and that's why the crust rose so high and broke away from the edge? I've only ever put foil around the edge of the crust as that always seems to be the place that gets the most brown and runs risk of burning. Also, maybe the filling didn't really shrink, but the crust really rose due to the blocked vents?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammster View Post
    Also, I wonder if by putting the foil over the entire crust, it ended up sealing the vent holes and that's why the crust rose so high and broke away from the edge?
    Shouldn't have been any rising of the crust as there isn't any leavening. I do pre-cook and use very thinly sliced apples and usually have success with that method.

    I'm wondering if you didn't cook long enough or maybe rolled the top crust too thin?
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by sneezles View Post
    Shouldn't have been any rising of the crust as there isn't any leavening. I do pre-cook and use very thinly sliced apples and usually have success with that method.

    I'm wondering if you didn't cook long enough or maybe rolled the top crust too thin?

    If the vent holes are blocked the steam from the cooking filling will push the crust up.

    And actually, there is leavening in the form of the little bits of cold butter mixed in with the flour. As the butter melts, the water vapor from the melting butter forms steam, pushes the crust a little bit, and that's what makes a flaky crust.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammster View Post
    If the vent holes are blocked the steam from the cooking filling will push the crust up.

    And actually, there is leavening in the form of the little bits of cold butter mixed in with the flour. As the butter melts, the water vapor from the melting butter forms steam, pushes the crust a little bit, and that's what makes a flaky crust.

    Since she didn't cover it until halfway through the baking time the crust would have already been set. Sorry but I was taught the butter melting and the steam escaping just left pockets of air no pushing of the crust enough to see a rise. Which is why fruit fillings tend to shrink away from the top crust.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by sneezles View Post
    Since she didn't cover it until halfway through the baking time the crust would have already been set. Sorry but I was taught the butter melting and the steam escaping just left pockets of air no pushing of the crust enough to see a rise. Which is why fruit fillings tend to shrink away from the top crust.
    But, I think that the foil could have sealed the vents and caused the crust to rise (meaning push up from, not rise as in with leavening) and break away.


    "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself" ~ George Bernard Shaw


  7. #7
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    I guess it's still a mystery. The crimped edges of the crust were on the lip of the pie pan. I wonder if putting the crimped edges over the edge of the pie and not on the pan's lip would help.

    I also would have thought that the crust would have been set at the halfway point when I covered it. It was already super-brown and still looked perfect.

    Maybe I shouldn't have covered it and not cooked it as long as the recipe said. With the precooking of the apples and the crust brown, it may have been done long before I took it out.

    Loren
    The term "working mother" is redundant.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by sneezles View Post
    Since she didn't cover it until halfway through the baking time the crust would have already been set. Sorry but I was taught the butter melting and the steam escaping just left pockets of air no pushing of the crust enough to see a rise. Which is why fruit fillings tend to shrink away from the top crust.
    I think we are talking different forms of "rising". What I originally meant was that the steam generated by the filling caused the crust to rise above the filling. I didn't mean the crust was rising as in how bread might rise. Does that clear up what I meant?
    The butter melting does leave air pockets, but it's the pressure of the steam produced by the butter melting that holds those air pockets and that gives a slight rise to the crust. Otherwise the crust would collapse and fill in those little pockets. That's the way I understand it.


    I wonder if the crust was fully cooked halfway through? I'm not so sure it would have been set though since it was still hot and pliable. I think it only truly sets once it cools down.

    I wonder if it was too thin? Good thought.

    ETA: Robyn I didn't see your post until I posted mine.

  9. #9
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    Here's an article from CI on the gap between the crust and the filling:

    What Causes the Gap Between the Crust and Filling in Apple Pie?

    Our solution to your problem is to increase the amount of fat, particularly butter, in your pie crust recipe. This was suggested by both P.J. Hamel, Senior Editor of the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Catalogue, and Dr. Ronald Zelch, Director of Cake and Sweet Good Production at the American Institute of Baking. It was also borne out in our test kitchen.

    In our article All-Season Apple Pie the recipe for pie crust calls for two parts flour to one part fat (measured by volume) and the top crust sinks down snugly over the apples. When we tried a crust with three parts flour to one part fat, which is the typical ratio in many recipes, the pie baked up with about 1 1/2-inches of air-space between the apples and the top crust.

    The reason for this is simple. The presence of additional fat in the dough makes it more pliable and prolongs the point at which the top crust will set into shape as it bakes in the oven. If the crust does not set until later, it will stick closer to the apples. However, if the crust sets into shape too quickly, it will not sink down with the cooking apples, which results in the unwanted gap between filling and crust. Zelch also explained that fat interferes with gluten formation in the pastry, and therefore weakens the overall structure, causing the crust to collapse onto the fruit. Zelch and King Arthur’s Hamel both mentioned that butter has a lower melting point than shortening, so more butter will cause the crust to collapse sooner than would shortening.

    Hamel and our test kitchen staff agreed on a couple more pointers that should help. First, do your best to further limit gluten development in your dough by not overworking it. Moisture combined with any kind of movement, such as mixing or kneading, turns the proteins in flour into gluten, which makes a stronger, less collapsible (and less tender) crust. Second, lay the crust over the apples without stretching it, which will also increase gluten. Third, pat the apples down gently in the pie plate to compress them slightly before laying the top crust on them. This way, the fruit will sink a little less as it cooks, again helping to reduce the gap. Our editor Chris Kimball also notes that you should let the dough hydrate as much as possible before rolling it out, preferably overnight. The hydration makes the dough more pliable and less likely to shrink when baked.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  10. #10
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    Susan, there's nothing you can't find!

    I am still leaning on the idea that it was overcooked. The crust clearly "rose" certainly not in the bread sense but it puffed a bit from the way it was halfway through to the way it was when I took it out and uncovered it.

    Loren
    The term "working mother" is redundant.

  11. #11
    Sounds like a combo of different crust recipe, cooking filling ahead might be the best way to get the filling and crust to stay next to each other.
    Although it does sound like it may have already been done when you put the foil on it.

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