Thomas Keller's Secrets to Making the Best Apple Pie
Baking the perfect apple pie—evenly tender apples; a buttery, flaky crust that's golden-brown on top with no sogginess underneath—is one of the most important kitchen skills you can master. Nailing it can take a lifetime.
But because apple season is right around the corner, we're down to speed things up. That's why we consulted superstar chef Thomas Keller, founder of The French Laundry, Per Se, and apple pie technique instructor at Masterclass on pie-making skills not to skip.
His top tip for baking the perfect apple pie is controversial. Keller says to incorporate both diced and grated apples into your filling. "The grated apple cooks quickly and consistently, allowing for excess liquid to evaporate and resulting in an applesauce texture with just the right amount of moisture," he says. "Alternatively, the diced apple provides a textural contrast."
When you consider how prone the bottom crust of apple pie is to getting soft and soggy from water leaching out from the fresh apples, this trick makes a lot of sense. Grated apples have significantly more surface area exposed, which means moisture inside the fruit is able to evaporate at a higher rate in the oven compared to larger-sized apple pieces. Combining the two sizes helps preserve the textural contrast between the crust and filling (and we all know a grated apple pie would be less than ideal). You'll still be biting into a sweet, tender-cooked apple chunk—it just won't be encased in mushy, limp pie crust. Keller recommends using a 1:1 ratio of grated to diced apples.
Looking for more ways to perfect your pie skills? We've got you. Here are 10 other genius tricks Keller shared with us.