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Filtering by Category: pie

Hot Water Apple Pie

Patricia Reitz

Happy Pi Day (get it? 3.14).  Alright, alright, all cheesiness aside, I know what you're thinking... Hot Water What??!!!!  Yeah, that's what I thought when I first learned about this technique too, but I'm here to tell you the apples in my pie turned out great!  Not mushy at all - firm, yet tender and absolutely packed full of pure apple flavor.  

Typically when I make an apple pie, I'll use a mixture of 3 or 4 different apple varieties, but this technique calls for only 1.  Additionally, the spices are kept to a minimum which really elevates the flavor or the fruit.  Bottom line, if you think you'd like the flavor of golden delicious apples on steroids, it's safe to say this recipe and technique are for you.  

"hot water pour over method" for making apple pie - ButterYum

Start with room temperature golden delicious apples - we're going to need about 4 pounds of peeled, sliced apples.  Don't miss the room temperature part - it's important.  We need to peel them - let me show you my nifty apple peeler.

How fun was that?  Love that little gadget, and it's cheap too.  Sorry for the blurry video, but you get the idea.

Cut out the cores.  I save mine for the girls, and by girls I mean the chickens at my local egg farm.  They know my vehicle and come running every time I visit because they know they're going to get something I bring lots of fruit and veggie scraps for them to snack on.  This week it'll be apple cores, cabbage, carrots, squash seeds, broccoli and cauliflower stems and leaves, some salad greens didn't get eaten, and empty egg shells.

Cut the apples into 1/4-inch slices.  Using a really good knife helps (I used this one).

Heat 3 quarts of water (or cider) until it boils.  If you use cider, save if after soaking the apples to drink later. 

hot water technique for precooking apples for pie - ButterYum

Pour the boiling water over the apples and soak for 10 minutes.  If the apples are cold, they'll make the temperature of the liquid drop too much - it should remain between 140F and 160F during the 10-minute soak.  This is the magic temperature range that allows the pectin in the apples to set, preventing them from totally breaking down into mush during the baking process.  By the way, don't be alarmed if you hear the apples hissing in that hot liquid... you'll see a lot of tiny bubbles rise to the surface too. 

The water is too hot to press the apples down by hand so I weighted them down with a plate.   When 10 minutes are up, drain for another 10 minutes.

Then toss them with sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch.  There's only 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon needed for 4 pounds of sliced apples... that's very little, but remember, I said the spices were kept to a minimum to allow that pure apply flavor shine.  

You can hardly see the specks of cinnamon, but they're there - just enough to add the slightest bit of warmth to the pie.  The apples are now ready to go into your favorite pie crust (check out my all-butter crust recipe here).  

how to make apple pie. the hot water apple pie technique - ButterYum

Items used in this post:

Hot Water Apple Pie

makes one 9" pie, four 5" pies, or six 4" pies


  • double pie crust (recipe and photo tutorial here)

  • 4 1/2 pounds golden delicious apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch slices

  • 3 quarts water (or apple cider)

  • 10 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or more to taste)

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes

  • 2 tablespoons milk or cream

  • turbinado sugar (or granulated sugar)


  1. Preheat oven to 425F and place rack in bottom center position.

  2. Bring water or apple cider to a boil and pour over apple slices; soak 10 minutes, then drain another 10 minutes.

  3. Add sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt to the apples; mix well to combine.

  4. Roll half the crust and line pie plate(s) as usual.

  5. Pour the apples into the lined pie plate(s) and dot with butter cubes.

  6. Roll remaining half of crust and top pie, crimp edges to seal and cut a few holes for ventilation.

  7. Brush top crust with milk or cream and sprinkle liberally with turbinado sugar.

  8. Place pie plate(s) on rimmed baking sheet and bake 55-60 minutes for a 9" pie, 40-45 minutes for 5" pies, or 30-35 minutes for 4" pies.

adapted from Serious Eats

All Butter Pie Crust

Patricia Reitz

I know a lot of people buy prepackaged pie crusts for "convenience" sake, but I'm here to show you how easy it is to make your own less expensive and MUCH better tasting crust from scratch... and in less time than it takes to drive to the grocery store.  Plus you can make it way ahead of time.  I mean, talk about convenient!

The process here is so simple.  Just place flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and give them a whirl.

All Butter Pie Crust Tutorial - ButterYum

Then add COLD unsalted butter and pulse, pulse, pulse...

How to make your own pie crust from scratch - ButterYum

Pulse until the butter pieces are the size of peas.  About 5-10 pulses.

how to make your own pie crust from scratch - ButterYum

Then turn the processor on and drizzle in ICE COLD water until the mixture starts to form clumps that will stick together when compressed.  CAUTION:  do not allow any ice to fall into the processor - doing so will result in gooey, sticky holes in your crust.

Note:  depending on how humid your climate is and how much moisture your flour contains, you may not need to use all the water.

simple pie crust recipe with photos - ButterYum

This is exactly what the dough should look like.  

Scratch Pie Crust Tutorial - ButterYumhow to mahow

Shape dough into a flat disk (two if making the double crust recipe), wrap well in plastic wrap or place in a zip-top bag and chill for at least 1 hour (or up to 3 days) before rolling.

Note:  if you're not going to use the dough within 3 days, freeze it for up to a m0nth.  To thaw:  place wrapped dough in refrigerator overnight before rolling.  

how to make the best pie crust from scratch - how to photos - ButterYum

Happy Baking!

Items used to make this recipe:

Single All Butter Pie Crust

makes one 9-inch crust

Printable Recipe


  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 3-4 tablespoons ice cold water

Double All Butter Pie Crust

makes two 9-inch crusts

Printable Recipe


  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

  • 16 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed

  • 1 teaspoon fine salt

  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 6-8 tablespoons ice cold water


  1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade, place flour, salt, and sugar; pulse several times to combine.

  2. Add cold cubed butter and pulse processor on and off until the butter pieces are the size of peas.

  3. Turn the machine on and drizzle ice water slowly until small clumps of dough start to stick together. You'll know you've added enough water when the moistened clumps hold together in the palm of your hand when squeezed.

  4. Transfer to plastic wrap or zip-top storage bag and press into a round disk shape (two if making the double crust recipe); chill for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days before rolling. Dough can also be frozen for up to a month.


  • To prebake pie shell (blind bake), Place pie dough in pie plate, crimp edges and chill in freezer for 20 minutes or the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375F. Crumple a piece of parchment paper that's large enough to fill the pie plate, including the sides. Fill the parchment with rice (I don't like to use beans because they can't be cooked after baking, but rice can). Place chilled pie crust on half sheet pan and place it on the center rack of preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the parchment and rice and return to oven for 5 minutes. Cool completely before filling.