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How to Bake the Perfect Fruit Pie

The Clever Cookstr talks with Sarah Huck, co-author of Fruitful: Four Seasons of Fresh Fruit Recipes, a collaboration with Red Jacket Orchards. Check out Sarah's 5 easy tips for making perfect fruit pies all summer long.

By
Kara Rota
June 11, 2014
Episode #002

Fruitful image via Running PressWelcome to the Clever Cookstr, your ultimate window into the kitchens of the world's best cooks.

We're joined today by Sarah Huck, co-author of the recent cookbook Fruitful: Four Seasons of Fresh Fruit Recipes, a collaboration with Red Jacket Orchards, a third-generation farm in Geneva, New York.

Sarah's going to give us 5 tips on making perfect fruit pies all summer long.

The tips that we're talking about today will work for all kinds of fruit pies: berries, stone fruits, even classic apple pies. Any pie that has a standard pastry crust and a fruit filling that uses a thickener such as corn starch, tapioca, or flour.

Tip #1: Don't Overwork the Dough!

The more you knead that dough, the more you activate the gluten, which leads to a tough crust. Over-kneading also warms the ingredients, softening the fats that help give the crust lift and flakiness. So start with cold ingredients, add the water slowly, and handle the dough quickly and lightly.

You should end up with a crumbly, moist dough (not wet or stretchy) that you're able to pull together in a ball that breaks apart easily with little resistance.

Tip #2: Preheat the Baking Sheet

For an extra-crispy crust, bake the pie on a pre-heated baking sheet. Stick the baking sheet in the oven while it preheats, then set the pie on it to bake. It helps set the crust more quickly and prevents sogginess.

Tip #3: Prep Your Fruit

Toss the fruit with the sugar, and the lemon juice and salt (if adding) and let it stand for 15-30 minutes. This allows natural juices time to gather and strengthens the fruit cell walls to help maintain its shape while cooking.

Tip #4: Bake Until it Bubbles

Use the recipe baking time as a guideline only. Pie thickeners must reach a boiling point before they begin to set the pie, so wait until the juices in the center are bubbling thickly like a syrup. Most thickeners (except flour), will also turn shiny and glossy when they're ready. If it's not bubbling, keep baking, tenting the pie with foil if necessary to prevent overbrowning.

Tip #5: Be Patient!

Cool the pie completely for at least 3 hours. This gives the filling time to set, which will make it easier to slice. And cool it on a wire rack, which will allow air to circulate beneath the pan and maintain a crisp bottom crust.

Now, enjoy!

Tune in next time for the Clever Cookstr's Quick and Dirty Tips from the World's Best Cooks.

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Photos courtesy of Steve Legato. Reprinted with permission from Fruitful © 2014 Brian Nicholson and Sarah Huck, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.

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