Monday, November 19, 2012

Preserving: Freezer Apple Pie Filling

Tis the season to preserve the last of the local apples!  It's also time to start thinking about the upcoming holidays, guests visiting, parties and potlucks.  I love this season!  Always up for trying something new, I wanted to know if it's possible to make apple pie filling and freeze it... and it sure is!  I have a nifty apple peeler/corer/slicer contraption that makes preparing the apples a snap (only about $20 on Amazon if you don't have one yet, they are amazing!).

Use some cheap aluminum pie plates for this, the ones that are a little smaller than a regular pie size, and line them with aluminum foil for easy filling removal.

The amount of water in this recipe is variable depending on how juicy your apples are and whether you want extra "apple syrup" to put over pancakes or waffles or ice cream... or to eat with a spoon... we made some into pie-flavored ice cream!   For no extra syrup, about half to two-thirds of the ten cups of water will probably work fine, and cut the corn starch down proportionally. 13 small apples makes enough for 3 pies. 

Freezer apple pie filling, ready for pies!

Freezer Apple Pie Filling

18 cups thinly sliced apples
3 tablespoons lemon juice (optional, to prevent browning)
4 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 to 1 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
5 to 10 cups water

1. Prepare pie tins: line aluminum pie tins with foil. (13 small apples makes 3 pies)
2. In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice and set aside. Pour water into a large pot over medium heat. Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Add to water, stir well, and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
3. Add apples and return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until apples are tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.
4. Ladle into prepared pie tins. Cool at room temperature no longer than 1 1/2 hours.
5. Freeze, then transfer frozen discs out of pie plates into zip-lock freezer bags. Can be stored for up to 12 months.

Baking the frozen pie filling is a lot like baking a pie from the store except you can proudly announce that it was homemade.  I like the frozen pre-shaped pie crusts, and the frozen filling discs fit perfectly inside!  I use a crumbly oat topping instead of a top crust.  Bake in a 350 oven for 45 minutes and test for done-ness.  This made the crust a little soggy so I might play with the time and temp a little, but the apples were completely thawed and cooked through and it's always nice to have the house smell like apple pie.  Only thing better is having the house smell like apple pie and hot buttered rum. 

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