Back when she was a judge on The Great British Baking Show, baking queen Mary Berry’s dire warnings against “soggy bottoms” filled the bakers with pie paranoia. Because unfortunately for the bakers, a soggy bottom crust is exceedingly difficult to avoid when baking a moisture-packed fruit pie!
I don’t personally make fruit pies very often, but this time of year I can rarely resist the urge to bake a homemade apple pie. And after binge-watching several seasons The Great British Baking Show over the past year, I wanted to ensure that I could achieve a perfectly crisp pie crust that would make Mary Berry proud!
The Secret To Making Flawless Fruit Pie Filling
In my desire to avoid a “soggy bottom,” I spent hours researching tips and tricks about making pies. Eventually I came across a tip that seemed almost too simple, but I was intrigued enough to give it a try anyway.
It ended up working better than I could have hoped, and now its my secret weapon for making perfect fruit pie filling! The secret, it turns out, is as simple as reducing the fruit juice before adding it back to the filling.
Separating the natural juices from the fruit and reducing it produces a sticky syrup that helps bind the filling together. It also adds a more concentrated fruit flavor to the filling instead of diluting it or changing its texture.
Here’s how I did it while making my apple pie, but you can use this method while making blueberry, strawberry, pear, peach, or cherry pie too!
How To Thicken A Fruit Pie Filling
Step 1 – Draw Out The Liquid
Add the required amount of sugar to your sliced or chopped fruit as stated in your pie filling recipe. Add any lemon juice or other liquids that the filling calls for, then let the ingredients sit in the bowl for about one hour to draw out the liquid from the fruit.
Step 2 – Reduce The Liquid
Separate the fruit from the liquid and set the fruit aside for now. Pour the liquid into a small pot and bring it to a simmer on your stovetop.
Continue simmering the liquid until the amount is reduced by half.
Step 3 – Add It To The Pie
Let the reduced syrup sit on your stovetop while you prepare your pie. Line your pie plate with the bottom crust and add the fruit and any other ingredients your filling recipe calls for.
Just before you add the top crust, pour the reduced syrup over your pie filling. Then add the top crust and bake as usual! :-)
Bonus Tips For Perfect Pies
- Allow Steam Out. Use a lattice crust on top of your pie, or cut out part of it to create a vent. This will allow steam to escape as the pie bakes, thickening the filling and producing a crispier crust.
- Cool Pies Completely. Fruit pie fillings thicken and set as they cool. If you want your pie to stay intact while you slice it, cool it at room temperature for several hours before cutting into it.
What’s your favorite kind of fruit pie?