I'm not talking about the crusts. Those came out fine.

But the fruit of my apple pie came out dark brown without any crunch at all. They turned to mush, like a thick pudding or sauce.

I used 2 pounds of Granny Smith apples sliced thinly, 3 teaspoons of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon allspice, 0.25 teaspoon salt, 0.25 ground nutmeg, 0.25 teaspoon kosher salt, 2 tablespoons all purpose flour, 2 teaspoons ground Saigon cinnamon, and 0.75 cups of sugar.

I didn't cook the apples on a pan, just mixed the apples with the sugar and the flour and allspice and stuff and let it cook in the pie in the oven for 90 minutes(the first 30 minutes at 375 degrees and the 60 at 350 degrees.

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    How thin? Granny Smiths usually hold up pretty well in baking. – Cascabel Oct 10 '16 at 5:22
  • About 0.23 – 0.25 inches thick. – Danny Rodriguez Oct 10 '16 at 7:01
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    90 minutes will turn any kind of apple into mush, I'd think. I agree with Niall. – PoloHoleSet Oct 10 '16 at 16:21
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    @DannyRodriguez I know you say you're happy with your pastry, but to me it sounds like the problem - 90min is about twice the normal cooking time and shouldn't be necessary to cook the pastry. You're trading off the result with the crust for the result with the filling but because the crust looks good, you're blaming the fill. – Niall Oct 10 '16 at 19:53
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    What crust needs 90 minutes at reasonable temperatures, unless the filling is FAR too wet? An ice-water or puff crust would be cinders, a hot water shortcrust would be armor plate after 90 minutes :) – rackandboneman Oct 12 '16 at 10:45

Hold back a bit on the lemon, or toss 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in the filling. I don't see any other cause for the apples to have completely macerated in your recipe other than the acid content to cooking time. 90 minutes is a rather long time, but I'd expect them to hold up quite a bit better than 'mush'.

You could also try blind baking your bottom crust for 15 or so minutes so the final cooking time is shortened, which presents less opportunity for the apples to soften. Ideally, you want to be in the 45 minute to one hour range.

If it were me, I'd probably try both. Keep trying and experimenting, bringing a fresh pie to the table is one of the most satisfying ways to delight your friends and family :)

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  • So you don't think my slices were too thin? – Danny Rodriguez Oct 10 '16 at 7:41
  • I also had the filling mixed together and sitting for about ten minutes give or take 2 minutes while I rolled and flattened the crusts. – Danny Rodriguez Oct 10 '16 at 7:42
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    1/4 inch thick slices are pretty common, so I don't think that's your problem. If you wanted to deliberately make it a little more chunky, you could try cubing the apple instead (1.5 cm or just bite-size), but with granny smith that also means a bite that's a bit more tart. – Tim Post Oct 10 '16 at 7:45
  • I also don't think the filling resting while you prepared the crust would have a big impact (there's not that much acid in there), but I usually cook my filling while my bottom crust blind bakes. I fill the pie and put the top crust on with the filling just off the simmer. While that might have made some difference, I'm pretty sure it's minor. – Tim Post Oct 10 '16 at 7:48
  • How would I partially bake the top crust without the filling? – Danny Rodriguez Oct 10 '16 at 17:14

The filling of the pie turned to mush because Granny Smith apples completely collapse and do turn to mush when fully cooked. (They are great for applesauce for that reason.) Many other apples will become soft but hold their apple shape - not Granny Smith. You indicate you don't have much choice in apple varieties. In that case if you want defined apple shapes, you should slightly undercook them; they will be a little "al dente", but still wonderful.

Surprised that they turned dark brown though. Granny S. usually stay nice and delicately light colored. Other apples often turn quite brown when cooked. ...Maybe the apple mush became colored by the spices. Brown spices won't be able to penetrate an "al dente" apple piece.

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    Really? Granny Smith are one of the most common apple varieties used in pies, they're recommended for baking in basically every one of the tables/lists I've managed to find, which generally means holding shape. This Food Lab article even explicitly mentions them as holding their shape: "Some, like Granny Smith and Empire were great at keeping their shape, resulting in the tender-but-firm chunks I look for in good apple pie." – Cascabel Oct 10 '16 at 18:49
  • @Jefromi that's interesting, and maybe it's a regional thing but I wouldn't consider cooking with any of those apples. They're all "eating" apples rather than "cooking" apples. Granny smiths will cook better than other eating apples, but still aren't the in the same league as a cooking apple. – Niall Oct 10 '16 at 20:06
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    I have heard that Granny S. are the best for pie too. But they do turn to absolute mush if cooked all the way. Boil them up for apple sauce, and when they are done, you don't even need to squash them; just stir gently: lovely puree texture and pale fresh color sort of translucent. ..... Holding their shape?... maybe if semi-raw?... Or are there different apples called "Granny Smith" in different places??? – Lorel C. Oct 10 '16 at 20:57
  • I don't know, but I've made pies with them too, and they didn't turn to mush. Maybe if you cook it too long (and 90 minutes like the OP's pie sounds pretty long) but that's not really the fault of the apple. – Cascabel Oct 10 '16 at 21:09
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    @Jefromi that could be relative too. If you're used to cooking apples then the normal cooking of granny smiths could seem very mushy. – Niall Oct 11 '16 at 20:17

If you are cooking for a longer time for a golden crust, try slicing your apples all a uniform 1/2 inch thick. Granny Smiths are a good choice since they are full of pectin, a natural thickening agent. They should keep the bottom from getting soggy.

I always use either Granny Smiths or Fujis or a mix of the two for pies/baking. Mine turn out firm and retain their color if I use a little lemon after I cut them.

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Heating speed of the apples could matter, and precooking them at low temperature (mind the danger zone though!) will potentially help - I have to refer to "On Food and Cooking" where it discusses "firming" vegetables for details, given that I have not too much experience with the technique and want to avoid copying from the book.

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Why did it happen? The apples were probably old (my bet) unless you harvested them yourself. Maybe your slices are too thin. Maybe the oven is too hot and you burned the apples because your crust was too oily. Hard to say without pics.

You could also blanch the slices for one minute in boiling water and immediately cool them down in ice water and drain. Then chill 1/2 of the slices in a freezer for one hour. Prebake the bottom crust and then mix the almost frozen apple slices with the merely blanched slices and add the rest of your ingredients.

I would generally tend to use thicker slices, too.

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