The Baker Upstairs: homemade apple pie filling


homemade apple pie filling


So here's something you may not know about me (based on the lack of recipes on the blog)... I am really into home canning! My sister-in-law taught me to can peaches about seven years ago, and ever since I have been hooked. We try to can a variety of fruits every year, and some of my favorites are peaches (from my mother-in-law's trees), grape juice, and applesauce. This year we got a killer deal on apples from a local orchard (80 pounds for $20!) and canned a ton of applesauce. We still had plenty of apples left over after canning the sauce, so I decided it was a perfect time to try some home-canned apple pie filling. I found a perfect recipe on Skip to My Lou and got to work!

The part that took the longest by far was peeling, coring, and slicing all of the apples. I used my new handy-dandy apple peeler, but didn't use the corer or slicer on it because I wanted the apples to be sliced fairly thick. It did take a little time, but I turned on a fun podcast and had a good time. I actually find repetitive work to be relaxing sometimes, so it was a nice way to unwind after a busy day. :) 

A note on the ingredients: I would recommend using a fairly flavorful apple that's more on the sweet side. I used a mixture of honey crisp and yellow delicious and they worked great together. I think some granny smith apples would be good mixed in too, but if you used only granny smith, the filling might be a little tart. As far as the Clear Jel goes, it is really similar to corn starch but is safe for canning and doesn't turn cloudy over time. It's not the same as Sure Jell (which is used for making jam for canning) so be sure not to get the two confused. I bought my Clear Jel at a local restaurant supply store (Orson Gygi - best store ever!) and they sell it online as well. As far as the Fruit Fresh goes, my grocery store has it next to the canning supplies. If you can't find it, you could use citric acid or vitamin C tablets instead. 

This pie filling is so flavorful and delicious, and makes enough for six pies. I'm so excited to be able to enjoy apple pie all winter long!

Homemade Apple Pie Filling

6 quarts peeled sliced apples (about 30 apples)
1-2 tablespoons Fruit Fresh (citric acid)
5 cups sugar
3/4 cup Clear Jel
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 1/2 cups water
5 cups apple juice (no sugar added)
3/4 cup lemon juice

Fill a large bowl about halfway with water, and dissolve the Fruit Fresh in the bowl. Peel, core, and slice the apples, and place them in the bowl of water to soak while you make the sauce. Add the sugar, Clear Jel, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, water, and apple juice to a large pot and whisk to combine. Heat on medium heat until the mixture reaches a boil. Add the lemon juice and let boil one minute. Remove from heat. Drain the apples and toss the apples with the sauce. Spoon into sterilized quart jars, leaving one inch of headspace at the top. Wipe the rims of the jars clean, add lids and bands, and process in a water bath canner for 25+ minutes, depending on altitude. (Increase processing time by 5 minutes for each additional 2000 feet of altitude above 1000 feet. For example, I live at an altitude of about 4500 feet, so I processed mine for 35 minutes.) Allow to cool for 12-24 hours and check that all jars are sealed before storing. Makes 6 quarts.

adapted slightly from Skip to My Lou
To make the pie, I used a store-bought pie crust (I'm still too intimidated by pie crust to attempt my own, but I'm hoping to remedy that for Thanksgiving, fingers crossed!). I found a super easy tutorial for a lattice top on Gimme Some Oven, and I'm kind of amazed by how lovely it turned out! I brushed the top with an egg wash, sprinkled with sugar, and baked at 350 for about 75 minutes.

My pie looked extra pretty in my new pie dish from Personalized Creations! I really love that the pie dish is heavy duty and durable, but pretty too. And the personalization is pretty great, too!

Personalized Creations has just about anything you could ever want to personalize, from kitchenware to t-shirts to newborn gifts. They also have a really great holiday section, and I'm seriously tempted to pick up some of these adorable personalized Christmas stockings. If you'd like to try something fun from Personalized Creations, click here for some great coupons to save money on your order!

Happy pie making!

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