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Flavor loss in apples

AFMan916 | Nov 18, 2015 08:58 AM

Fellow Chowhounders,

Quick question regarding flavor/aromatic loss in apples (for apple pie).

I'm not an "avid" baker, and have probably only baked 5 or so apple pies in my life, so my data set is understandably limited, however...

Today I'm baking an apple pie with apples picked from a local NC orchard last week, and using the Serious Eats Best Apple Pie recipe (the one that calls for a 10 minute rest in hot water prior to baking). Varieties used are Jonagold and Pink Lady. Prior to the par cooking, I was sneaking a few slices here and there and found myself blown away by the sweet, aromatic taste of both varieties. Excitement started to set in at the thought of this delicious pie, and I dutifully followed Kenji's directions to a T.

However, upon draining the apples in the colander, I happened to sneak another slice or two and couldn't help but wonder where the sweet and aromatic flavor had gone...it was now muted. They still taste like apples (obviously), and I'm sure the pie will turn out fine, but I can't help but wonder if I'd have different results were I to have foregone the parcooking.

Some quick Googling leads me to believe what I'm missing isn't the true sweetness, but perhaps more the aromatic compounds.

So my question is this; does cooking an apple, whether that be in advance (a la Kenji's method) or during the baking process cause some loss of aromatic compounds/sweetness? Serious Eats has never steered me wrong, but now I'm uncertain. I understand the science behind it (well-explained on the site), but I still can't help but think something is lost during the process. Will I be better served to eschew the par cooking in subsequent pies?

When I bit into those slices "pre-hot water", I was truly blown away. Now I'm simply...satisfied. Big difference. I don't eat a ton of apples, so these orchard apples are a first time thing for me. All my apple pies before used store-bought varieties and, while I always sneak a few slices here and there, I've never had quite the reaction as I had today. The difference in flavor has just never been noteworthy (pre to post baking). Keep in mind, first time trying Kenji's method.

Any and all help/direction will be much appreciated!

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