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Achieving Perfect Apple Pie using Convection-Bake Mode in Your Oven

Updated: Mar 17

Baking an apple pie from scratch takes some time and effort, but the result is so rewarding that the effort is worthwhile. Warm apple pie fresh from the oven and served with vanilla ice cream is a simple but memorable treat, and with all the fresh apples available now, it’s the ideal time to perfect your pie-baking skills.

Pie recipes have often been handed down from one generation to the next and the recipe hasn't changed much over the years, but the ovens we bake our pies in have changed a great deal. After you have read through the following tips for success, don't be afraid to tweak the baking instructions and take advantage of the improved technology in your oven.

Adapting Traditional Recipes for Baking with Modern Oven Technology

I often marvel at how Convection ovens have improved our cooking options, and I am in awe of the women and men who literally had to slave over their stoves to produce great meals, bread, fantastic, and desserts in times gone by.

Although ovens began to improve in the 1950s, it took until the late 1990s for them to really transform into tools that produced more reliable results. The first improvement was the addition of the convection fan with a heating element around the fan that could circulate heated air around the oven, cooking the food evenly. The second transformation was the repositioning of the bottom heating element.

For many years, the bottom heating element in an electric oven was exposed, which caused many problems when baking pies. The direct heat from the exposed element often caused the pie filling to bubble up over the crust onto the oven floor, making an awful mess and staining the crust.

To counteract this effect, many pie recipes instructed adding foil around the edge of the pie to prevent the crust from burning and baking the pie on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips. Now that the oven design has changed and ovens generally heat more evenly, baking a pie is much easier.

Tips for Baking Pies in Convection for Great Results

Both gas and electric convection ovens offer a Bake mode and a Convection Bake mode and either is a good choice when baking pies. I prefer the Convection-Bake mode because the circulating heat cooks the crust evenly and often in less time. In addition to ideally cooking the crust through perfectly I like the way fruit cooks in convection as opposed to the more drying heat of the regular Bake mode.

First arrange the oven racks before heating your oven. The User Guide for your oven will recommend the ideal rack position, but generally with pies rack position one counting up from the bottom works well. In some gas ovens I have baked in, rack position 2 provided better results so this is definitely a case of knowing your oven. Remember even if you can’t find the oven User Guide, it will most likely be available online and most manufacturers have YouTube videos as well.

Use the first rack for baking an apple pie in an electric oven
Use first rack in an electric oven to bake the pie

When pies are baked in the traditional Bake mode, the recipe temperature will be in the 375-400F range. However, when baking in convection, it is advisable to reduce the recipe temperature by 25 degrees to avoid overcooking the edge of the pastry. If the edge of the pie begins to get very dark, that indicates that the heat is too high.

So keep in mind pie recipes have been around for ages and the basic pie dough and filling recipe is probably perfect. However, adapting to the cooking to benefit from the features of your modern convection oven will provide the best results.

It is mid-October, and the stores are already laden with baking and cooking supplies for our big November holiday, Thanksgiving. Convection ovens are excellent tools that can simplify the preparation of an enormous feast, so if you would like to learn how to take the stress out of your holiday cooking, I would encourage you to review our popular series of turkey videos: How to Roast a Turkey in Convection, How to Roast a Spatchock Turkey in Convection, How to Roast A Heritage Turkey in Convection and How to Slow Roast Turkey Pieces in Convection.

Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast

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