CASA GRANDE -- Many of us grew up on McDonald’s apple pie.
The restaurant chain has been selling the basic apple turnover-style pies for more than half a century and for some of us, while we no longer eat much of McDonald’s food, the pies keep us coming back.
But are the pies easy to make at home? I decided to give it a try following two recipes found online.
There are lots of recipes and how-to videos online on how to make pies like McDonald’s. Most claim to produce a pie “just like” McDonald’s.
For a Simple or Not Kitchen recipe review, I chose to follow a recipe from a website called Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baker that promised a handheld turnover “better than McDonald’s.” As these pies are baked, I also compared the recipe to one found on Popsugar.com, in which the pies are fried to resemble the pre-1992-style McDonald’s pies.
Prior to 1992, McDonald’s fried its pies. Now they’re baked.
We made two batches of pies with the same filling mixture and the same puff pastry dough. In one batch, we fried the pies and in the other, we baked them.
While McDonald’s uses a blend of six different varieties of American-grown apples in its pies, I just used gala apples.
The results of both pies were good. They were easy to make without any specialty equipment or technical skills. McDonald’s pies of course are mass produced in a commercial bakery so ours didn’t have the same look as the fast food version.
The fresh-out-of-the-oven baked pies at first seemed much better than the fried ones. The fried ones seemed a bit soggy after sitting for a few hours, but when heated up in an air fryer before eating, had the perfect taste and crispy texture.
They may have been better if I had skipped the dip in the hot oil and simply cooked them in the air fryer to begin with.
Although neither the baked or the fried version had the exact taste or texture of a McDonald’s pie, they were both delicious and perhaps better than the fast food version.
The baked ones had more of a resemblance to the pies sold at Jollibee rather than McDonald’s.
Just for fun, I also tried frying the same apple mixture in regular pie crust, following the same directions for the fried puff pastry. Unfortunately, the crust did not hold up to frying and fell apart in the oil.
All the pies were delicious and disappeared fast after I made them — and I made more than a dozen. They’re also supper easy to make and are worth a try for those who like handheld pies.
Copycat McDonald’s apple pie
4 apples, diced
¼ cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
juice of 1 lemon
3 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
1 package puff pastry, enough for 12 pies
1 egg for egg wash
cinnamon sugar for sprinkling
Make apple mixture by placing diced apples in a pan on medium heat. Add butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and lemon juice. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes until liquid begins to reduce.
In a separate bowl, whisk corn starch with water and add to mixture.
Cook another few minutes until mixture begins to thicken.
In a separate bowl, whisk egg with a small amount of water.
On a floured surface, lightly roll puff pastry so that dough is flexible and easy to work with then cut dough into triangles. Most purchased puff pastry will have two separate dough portions that can each be cut into six rectangles, for a dozen pies.
Place several tablespoons of the apple mixture on each rectangular section of the dough.
Brush egg wash along the edges of the pie and fold one edge over. Press the edges of the pie with a fork to close.
For the fried version: Fry in hot oil for about two minutes on each side. Remove from oil and set on a paper towel-covered plate to drain excess oil.
For the baked version: Brush egg wash on top of each pie. With scissors or a knife, cut three slits in top of pie. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 25 minutes until golden brown and puffy.