Last week, we took three different apple pie recipes and had an apple pie cook-off in order to find the “perfect” homemade apple pie.Now that we have a delicious homemade recipe, I wanted to see how this recipe compared to a frozen apple pie, the ultimate convenience dessert. I bought a Plush Pippin brand frozen apple pie and then baked up one apple pie from the winning homemade recipe. With the help of a little ice cream and 5 tasters, we compared the two pies and, as expected, found some significant differences!
Due to my inexperience with the winning crust recipe, my homemade crust was a bit too tough and crunchy. Despite this shortcoming, all of the tasters agreed that the homemade crust tasted more buttery and rich than the frozen crust. The texture of the frozen crust was slightly crumbly and not entirely unpleasant but the flavor was far too sweet with no buttery taste; almost closer to a cookie than a crust.
The filling really won the homemade pie lots of points. The homemade filling tasted very “appley” and had a tart brightness that only comes from using fresh Granny Smith apples. The frozen pie, on the other hand, had a filling so sweet that it was hard to taste any apple flavor at all. In addition, the frozen pie filling had a jellied texture that none of us found appetizing.
Here’s the drawback: A homemade pie is both time consuming and difficult to make. Homemade pie crust that is flaky and tender is an endeavor that can only be perfected through lots of practice. Even for those who can whip out a pie crust perfectly every time (that does not include me!), there is still the time consuming task of peeling and slicing apples and the hour it takes to bake a homemade pie properly. Additionally, the frozen pie only cost half as much as making a pie from scratch because of the cost of buying fresh apples and using real butter. Considering all of this makes a frozen pie seem a bit more appetizing even given all the flavor shortcomings!
Bottom Line: A well-made homemade apple pie cannot be beat for fresh apple flavor and flaky crust. However, homemade crust can be difficult to get right and making a pie from scratch is time consuming. Frozen apple pie is cheaper and far more convenient than homemade, if you are willing to sacrifice some fresh flavor and settle for a bit blander, crumbly crust.