Why You Should Sauté Apples In Butter Before Baking With Them

Apples are wonderful when baked, play well with other flavors, and are fairly versatile. Apple cakes, pies, crumbles, and tarts, make for excellent gifts, breakfasts, or snacks...and who can turn down an apple cinnamon anything? The downside is that when raw apples are added to desserts, it can lead to leathery, undercooked fruit that’s tough to cut through. Raw apple pieces that are mixed into a batter release water during baking, and that water has nowhere to go but into the batter surrounding it. That leaves you with a wet dough pocket, and then it evaporates if it gets the chance, making a humid air pocket. If you’ve ever sliced an apple cake and piece of the fruit slips out, that’s why. Putting apples on top of a cake isn’t great, either. When apples are laid over a cake or tart as an open-faced topping, they become dry and leathery. They lose flavor, become desiccated, and simultaneously become wet on the dessert underneath. That's why it's important to sauté your apples in butter before baking with them. The butter seals in the apple’s juices so they don’t leathery; pre-cooks the apples slightly allowing them to release excess water and finish cooking in the oven; and it takes only a few extra minutes in a pot or frying pan. It’s comparable to tossing veggies in oil before you oven-roast them. Once the apples hit the oven, the coating of fat allows for heat to be conducted more evenly across the entire surface of the apple and the apple will cook completely in the amount of time the entire dessert cooks, an average of 30 minutes at 350°F, allowing you to easily cut through the apple slices and get the perfect bite in every forkful.