Introduction: Tasty Crumb Top Apple Pie
This tasty treat is a hybrid between apple pie and apple crisp. You start with a pie crust and pie filling, and then top the apples with a brown sugar crumb topping. It is best served warm with ice cream or whipped cream. Enjoy!
Step 1: Start the Crust
The crust is the most important part of any pie. There are a lot of recipes that say they are "perfect" or "no-fail". But, I'm going to share my secret recipe. It was given to me by an elderly woman who lived across the street from me. She has since passed away. Here's what you need:
1 cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon. salt
1/2 cup shortening
2 tablespoons ice water
You want to use a bowl that is kind of wide with a flat bottom. Mix the flour and salt together. Then blend in the shortening. The ideal tool for this is a pastry cutter, but if you don't have one (you should really go get one if you want to make pie often) use two butter knives and "cut" the shortening into the flour. Keep mashing or cutting until it starts looking like cornmeal. You will have some larger chunks, so don't take all day trying to get them all tiny.
Step 2: Mix the Crust
Next, add the water. You don’t actually want ice in your water when you dump it in. I take a measuring cup and fill it with ice water. Let it sit a few minutes, then scoop out 2 tablespoons. Mix it in with a fork until everything is mostly moistened, but still a little crumbly.
Step 3: Refrigerate the Crust
Form the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Put the dough ball in the refrigerator while you work on the filling.
Step 4: Which Apples Should You Use?
There are so many varieties of apples, it’s hard to know what type to use. I’ve had good results with several kinds, but my favorite is the Granny Smith apple. For starters, they have the best mixture of sweet and tart. Second, they keep a good texture when baked. Third, they work really well on my “apple machine”. You don’t have to have one of these (but you really should go get one if you want to make pie often).
Step 5: Make the Filling
To make the filling, here’s what you need:
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of salt
¼ cup all purpose flour
1 ½ pounds of apples peeled and sliced
Mix the sugar, cinnamon, salt and flour together in a large bowl. Then, add the sliced apples and toss together until the apples are well coated.
Step 6: Roll Out the Crust
I have a miracle tool for rolling crust. It’s called the No Mess Dough Disk. I don’t know if you can still buy them. If not, the silicone pie mats work well, too. Plus they have sizes on them, so you know how big to roll your crust. I use a “dough roller” from Pampered Chef, but a regular rolling pin will work well, too.
Put a generous amount of flour (at least ¼ cup) on your rolling surface. Spread it all over. Then, unwrap your pie crust and cover loosely with the plastic wrap. Keep the plastic wrap between the dough and the roller, then start slowly flattening the dough. You want to keep rolling around the edges, so you don’t develop cracks.
Step 7: Keep Rolling
Keep rolling and rolling until you have a large enough circle to cover the dimension of your 9 inch pie plate, plus about 2 inches extra.
Step 8: Test Your Dough
Test to make sure your dough isn’t sticking to any part of the rolling surface by sliding a spatula under the dough and gently lifting.
Step 9: Place the Dough in the Pie Plate
Gently lift your dough disk or mat and gently tilt it toward your pie plate. Shake gently so it slides off and into the plate. Gently press the crust into the corners of the plate. As a side note, I prefer a glass pie plate. The bottom crust gets nice and crisp.
Step 10: Crimp the Crust
Gently roll under the excess crust so that there is about ½ inch of crust sitting on the edge of the plate. Then grab the top of the crust between your thumb and index and middle finger. Pinch together all around the edge. If you don’t like the way it looks keep pinching until it looks the way you want. If you don’t have much excess crust, or it’s too crumbly and breaks, you can trim off excess crust from another part of the pie and press it to your skimpy section.
Step 11: Add the Filling
Gently pour the filling into the crust and spread it around evenly.
Step 12: Make the Crumb Topping
Here’s what you need:
¾ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup quick oats
½ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup cold butter
Mix the flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon together. Then blend in the butter using your pastry cutter or two knives, like when you made the crust. When you’re done, it should be really crumbly looking with the biggest chunks being about the size of peas. Spread the topping evenly over the apples. It is a lot of topping. Don't worry, it will all melt down with the apple juices and turn into yummy goodness.
Step 13: Bake
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees then bake the pie for 35-40 minutes.
Step 14: Bake Some More
Cover the pie with aluminum foil and bake for 10 more minutes. This allows your apples to cook a little longer, without your topping and crust burning.
Step 15: Enjoy!
This is the easiest step! The pie is best served warm. Let it cool for about 30 minutes (so no one burns their mouth). Eat as-is, or add vanilla ice cream, or whipped cream. Yumm!