My birthday lands the day before Halloween. As a young child, I remember my parents throwing a birthday party for me that was also a costume party. One of the games we had was bobbing for apples. I recall watching the other kids trying to grab the apples in their teeth only to push the apples down and the kid would quickly move to the next apple. Every one of them had this issue that the apple kept moving away. Then it was my turn. I got down in front of the container and positioned my face over an apple. When given the go ahead, I opened my mouth and pushed the apple straight down to the bottom of the container, trapping it. Quickly my teeth took hold and I pulled my head out of the water. I may have been soaked, but I was victorious! I think Maggie has a much better suggestion for apples than bobbing with them. Welcome back Maggie….
I’ve been making some version of this pie since 1986. I’ve made some very minor tweaks to it over the years. When it comes to a classic such as Apple Pie, the key is to keep it simple. I like a crumb topping for apple pie rather than two-crust pie because it makes me feel like I am getting two desserts in one. It could be called “Apple Crisp Pie”!
I’ve played with salt and lemon in the filling, and pre-baking the crust for a few minutes. That’s it. I try different types of apples now and then, but have the best luck with Rome and Granny Smith apples. I like to use half of each type to mix it up in the pie, but use whatever apples are your favorite for baking.
This pie is simple and delicious. The hardest part is peeling and cutting the apples. I clean and disinfect my sink, then fill it with cold water and about 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Then I peel the apples and toss them in the sink of lemon water. Then I core and slice them, all the while just plopping everything back into the lemon water soak as I work. This keeps the apples from turning brown and allows you to work at your own speed. You can even be interrupted as I was today for over an hour. The apples stay crisp and keep their color. I love the taste that the lemon juice adds to the pie so much, that I toss more in when I am mixing up the filling.
I have a friend whose mother is an amazing cook, and her pies are legendary. The friend told me after having this pie (while she’d never admit it to any family member) that this pie was better than her mom’s. Wow. Now that was a compliment. Not sure I believe her, but I’ll take it!
Happy Apple season!
Apple Crumb Pie
What you need:
Pastry crust for one crust pie
6T butter, softened
¾ cup flour
7 cups baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2/3 cup sugar
2 T flour
½ t kosher salt
3 t lemon juice
What you do:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place crust in pie pan ( I prefer a ceramic or glass deep dish for this recipe). Crimp edges, pierce bottom with a fork in a few spots, and place in oven for about 10 minutes. Don’t let it brown, but just let it bake until it is a little bubbled and no longer shiny. Remove from oven and set aside.
Mix all ingredients for topping while crust is in the oven. The topping will be crumbly. Set aside.
Drain apples from the lemon bath. Place them in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon and lemon juice. Stir with a large spoon until well blended. It should not be too wet, so make sure you have drained the apples well. If you like cinnamon, feel free to add a pinch more. But the amount here is good.
Spoon the apples into your pre-baked crust. Now grab the crumb filling and spread it evenly over the filling. Don’t feel the need to pat it down- you want it to remain a bit crumbly and bumpy.
Loosely cover the pie with foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil, then bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown, and he apples are soft and bubbling.
Let the pie rest for about an hour before cutting.