An absolute classic, this Apple Crumb Pie has a buttery, flaky pie crust filled to the brim with juicy, cinnamon-laced apples, baked off with a delicious oat crumble on top.
Can I let you in on a secret? I failed at making a good apple pie for the first few years of my baking career. Even after I was making pies full-time, I could never make an apple pie I was entirely happy with. Despite trying multiple recipes, I just felt the apples were never the right consistency and they lacked that oomph of flavor I was after. Looking back now, I realize I was using whatever apples came my way from the farmer's market, or whichever apples my chef would order at the restaurant, and that was a big part of the problem.
Things changed when I started working with a local farm and I got into the nitty-gritty research of apples in general. I learned a lot, but most importantly, I learned which apples are truly best for apple pie. For me, the holy grail is a combination of Gala and Granny Smith apples. Now, having found this magical medley, I've never looked back.
The blend of Gala and Granny Smith are perfect in this Apple Crumble Pie! (And also in this Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie and this Apple Pie Filling recipe.) This pie starts off with a flaky pie crust (or this one works well), filled with juicy and tart, cinnamon-laced apples, topped with a crunchy oatmeal crumble. This pie is classic elegance.
So, let's get to making it, shall we? The article below is jam-packed full of useful information. You can jump around using the menu below, or skip to the end of the article for the full recipe.
Here is an overview of the ingredients needed for this recipe. The full recipe is listed below in greater detail.
- baking apples (see below for my recommendations)
- all-purpose flour
- brown sugar + white sugar
- cinnamon + nutmeg
- lemon juice
- vanilla extract
Best Apples for Apple Crumb Pie
For a pie, you want an apple that can hold its shape during baking and has a nuanced flavor with a slight tartness to break up the sweetness of the sugar. A combination of apples is helpful because it introduces a variety of flavors and textures to the pie.
Gala and Granny Smith apples are good choices for apple pie because they don't get mushy after a long bake in the oven, and they have a balanced sweet-and-tart flavor.
Here are some other great apples for baking:
- Golden Delicious
- Pink Lady
- Ginger Gold
Pie Crust Options
This pie tastes best with a homemade buttery pie crust. The recipe below lists full instructions for a classic butter pie crust made by hand. However, feel free to use a store-bought pie crust or your favorite homemade version.
Looking to switch things up a bit? Here are some additional pie crust options:
Whatever pie crust you use, you'll only need a bottom crust, so if the recipe you are using makes two, simply freeze the other crust for another use.
New to making pie crust? I suggest you take a look at my Ultimate Guide for All Butter Pie Crust.
The Crumb Topping
Let's talk about that crumble topping. You can call it whatever you want: Dutch apple pie, apple streusel pie, apple crumb pie; I like to call it delicious! The crunchy-sweet oat streusel is very straightforward to put together.
Some streusel recipes call for you to cut cold butter into the flour and sugar mixture. When you melt the butter instead, I've found that it produces a crisp crumble topping that partners well with the juicy apple filling.
How to Make it:
Step 1: Melt the butter in a pot. Add in the remaining ingredients.
Step 2: Stir it all together until it's combined!
How to Prevent a Sinking Apple Pie Filling
Apples contain a ton of moisture. When the apples are cooked, they release that moisture and then shrink. That means that when you bake an apple pie, the apple filling will first puff up and then shrink as it cools.
To avoid the filling from sinking too much, here are a few tips:
First, you want to make sure your fruit is cut into thin slices that are all similar in size. Aim to slice your apples no larger than ½-inch thick. I use this apple peeler-slicer (affiliate link), and I highly recommend it. It's worth the money and space in the kitchen, even if you only use it a few times a year.
Second, macerate the fruit before you begin to bake. Macerating the fruit in sugar helps draw out the fruit's moisture, causing it to soften and shrink before it enters the pie. This step alone will drastically reduce any gap between the crust and the filling with the fruit.
And finally, layer in your fruit. Instead of just pouring in the apple slices haphazardly, you want to literally layer in the slices of apples and try to eliminate gaps between the slices of apple. If there are large gaps between the apples, once they cook and soften, that space will be filled in with the juices and cooked fruit and the pie will sink further.
If you really wanted to avoid sinking fruit filling, you could cook pre-cook the apple filling. Check out this post about making a Mile High Apple Pie for how to cook fruit filling beforehand.
Step-by-Step Recipe Overview
This is a quick visual overview of the steps needed to make this recipe. If you are looking for the full recipe, keep scrolling!
Step 1: Make the pie crust, rest it, roll it out, and transfer it to a pin tin.
Step 2: Prepare the apple pie filling and macerate it.
Step 3: Layer in the macerated apples, eliminating as much space between them as possible.
Step 4: Make the streusel in the same pot the butter was melted in.
Step 5: Sprinkle the streusel over the top of the apple pie filling.
Step 6: Bake! If your streusel is getting too brown before it's done, loosely cover it with aluminum foil.
How to Tell When It's Done
It’s important to ensure that the apple pie is cooked long enough to reach a high enough temperature to activate the thickening agent and cook the apples through.
There are a few ways to tell when your apple pie is done:
- Look for the crumble to be golden and the pie to be puffed up nearly all the way through. It puffs up because the fruit has reached the temperature needed for it to "boil". As it cools, it will slightly deflate.
- Ordinarily, I would suggest looking for the pie to be bubbling in the middle as a sign it is done, but that is difficult to see with the crumble topping. You will likely see some bubbling on the edges of the pie, though.
- And finally, the most foolproof way to make sure your pie is baked properly is to use an instant-read thermometer. I always use one to check the temperature of every pie I bake. You want the internal temperature to be above 200ºF for an apple pie.
Pies are one of the easiest desserts to prepare ahead of time!
As with most pies, there are a few steps you need to complete to get to the finished product. Many of these components can be broken out and done days (or weeks) in advance.
You can make the pie dough ahead of time. You can prepare the dough up to 2 days ahead, or up to 3 months in the freezer.
You can roll out the pastry up to 1 day ahead of time. Roll out the bottom crust and place in a pie pan. Keep it in the refrigerator, covered completely, until you are ready to make the pie.
The entire pie can be assembled, but unbaked for about a day.
The pie can even be frozen! To freeze this pie: place the whole pie on a sheet pan first, and place it in a freezer. Once frozen (at least 12 hours), wrap the whole pie in plastic wrap very tightly twice, and then cover with aluminum foil. Don’t forget to label it!
It is best to cook any frozen pie within 3 months, because the longer it is stored in the freezer, the less pronounced the flavor will be. However, you can wait as long as about 1 year if frozen properly. To bake it, either defrost overnight and bake as the recipe calls for, or Bake it From Frozen.
How to Serve and Store It
Let the pie cool for about 4 hours before serving. If you serve it while it is hot, it will be soupy and the slices won't be clean. (Though you won't catch me saying "don't do this," as it's truly delicious, but will be messy!)
A baked apple pie can be stored covered at room temperature for 1 day. Cover it and place it in a refrigerator if you are storing it longer. It can always be reheated later to take off the chill and to crisp up the pastry.
More Apple Recipes
I am so honored when you make a recipe from my site! If you make this Apple Crumb Pie, please leave a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating with your experience! If you have any questions about this recipe, comment here and tag me on Instagram!Print
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