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Crumb equals Yum

April 11, 2012
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A few years ago, in a fit of unbridled domesticity (much like one which began this blog), I called my grandmother to collect some of her favorite recipes. A Kentucky woman, born and bred, her recipes taste like butter and sugar and Paula Deen.  So, when I asked for her recipe for apple pie, I was not at all apprehensive when I heard:

One pound of sugar
One pound of butter
Three pounds of apples

(See the proportion of apples? That completely makes it healthy…)

THIS RECIPE IS WRONG.  Somewhere between Kentucky and DC, I must have replaced sticks and cups with pounds in what I think of as a real life game of telephone.  When I made this pie, I had butter-sugar juice shooting out of the sides like they were trying to escape from the fires of hell.  The apartment where I baked it smelled like burnt caramel for at least a week. And since then, I have cowered in fear of apple pie.

But now, backed by a few recent baking successes, I started looking for a new apple pie recipe.  And after a good amount of research, here are the things I have decided matter most in my ideal apple pie.  (Let’s just say that I hold these truths to be self-evident.)

1. I want my apples cooked. I don’t want them to be an unidentifiable mass of apple-flavored guts, but I don’t want them to be raw.
2. I want my crust to be crisp.
3. I want a crumble on top. None of this basket weaving nonsense.  That’s cute and all, but come on.

With this trifecta in mind, I started by melting some butter…

Every time butter melts on a stove, I know somewhere Paula Deen is smiling.

Then I chop up the apples. I went a little smaller this time.  The size you decide to cut your apples to is a question of preference. Obviously larger apples will take longer to cook.

Then I cooked ’em up. There’s cinnamon in there too.

Cook until the apples are tender but NOT soft. They should still snap when you break them in half.

And here’s where I skip a few pictures. Whoops.

Next you want to cook your crust on its own, with either pie weights or dry beans to weigh it down/establish its shape. I used lentils that have been sitting in my pantry for six months. Obviously I didn’t cook the lentils, because apple pie for dinner is a much more logical choice to make… Somewhere a nutritionist is crying.

Once you have cooked it for about ten minutes, take it out and remove the weights. You are really just trying to give the crust some strength.  Because when you pour in the apple mixture, it will just melt with joy.

Then, back to the apples! Once the apples have cooled, add flour to thicken up the mixture. Also add lemon juice/lemon zest to amp up the flavor. This won’t make the pie tangy, it just enhances it’s apple-ness. Sure, that’s a word.

Then pour them into your pre-baked crust.

Add your crumble.

Now, I am a crumble fiend. But I always have difficulty making crumbles myself. No matter how closely I follow the recipe, I almost always over mix the crumble so it loses its texture.

Instead of learning to make a crumble the right way with this recipe, I decided that I would show you how to deal with overly food processed crumble goo.  (I know, appetizing, right?)

Just take the dough, and drop little bits of it around.  It’s a DIY solution, and it worked out pretty well actually.

Crumbly Apple Pie (this is NOT for a deep dish, high as the sky apple pie, quite simply because I don’t have a deep dish pan.)

1 store bought pie crust
6 c. apples (I went with Granny Smith. You don’t want to choose apples that are too sweet on their own.)
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup butter (or less if you desire. You just need enough so that all the sugar and spices will stick to the apples.)
3 tbsp. all purpose flour
4 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. cinnamon


1 c. brown sugar
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. butter, diced

Starting with the Crust:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Transfer pie crust to a 9-inch pie pan.  Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the crust is lightly browned — about 10-15 minutes. Cool and remove the pie weights.

Now the pie!

Peel apples and cut into wedges.
In a saute pan, melt your butter.  Add  the apples, sugar, cinnamon. Sauté 10 to 15 minutes or until apples are tender, but not soft.

Remove from heat. Add flour, lemon, and lemon zest. Mix.

And the crumble:

Mix the crumble ingredients in a food processor, stand mixer or by hand. Mix until is JUST STARTS to form clumps. If you overmix, see the above photos for making it work.

Pull it together:

Pour your mixture into your pie crust. Top with crumble.

In your 425 degree oven, bake on the middle rack until the topping is golden brown — 50 to 60 minutes. Cool for at least 30 minutes.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Erin permalink
    April 11, 2012 4:56 pm

    I like that you’re my roommate so I can eat all of these delicious things. Thanks for that 🙂

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