If you haven’t had a crumble topping before, it’s an easy topping that’s crisp, full of flavor, and a perfect compliment to the luscious filling inside this apple crumble pie. There’s no worrying about latices or decoration schemes, just lots of delicious flavors and textures everyone will enjoy.
What You’ll Need for This Recipe
Apples: I like using a combination of Granny Smith and Honey Crisp but Cortland, Mitsu, and Gala are great options as well.
Pie Dough: I use my favorite butter crust recipe but you can use a frozen pie dough or pre-made crust if preferred.
Spices: I used cinnamon and nutmeg but you can addd your favorites in. You might try a sprinkle of allspice, cloves, cardamom, and/or ginger.
How to Make Apple Crumble Pie
1. Roll your pie dough to about 1/4 inch thick then transfer to your pie dish and press in to form. I like to push the edge in, instead of pressing down in the middle so the dough is stretched less.
2. Trim the edge so there’s about an inch to a half an inch of overhang then fold under and crimp with your thumbs and index finger. Transfer the crust to the freezer to chill while you prepare the filling and crumble.
3. Peel and slice your apples. Try to cut similar-sized pieces so they all bake and soften uniformly. You’ll want about 3 1/2 pounds of apples but the recipe is pretty forgiving so you can add more or less depending on the size and deepness of your pie dish.
4. Drizzle the lemon juice over the apples and toss. This is not to stop them from changing color as much as it is to add some zing and brighten up the flavor.
5. Add the sugar and cinnamon then grate in the nutmeg and mix to distribute.
6. Melt the butter in a large pan over medium-high heat then add the apple mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes. Reduce to medium-low, cover, and simmer for another 7 minutes or so until the apples have released most of their juices.
7. Reduce to medium-low, sprinkle with Cornstarch, mix, then cover and simmer for another 7 minutes or so until the apples have released most of their juices. You’ll want the apples to start softening at this point but not become completely soft.
8. Place a sieve above a large bowl and pour the apples and juice into it. Allow the juice to drain then place the apples in an empty bowl.
9. Pour the apple juices back onto the pan and place on medium-high heat. Use a spatula to move around and test the thickness of the mixture. You’re basically making an apple caramel by heating the sugar and cooking off the water.
10. Once it becomes significantly thicker you can pour the caramel onto the apples and toss to combine. Set aside to cool while you make the crumble. This is a good time to set the oven to 400F.
11. To make the crumble you’ll mix the flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl.
12. Pour in melted and cooled butter then use a fork to mix until you have a bowl of crumbles.
13. I always give any pie crust an egg wash for a nice golden finish. This pie only has a bit of exposed pastry but I still mixed up an egg and splash of cream and brushed it on, this step is completely optional. Transfer the apple filling into your chilled pie shell and use a spoon or spatula to flatten out the top and smooth.
14. Spread the crumble on top of the pie, try to cover all the apple spices if possible. Place the pie dish on a baking sheet then cover loosely with foil. This is called tenting the crust and it prevents the edge from burning while the bottom bakes through.
Bake at 400F for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350F and bake another 50 minutes or so until the center is golden. You can remove the foil in the last 20 minutes if the crust needs some more color.
Pro Tips for the BEST Apple Crumble Pie
- The key to avoiding a soggy pie is to really cook the liquid down to a caramel before adding it back to the apples. Go for a thicker consistency where the water has mostly evaporated, it will thin out a bit after mixing and baking with the apples.
- Try adding a teaspoon or two of cinnamon to the dry ingredients of your crust. You’ll end up with a nice depth or flavor and beautiful color.
- You can always toss an extra apple into the filling, it’s better to have more filling than you need than not enough!
- If your crumble turns into one big blob after mixing, pop it into the fridge to chill for a few minutes then break it up into pieces and set aside.
- TENT that crust during baking. You need to cover the edge with foil so it doesn’t burn while you wait for the center and bottom to get nice and golden.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you make apple crumble pie from scratch?
Mix the apples with lemon juice, sugar, and spices then cook them down a bit, strain the juices out and cook the juice down to make an apple caramel. Mix together and place in your unbaked pie crust then top with crumble and bake.
How do you keep crumble topping from getting soggy?
Butter will keep your crumble nice and crisp after baking, don’t skimp on this ingredient. If your crumble seems too dry and powdery then mix in melted butter a tablespoon at a time until you have nice little clumps. If your crumble is one big blob after mixing then the butter may have been a bit too warm. Transfer to the refrigerator for about five minutes and then break apart into crumbles using your hands or a fork.
What apples are best for this recipe?
Apples with a nice balance of acid and sweetness are best for baking apple crumble pies. Honey crisps, granny smith, braeburn, golden delicious, and cortland apples are all great choices. Use your favorite and enjoy! I would not use red delicious.
Do you need to peel the apples?
You should peel your apples. The peels will add some tougher texture to the filling which just shouldn’t be there. Peeled apples will hold together better after baking and give you a delicate texture which will contrast nicely with the crisp crumble and crust.
Should you cook apples before putting in?
Precooking the apples removes a lot of unwanted water and ensures the pastry and filling will be done baking at the same time.
If you’ve tried this apple crumble pie recipe then don’t forget to leave a rating and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you!
Apple Crumble Pie
- 9 inch pie dish
For the Pie Crust:
- 1 Butter Pie Crust unbaked
For the Filling:
- 1/4 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 3 lbs apples Honey crisp, Cortland, Granny Smith, or Mitsu
- 2/3 cup sugar plus more for sprinkling on the pie
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- 1 tbsp corn starch
For the Egg Wash
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp cream
For the Crumble
- 3/4 cup All purpose flour 90g
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar 100g
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted, 113g
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the Pie Dough
- Roll out your chilled pie dough into a disk about 1/4 inch thick and an inch or so larger than your pie dish. Transfer the dough into the pie dish leaving half an inch of overhang. Trim the edge as needed then fold under and crimp the edge. Transfer to the freezer to chill while you make the filling.
For the Crumble
- Add the flour, salt, sugar, and cinnamon to a bowl then mix until combined. Pour in the melted and cooled butter then mix once more. If the butter is too warm the mixture will form a glob instead of crumbles.Just pop in the fridge to chill a few minutes and break up with your hands if that happens.
For the Filling
- Peel, core and slice your apples, then toss with the lemon juice. Cut your apples into similar sized pieces so they cook at the same rate.
- Add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg then toss to combine evenly.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the apples, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to simmer, about 2 minutes. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until the apples soften and release most of their juices, about 7 minutes. While the apples are cooking down you can mix in the corn starch.
- Pour the apples into a strainer set over a large bowl. Set the apples aside and pour juice back into the pan. Cook at medium-high heat stirring frequently until the liquid bubbles vigorously and thickens. The liquid will be thickened to the consistency of caramel when It's ready.
- In a medium bowl, toss the apples with the reduced juice. Set aside to cool completely.
For the Assembly
- Heat oven to 400F. Mix the egg and cream, or milk in a small bowl then Brush the edge of the pie with it. This is optional but gives your crust a golden finish.
- Add your filling to the dish and smooth out surface with a spatula.
- Sprinkle the crumble on top of the pie covering the surface completely. Transfer the pie dish to a baking sheet then loosely wrap the edge with foil. This will prevent the pie from burning while you wait for the center to bake through.
- Bake at 400F for 15 minutes then reduce the temperature to 350F and bak an additional 50 minutes or until golden brown in the center. You can remove the tenting in the last 20 minutes If the edge needs some color.
- Try adding a teaspoon or two of cinnamon to the dry ingredients of your crust. You'll end up with a nice depth or flavor and beautiful color.
- Give the egg wash a thorough mix for a nice even golden crust. Globs of egg whites will mar the look and texture.
- You can make the pie dough and filling a day or two in advance. Just assemble and bake the day of for a fresh out of the oven pie in a jiffy.
- TENT that crust during baking. You need to cover the edge with foil so it doesn't burn while you wait for the center and bottom to get nice golden color.