Fall is my favorite time of year and a big part of that is all the great flavors that I associate with the season. So, with Thanksgiving getting near, I’m pretty excited about cooking up all those great Fall flavors! Sometimes I try a new recipe for Thanksgiving, but most of the time I stick with the traditional favorites like this Apple Crumb Pie.
To get started, we need to select some great apples! Since I don’t have a local orchard nearby, I rely on the grocery store to provide apples. I think any apples will work, but my preference is a mixture of tart and sweet. No matter what kind of sweet apples I can find, I like to add at least one granny smith to balance out the sweetness. Gala and granny smith are what usually end up in my pies, simply because that is what I usually find easily and also in the organic section. I’ve read that apples can contain a lot of pesticides and we eat a lot of apples in our house, so this is one fruit that I try to buy organic whenever possible. I technically have no assurance that the apples are “better” for us, but in my mind it feels like a better choice, so that’s why I do it.
After the apples are selected, it’s time to put the pie together. We need to start with a great pie crust and I have my favorite pie crust recipe in another post. Or, if you already have a favorite, by all means use that. I use a 10″ pie plate for this pie because I think that is the size that fits best for the pie crust recipe. You could use a 9″ (regular or deep dish) or probably a 10″ deep dish would work also.
You may have noticed that in most of my recipes, I don’t peel my fruits or vegetables. Although sometimes I will make this pie with the peels on, for Thanksgiving, I usually peel the apples, just to make it extra fancy. 🙂 I try to involve the kids in the peeling and slicing process because it’s a good way to get them involved in cooking and great practice for them. For this recipe, you need about 7-8 cups of sliced apples.
Put the apples into a big bowl and add 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tsp. cinnamon, and 1 tsp. nutmeg. Vanilla extract is my “secret ingredient” with apple pie. I think it brings out the sweetness of the apples and then I use less sugar. I’ve made this with no sugar at all as well. The crumb topping has plenty of sugar in it, so I like the filling to be a little less sweet. The cinnamon adds a bit of sweetness as well, so don’t be afraid to change up the proportions to make it just the way you like it.
Toss this all to mix well.
Once the apples are all mixed, pour them into the prepared pie crust.
The next step is to prepare the crumb topping. Mix the flour, sugar, butter, and cinnamon until crumbly. A fork or berry masher works really well to get it nice and crumbly. If you want to add a bit of whole grains to the topping, use 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of old fashioned oatmeal instead of all flour. This will give a little different texture to the topping, but still delicious. You can also substitute brown sugar for white sugar if you want a richer flavor. It really depends on your preference – both ways are delicious!
Spread the crumb topping on top of the apples.
Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour. Let cool for at least an hour to allow the filling to “set”. I like to serve this warm (usually I let it cool completely then re-heat just until warm) and add a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- prepared pie crust
- 7-8 cups apples, peeled and sliced
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup butter (1 stick)
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- Mix the apples, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg until well combined.
- Pour this mixture into the prepared pie crust.
- Mix all topping ingredients until crumbly.
- Spread over apples.
- Bake the pie for 1 hour in a 375 degree oven.
- Let cool.
- Serve warm or room temperature - delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.