I can’t tell you what exactly makes this Apple Crumble Pie magical, but this is what my children call it because they love it so much. With an easy homemade pie crust, decadently stuffed with more spiced apples than you think your pie can carry and topped off with a walnutty crumble… All of your autumn dessert dreams are coming true here!
Come to think of it, there probably is a bit of house-elvish magic going on here. Because it’s the kind of pie you need to have on the table out of thin air on a gloomy October night, children fresh out of the bath, everybody hungry and whining… But surprise, it’s an apple pie for dinner on the sofa in PJs kind of night!
Please don’t tell me I’m the only parent who needs this kind of sorcery every now and again. I imagine Molly Weasley must have needed a break from cooking dinner at times when her children were little, too.
So here we are, apple pie in hand and feet up on the couch – the exact apple pie recipe I’ve been making for over a decade now, just with a crumble topping instead of a double crust. Don’t get me wrong, I live for pie crust. But I have a child who will not eat cooked apples unless there is a crumble, so apple crumble pie I make.
Some music for your baking ears?
Yes, a full-on playlist for this recipe. Because this one is just so, so right for all of us old souls out there.
Now let’s see how to make an Apple Crumble Pie
Pie always seems like such an intimidating chore, but it really needn’t be! Pie crust is very, very quick to whip up with just a handful of ingredients. The hardest part about the filling is peeling all of those apples… And the crumble topping? Well, if you can make pie crust, you can make a crumble topping.
The pie crust
Combine the flour, spices and salt, rub in the butter (this works like magic in this newfangled thing called “food processor”, but good old elbow grease is what I usually prefer). Then stir in spoonfuls of ice cold water until you can gather your pastry into a ball.
I prefer to barely knead the pastry at all, instead I push it together into a ball a few times – and with that it’s already done! The only tricky bits are to a) fully rub the butter into the flour and b) to not overwork the pastry. You really only need to push it together a few times, and that will give you the perfect crisp and flaky crust.
Finally, just roll it out on a lightly floured surface, about 2 inches larger than your dish, then roll the pastry over the back of your rolling pin and transfer it to the dish.
I hardly need to flour my ancient stone workbench, it’s cold and pretty much nonstick – if you have a lot of issues with sticking, you either added too much water (fix this by pushing a few tablespoons of flour into your pastry), or try rolling it between two sheets of clingfilm if you don’t have a suitable worktop.
I like to fold the edge over and crimp it to make it all pretty, then rest the pie dish with the crust in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
The apple pie filling
My apple pie filling is special for a few specific reasons:
- it contains a much larger quantity of apples than most other apple pie recipes (I mean, it’s called apple pie for a reason)
- half of those apples go in cooked, the other half raw (this adds so much interest!)
- I add salt and a touch of apple cider vinegar to cut the sweetness, and it makes all of the difference.
So to begin, peel and slice half of your apples. Brown some butter in a wide skillet and toast your spices right in there. Add the apples and sauté them with sugar until softened, then stir through cornstarch and apple cider vinegar and finally add salt to taste.
Then your filling needs to cool down completely. You can place it outside on a chilly day if you’re so lucky to have a direct exit from your kitchen, just make sure you pay more attention than I do and move it back inside if it starts raining. Otherwise, well, let’s just say your ratio of liquids will be slightly off…
The finishing touches
While your filling cools, you can make your crumble and also peel and slice the rest of the apples. Once this is done, your filling is probably at room temperature and you can stir in the raw apples, then spread it in the cold pastry.
Place the crumble topping on the pie and off it goes into the oven!
The baking works as follows:
- You’ll need to preheat the oven as you assemble the pie, and you will need to place a baking tray on the lower middle rack as it heats up.
- To begin with, you’ll place the pie on the hot baking tray and bake it at 225°c (425°F) for 20 minutes.
- Then you’ll lower the temperature to 190°C (375°F) and finish baking the pie for 30-40 minutes – do not take it out too soon, or your bottom crust will not be baked and you’ll get the dreaded soggy bottom.
- Cool the pie on a cooling rack to prevent the bottom from “sweating”.
And when can we eat?
Well, if you want neat and clean slices… You’ll need to let the pie cool completely, best overnight. But who waits this long for pie? My children definitely don’t, and I seriously doubt Molly Weasley managed to keep a young Fred and George away from warm pie.
So we eat our pie as messy but warm slices. 30-60 minutes of cooling time, tops. With a dollop of natural yogurt, because with the crumble it honestly doesn’t need any more sweetness at all.
Although I won’t stop you if you want to go all out with custard, ice cream or whipped cream either. Just… Please don’t be lazy and pour double cream on top. Your magical pie deserves nothing short of a magical presentation ✨
More cosy desserts
And if you bake up a little Apple Crumble Pie magic, please leave me a comment and recipe rating below! If you’re on Instagram, share your creation with me @hobandlarder – I love to see your photos 🥰
Apple Crumble PiePrint
For the pastry
- 175 g plain flour
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 90 g cold butter (cut into cubes)
- 4 tablespoons ice cold water (mixed with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar)
For the filling
- 2 kg apples (I just used a jumble of apples from the garden, Bramley would be a good choice if you’re buying them)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons apple pie spice mix (see notes for homemade)
- 6 tablespoons brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons white sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the crumble
- 175 g flour
- 100 g white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 110 g cold butter (cut into cubes)
- 8 tablespoons chopped walnuts
Make the pastry
- Combine flour, ground cardamom and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add the cold butter and rub it into the flour mixture until you end up with a bowlful of small crumbs (it ressembles wet sand). Stir in the cold water/vinegar mixture, tablespoon for tablespoon, just until your pastry holds together.
- Push the pastry ball together a few times, then roll it out to about 1 1/2 inches larger than your pie dish. Roll the pastry over the back of your rolling pin, then place it into a well-buttered 23cm (9-inch) pie dish. Fold the edges over and crimp them.
- Place the pie dish with the pastry in the fridge until you're ready to use it.
Make the filling
- Peel, quarter and core 1kg of the apples, then slice them into 1/2mm (1/4 inch) thick slices.
- Place butter in a wide skillet over medium heat and cook gently, until it smells nutty and looks browned. Stir in the apple pie spice and toast for 1 minute, then stir in the apples until evenly coated.
- Add both sugars to the apples, stir well, then cook over medium-low heat until softened – about 5-10 minutes.
- Sprinkle over the cornstarch and stir it in well until the juices have thickened. Stir in the apple cider vinegar and season with salt to taste, then take off the heat and cool completely.
Make the crumble
- To make the crumble topping, combine flour, sugar, ground cinnamon and ground cardamom in a bowl (you can use the same bowl as you used for the pastry – don't even need to clean it). Knead in the cold butter until you have a bowl full of larger and smaller crumbs that hold their shape – this may take a good 5 minutes, but it's worth the effort. Finally, knead in the walnuts.
Assemble & bake the pie
- Place a baking tray on the lower middle rack of your oven. Heat the oven to 225°C (425°F).
- Peel, quarter, core and slice the remaining 1kg of apples. Stir them through the cooled filling, then spread the filling in the chilled pastry case. Evenly top with crumb topping.
- Place the pie on the hot baking tray in the oven. Bake it at 225°C (425°F) for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 190°C (375°F) and finish baking for 30-40 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and the pie is golden-brown. Loosely cover the top with aluminum foil if it gets too dark anytime during baking.
- Cool the pie on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes before serving, better overnight for clean slices. The pie keeps at room temperature (covered with clingfilm or a clean kitchen towel) for up to 3 days.
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Make sure your butter is cold from the fridge, it yields best results for both the pie crust and the crumble.
- You may not need all of the water called for in the pastry recipe, it’s crucial to add it tablespoon by tablespoon! Otherwise you may turn your pastry into paste.
- It can be very difficult to tell how long your pie needs to bake to make sure the bottom crust is done. Mine needs around 35 minutes in a new electric oven baked at the regular setting (not fan).
- If you want to use the fan setting, watch your pie closely – it will need to bake for a shorter amount of time than the recipe calls for.
- We serve the pie with a dollop of natural yogurt. The pie is quite sweet by itself, but feel free to add custard, ice cream or whipped cream to your liking.