Unless your mom doesn’t bake, you probably think your mom’s apple pie is the best apple pie there is. I certainly do. Our mom’s apple pie comes from an old cookbook that she scanned for me, although it’s really more of a guideline. My biggest change is using all brown sugar rather than brown and white sugar. The extra brown sugar brings in more of a caramel taste to the filling and topping, and really, is there a better flavor to add to an apple pie than caramel? I contend that there is not.
Choosing apples for an apple pie is very important. You want apples that have a firm flesh that will stand up after baking, preferably ones that are in season in your area. Mealy apples won’t hold up and will leave the pie with much less texture. In this particular pie, I used half fuji and half granny smith apples. You want a combination of sweetness and tartness, whether it comes from all one type of apple, or from multiple types. If you’re lucky enough to live near a farmer’s market, ask around at stands with fresh apples, particularly if there are types that you don’t recognize. The best pie I’ve ever made was with an apple that I’d never heard of, but which the woman at the apple stand assured me was the perfect pie apple. When such a resource isn’t available, I use the advice on this page for guidance.
It always amazes me how few ingredients you need to make something as decadent as apple pie. I only ended up needing the 4 apples that you see peeled in the ingredients photo. The number of apples you need will depend on their size. I use this pie crust recipe, although I keep intending to try a half butter crust. This one is a great flakey texture and tastes good, but I imagine some butter would make it even better. It’s just so easy to work with when it’s make with all shortening.
Start but peeling your apples and slicing them into approximately 1/4″ thick slices. They can be a little thinner, but you generally don’t want the slices much thicker than that. Snack on the leftovers. You deserve it.
In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and brown sugar.
Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over apples and toss to coat. You should probably do this in a bigger bowl than I used.
Dump apples into pie shell, making sure to scrape as much of that syrupy juice out as you can. Yum. It’s okay if it looks like there are too many apples, since they’ll bake down a bit.
Now for the crumb topping. I use the same bowl as I make the pie crust in, since they have most of the same ingredients. Fewer dishes is always better! Start with brown sugar and flour.
Mix together the brown sugar and flour, then cut in cold butter.
Mix with an electric mixer’s dough hook, a fork, or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Sprinkle crumbs on top of apples and arrange to cover.
Bake at 400 degrees for 40-60 minutes. Start checking about every ten minutes after the first 40 by testing with a fork in a couple places. The fork should slide into the apples with only a small amount of resistance. If the crust and topping are browning too quickly, shield with a sheet of tin foil. I usually do this at about 40 minutes. Cool on a rack, then serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Or chocolate ice cream if you’re weird like Jamie.
Crumb Top Apple Pie
1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust
4-7 apples, a mixture of sweet and tart
1/2 and 1/3 cups brown sugar, divided use
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnimon
3/4 cup all purpose flour
6 tablespoons cold butter
Peel and core apples, then slice into pieces about 1/4″ thick. In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over apples and toss to coat. Arrange apples in pie crust. In bowl of an electric stand mixer with dough hook attachment, mix together 1/3 cup brown sugar and flour. Cut in cold butter and mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle crumb topping over apples and arrange to cover. Bake at 400 degrees for 40-60 minutes, checking at 10 minute intervals with a fork. If crust and/or topping brown too quickly, shield with tin foil. Cool on rack. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.