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Apple Crumble Pie

This pie is one of Beth’s favorites because of its “soft, cinnamony comfort of the apple filling combined with the crunchy, buttery topping.”

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This pie is sometimes referred to as “Dutch apple.” Can pie get any better than this?


¼ c. (½ stick) butter, chilled and cut into large chunks Dash of salt
¼ c. vegetable shortening, chilled ½ c. ice water, just enough to moisten dough
1 ¼ c. flour, plus at least ¼ c. extra for rolling  
7 to 10 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced ¾ c. sugar
½ tsp. salt ¼ c. flour
1-2 tsp. cinnamon  
Crumble Topping
1 c. flour ½ c. brown sugar
½ c. (1 stick) butter, chilled and cut into large chunks  


1. In a deep, large bowl, work the butter and shortening into the flour and salt with your hands until you have almond- and pea-sized lumps of butter.

2. Drizzling in ice water a little at a time, “toss” the water around with your fingers spread, as if the flour were a salad and your hands were the tongs. Don’t spend a lot of time mixing the dough, just focus on getting it moistened. With each addition of water, toss about four times and then stop, add water and repeat.

3. When the dough holds together on its own, do a “squeeze test.” If it falls apart, you need to add more water. If it is soggy and sticky, you might need to sprinkle flour onto it until the wetness is balanced out. The key is not to overwork the dough! It takes very little time and you’ll be tempted to keep touching it, but don’t!

4. Now take the ball of dough and form it into a disk shape. (Any leftover dough could be used for an extra mini-pie.) Sprinkle flour under and on top of your dough to keep it from sticking to your rolling surface. Roll the dough to a thinness that is almost transparent.

5. Measure the size of the dough by holding your pie plate above it. It’s big enough if there’s extra width to compensate for the depth and width of your dish, plus 1 to 2 inches overhang.

6. Slowly and gently lift the dough off the rolling surface, nudging flour under the scraper as you lift, and fold the dough back. When you are sure your dough is free from the surface, bring your pie dish close to it and then drag your dough over to your dish. (Holding the folded edge will give you a better grip and keep your dough from tearing.)

7. Place the folded edge halfway across your dish, allowing the dough of the covered half to drape over the side. Carefully unfold the dough until it lies fully across the pie dish.

8. Lift the edges and let gravity ease the dough down to sit snugly in the dish, using the light touch of a finger if you need to push any remaining air space out of the corners as you go. Trim excess dough to about 1 inch from the dish edge, leaving ample dough to make crimped, fluted edges.

1. Slice half of the apples directly into your pie shell. Fill it enough so you can’t see through to the bottom crust, and press down gently on the apples to get slices to lay snugly against each other.

2. Sprinkle half of the salt, cinnamon, sugar, and flour on top.

3. Slice a second layer of apples, pressing down gently on top of the first layer and filling pie dish to a mounded height.

4. Sprinkle remaining salt, cinnamon, sugar, and flour on top. (For this pie, I don’t add a pat of butter on top as the crumble topping has a full stick of the stuff.)

Crumble Topping
1. In a large bowl, rub flour, butter, and brown sugar together until the texture resembles marbles. (NOTE: Not enough rubbing and your crumble topping will be too powdery and fine. So keep rubbing. Too much rubbing and it will become a melted, sticky glob. In this case, you can add a little more flour, or refrigerate until it gets cold and break it apart into manageable crumb size.)

2. With both hands, distribute the crumble topping over the top of the pie. Do not press down on it, as you don’t want your crumbs to look flat. It’s a good idea to place a cookie sheet or oven liner under this pie when baking, as a few bits of crumble topping may roll off into the oven.

3. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes to brown the top, then turn the oven down to 375 degrees and bake until bubbling and apples have softened. (Test doneness by prodding with a paring knife. There should be little to no resistance from the apples.)

Serves 8.

Nutritional Information:  Calories: 650; Fat: 24g; Cholesterol: 45mg; Sodium: 300mg; Total Carbohydrates: 108g; Dietary Fiber: 8g; Sugars: 64g; Protein: 6g.

Don’t miss Beth’s inspiring story about her new neighbors making her feel at home at Christmastime.

Beth Howard is the author of Ms. American Pie: Buttery Good Pie Recipes and Bold Tales from the American Gothic House (Race Point Publishing; 2014). Photographs by Matthew Gilson.

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