Apple Pie Crumble Topping With Oats

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Apple Pie Crumble Topping With Oats is pretty much what it sounds like — apples and crumbs topped with more crumbs. I absolutely love this apple pie crumble recipe, which is pretty easy to follow, and bakes for just about an hour or so. The inspiration for this came from some I used to make many years ago, but fell out of favour with me when I started cooking vegan meals. This was from a basic recipe book that my mother got as a present from her work many years ago.

Classic Apple Crumble Pie with Oats

Apple crumble pie has layers of fresh apples and delicious oat crumb topping. This classic recipe is a must-try for fall and Thanksgiving.

slice of apple crumble pie topped with a scoop of ice cream on a white round plate
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Classic apple crumble pie is my favorite pie. Crisp, yet tender, Granny Smith apples spiced with cinnamon are complemented best with an oat crumble topping in my opinion. This dish is best when apples are in season (hello, fall!) and when served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Apple Crumble Pie Recipe Video Tutorial

Apple Crumble Pie

Why this recipe works: The apple filling calls for Granny Smith apples, which are best for baking because they hold their texture without losing flavor. The oat crumble topping has the perfect ratio of butter, sugar and oats to make each slice of pie irresistible.

apple crumble pie slice topped with scoop of vanilla ice cream on white round plate next to apple slices and cinnamon sticks
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apple crumble pie ingredients in bowls labeled with text
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How to make apple crumble pie

  1. Prepare pie crust: Either make a homemade crust or use store-bought. Place one pie crust inside a 9-inch pie dish and crimp the edges. Place pie dough in the freezer while preparing filling.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  3. Prepare apple filling: Peel slice and core the apples and place in a large bowl. Add sugar, flour, lemon juice, lemon zest and cinnamon. Use hands to toss ingredients until apples are coated. Set aside.
  4. Prepare crumble topping: Whisk together dry ingredients, then add the butter and use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until a crumbly mixture forms.
  5. Assemble the pie: Remove pie crust from the freezer and fill with prepared apples (the filling will mound in the center). Place crumble topping over the apples and press down slightly so the topping stays.
  6. Bake the pie: Place pie in the oven and bake at 400 F for 30 minutes, then reduce temperature to 375 F and bake for 30 more minutes. Cover pie with aluminum foil if the top starts to brown. Allow pie to cool for at least 3 hours so the filling sets. Slice and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Pro tip: Use this all-in-one apple peeler/corer/slicer to get perfectly sliced apples quickly!

photo collage demonstrating how to make apple filling and crumble topping for apple crumble pie
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photo collage demonstrating how to assemble apple crumble pie
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Helpful tips for freezing pie

Apple crumble pie freezes well before or after you bake it. To freeze the pie before baking, assemble the pie completely in the pie plate. Double wrap the pie plate with aluminum foil and label with the date and baking instructions. When ready to bake, remove the pie from the freezer and preheat the oven to 400 F. Keep the top of the pie covered with a sheet of aluminum foil and bake at 400 F for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake at 375 F for 30 to 40 minutes longer. Keep an eye on the pie during the last 20 minutes. If the top starts to brown, place the aluminum foil back on top.

To freeze a baked pie, let the pie cool completely, then double wrap the entire pie and pie plate with aluminum foil. Label with the date and reheating instructions. The day before serving the pie, take it out of the freezer and allow it to defrost in the refrigerator overnight. To reheat the pie, preheat oven to 350 F and bake the pie (with one layer of aluminum foil on top to prevent burning) for about 20 minutes or until heated through. Frozen pies (baked or unbaked) will keep for up to three months in the freezer.

apple crumble pie in a pie dish next to white kitchen cloth, granny smith apples and cinnamon sticks
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Frequently Asked Questions

How to store apple crumble pie 

Store pie covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

How to reheat apple crumble pie 

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place one layer of aluminum foil over the pie and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through.

What are the best apples for pie? 

Granny Smith are best for baking, but a variety of apples add depth of flavor. Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, Northern Spy and Braeburn are good too.

Can I use nuts in the crumble? 

Yes, 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts may be added to the crumble topping.

Apple Pie with Oat Crumb Topping

yield: 8 SERVINGS

Ingredients

For the pie:

  • 4 lbs Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into ¼-inch slices
  • 3 quarts boiling water
  • 10 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 pie crust, store-bought or homemade

For the crumb topping:

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup Flahavan’s Irish Steel Cut Oats
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cold, cubed

Instructions

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and place a heavy rimmed baking sheet on it. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place apple slices in a large bowl or pot. Pour boiling water directly over top. Cover and set aside at room temperature for ten minutes. Drain apples well and let sit in a colander in the sink, tossing occasionally until completely dry, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and add 10 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, salt, and cornstarch, and toss until apples are evenly coated. Set mixture aside.
  2. Roll the pie dough into a circle roughly 12-inches in diameter. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Add filling, discarding any excess juices in the bottom of the bowl. Using a pair of kitchen shears, trim the edges of the pie crust. Use a fork to press lines into the pie crust.
  3. Place all of the crumb topping ingredients except butter in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine.
  4. Add the butter and pulse a few more times until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs.
  5. Spread the oat topping in an even layer over the pie (you may not need to use all of the oat mixture).
  6. Transfer the pie to sheet tray in the oven and bake until light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375°F and continue baking until deep golden brown, about 25 minutes longer. Remove from oven and allow to cool at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.

Apple Crumble Pie

An absolute classic, this Apple Crumble Pie is filled to the brim with juicy apples laced with cinnamon, inside of a buttery flaky pie crust and baked off with a delicious oat crumble.

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Apple Crumble Pie Recipe

Can I let you in on a secret? I failed at making a good apple pie the first few years into my baking career. Even after I was making pies full-time, I never could make an apple pie I was entirely happy with. Despite trying multiple recipes, I just felt the apples were never the right consistency and it lacked that oomph of flavor I was after. Looking back now, I realize I was using whatever apple came my way from the farmer’s market, or whatever my chef would order for apples and that was a big part of the problem. Things changed when I started personally working with a local farm and I got into the nitty gritty research of apples in general. I learned a lot, but most importantly I learned which apples are truly best for apple pie. For me, the holy grail is a combination of Gala and Granny Smith. Now, having found this magical medley, I’ve never looked back; they are not my go-to’s.

The blend of Gala and Granny Smith are perfect in this Apple Crumble Pie! This pie starts off with a flaky pie crust (this one or this one works well), filled with juicy and tart cinnamon apples, topped with a crunchy oatmeal crumble. This pie is classic elegance.

Apple Crumb Pie Ingredients

Here is an overview of the ingredients needed for this recipe. The full recipe is listed below in greater detail.

  • baking apples (see below for my recommendations)
  • flour
  • butter
  • brown sugar + white sugar
  • cinnamon + nutmeg
  • oats
  • lemon juice
  • salt
  • vanilla extract
Apple being peeled on a Johnny apple peeler.
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Best Apple for Apple Crumb Pie

For a pie, you want to have an apple that can hold it’s shape, has a nuanced flavor and a slight tartness to break up the sweetness of the sugar. Using a combination of apples is helpful because it introduces a few different types of flavors and textures to the pie.

Gala and Granny Smith apples are both good choices for apple pie because they don’t get mushy after a long bake in the oven, and they have a sweet and tart flavor to them.

Here are some of the best apples for baking:

  • Gala
  • Granny Smith
  • Cortland
  • Yellow Delicious
  • Braeburn
  • Pink Lady
  • Ginger Gold
  • Jonagold
Butter pie crust in a food processor.
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Tips for Making Pie Crust

  • Let the dough rest. I never advise making dough the same day you plan to bake it. It gives the dough less time to hydrate, and makes it harder to roll out. However, in a pinch, if you aren’t a pie crust novice, you can make it work.
  • Weigh your ingredients! Always weigh your dry ingredients, especially when it comes to baking If you absolutely refuse to weigh them, I recommend for my recipes (which use a standard 120 grams of flour per cup) that you spoon in the flour into your measuring cup, and sweep away once it’s filled. If you scoop and sweep, your cup of flour will have much more than mine does. This can mess with the recipe.
  • Work quickly. Especially if your kitchen is hotter than 70 degrees. Melted butter is the enemy here. If the kitchen is hot, utilize the freezer or refrigerator through the dough-making process to ensure the butter doesn’t turn soft.
  • The bigger the butter chunks, the flakier your pie will be. If you love the look of super flaky dough, that almost looks like puff pastry, leave at least some of your butter chunks the size of a marble. Though there is a limit for how big to leave your butter pieces, so take care to only leave a few pieces the size of a marble.
Ingredients for crumble topping being made directly in the pan.
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How to Make the Crumble Topping

Let’s talk about that crumble topping. You can call it whatever you want: dutch apple pie, apple streusel pie, apple crumb pie; I just like to call it delicious! It’s topped with a crunchy sweet oat streusel that is so straightforward to put together. Sometimes, streusel recipes call for you to cut the butter in the flour and sugar mixture. I’ve found that when you melt the butter, it produces a crisp crumble topping that partners so well with the juicy apple filling.

To make it you:

  1. Melt the butter, then turn off the heat.
  2. Then, stir in the streusel ingredients right inside the pot. That way you have 1 less dish to clean up!
A baked apple crumb pie.
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What Causes the Pie Filling To Sink?

Apples have a ton of moisture. When the apples are cooked, they release their moisture and then shrink. When you bake an apple pie, naturally the apple filling will first puff up and then as it cools, it shrinks.

To avoid the filling from sinking too much there are a few tips to keep in mind.

First, you want to make sure your fruit is cut into semi-thin slices of apples, that are all similar in size. Aim to slice your apples no bigger than ½” thick. I use this apple peeler (affiliate link), and I highly recommend it. It’s worth the money and space in the kitchen, even if you only use it a few times a year.

Second, you can macerate the fruit before you begin to bake. Macerating the fruit in sugar helps draw out the moisture from the fruit, causing the fruit to soften and shrink before it enters the pie. This step alone will drastically reduce any gap between the crust and the filling with the fruit. A trick I sometimes use is to let the apples macerate longer, then strain the juice into a pot and boil it down until it has slightly thickened. This will heighten the apple flavor and ensure you don’t have a thin filling.

And finally, layer in your fruit. Instead of just pouring in apple slices haphazardly, you want to literally layer in the slices of apples and try to eliminate gaps between the slices of apple. If there are large gaps between the apples, once they cook and soften that space will be filled in with the juices and cooked fruit and the pie will sink further.

If you really wanted to avoid sinking fruit filling all together, you could cook pre-cook the apple filling all together.

A slice of apple crumb pie on a plate.
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Make-Ahead Tips

Pies are one of the easiest desserts to prepare ahead of time!

As with most pies, there are a few steps you need to complete to get to the finished product. A lot of these components can be broken down into steps and done days (or weeks) in advance.

You can make the pie dough ahead of time. You can prepare the dough up to 2 days ahead, or up to 3 months in the freezer.

You can roll out the pastry up to 1 day ahead of time. Roll out the bottom crust and place in a pie pan. Keep in the refrigerator, covered completely, until you are ready to make the pie.

Can this be made ahead of time and frozen?

Apple Crumble Pies are great to prepare ahead of time in totality, up until the point of baking.

To freeze this pie: place the whole pie on a sheet pan first, and place it in a freezer. Once frozen (at least 12 hours), wrap the whole pie in plastic wrap very tightly twice, and then cover with aluminum foil. Don’t forget to label it!

It is best to cook any frozen pie within 3 months, because the longer it is stored in the freezer, the less pronounced the flavor is. However, you can wait as long as about 1 year if frozen properly.

How to Bake this Apple Crumb Pie From Frozen

You can actually bake a fruit pie directly from the freezer. In my opinion, doing this is even better than a fruit pie baked fresh. The reason is that the crust has a chance to cook first before the filling does, so you can ensure you have a beautifully crisp crust and perfectly cooked filling.

  1. Unwrap the frozen pie and let sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes, or until the dough is tacky. Pre-heat oven to 425ºF.
  2. Bake on the lower middle rack for 10 minutes.
  3. Lower the oven temperature to 400º for another 50-60 minutes, or until the pie filling is bubbling or has reached an internal temperature of above 200ºF. Cover the pie with aluminum foil if it is browning too quickly.
Apple crumble pie slices on a plate.
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How to Serve and Store It

Serve this pie slightly warm or at room temperature. It can be served as is, with whipped cream, or a la mode with vanilla ice cream!

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