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apple crumb pie

Caramel Apple Pie with Pecan Crumb Crust

As a new bride, I was reluctant to start making pies because my mother made such great pies. When I worked up the courage, I started with the American classic, Apple Pie. After all, at my Grandma’s house, the rule seemed to be that it was okay to have more than one kind of pie for dessert, as long as one of them was apple. When I baked my apple pie, I relied on my American classic cook book, Joy of Cooking.

For a long time, apple pie was about the only pie I made. I finally braved the wilds of other types of pies, and am still experimenting with new twists on old favorites. This caramel apple pie with pecan crumb topping melds the original Joy of Cooking apple pie recipe, with a technique I saw mentioned in a Facebook pie baking group. Then I borrowed the crumb topping recipe from another vintage cookbook, Better Homes and Gardens, and gave it a different twist.

The first challenge with the seemingly simple apple pie is deciding which of hundreds of kinds of apples to use. Most older cookbooks recommend Granny Smith, however, people are gravitating toward sweeter apples, and I found that Honeycrisp makes a very good pie. Just be sure to adjust your sugar depending on how sweet the apple is. Here’s a chart to help you decide.

I first saw this chart at my local Sprouts Farmer’s Market grocery store. It is a helpful guide. to sweetness in apples.

Here is my cobbled together recipe–for two smaller pies so you have one to eat and one to share. I hope you like it.

apple crumb pie
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Caramel Apple Pie with Pecan Crumb Topping

New twist on America's favorite: Apple Pie. Recipe for two pies–one to share.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword apple, pie, vintage
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 11 hours 25 minutes
Servings 12 slices
Author Vera Marie Badertscher

Equipment

  • 2 Disposable pie pans
  • Food processor

Ingredients

  • 8-10 Apples Peeled, cored and sliced. See Notes
  • Pie Dough for two shells
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 3 tbsp Corn starch
  • 1 1/2 tsp Penzey's Apple Pie Spice See Notes

Crumb Topping

  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cup Flour
  • 2/3 Cup Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Pecans

Instructions

  • Mix brown sugar, salt, corn starch and spices. Pour over Apples and place them in refrigerator over night.
  • The next day, heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • When ready to bake, strain off liquid and boil until reduced to thin syrup. Let cool slightly before adding back and mixing with apples.
  • Line two 8" pie pans with dough, and heap half of the apples in each.
  • To make Topping, mix sugar, flour and butter, and pulse a few times in food processors, just until there are no large clumps. Add pecans and three to four times more to incorporate pecans.
  • Scatter topping on apples in pans. Apples should barely show.
  • Put pie pans on cookie sheet and insert in 400 degree oven. Bake 45-50 minutes, until topping begins to brown. Check after 30 minutes and cover edge if it is browning too fast.
  • Serve pie with ice cream or whipped cream.

Notes

If you have very sweet apples, you can cut back on the sugar used.  If your apples are not juicy, you may want to add some water or bottled apple juice when you are boiling  down the juice.
Of course, I recommend my Perfect Pie Crust, however, feel free to use whatever pie shell you prefer. The topping is the star in this pie.
I specified Penzey’s Apple Pie Spice in the recipe, but if you don’t have any, you can substitute 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon; 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1/4 tsp cardamon (if you have it on hand). The Penzey’s mix is  very nice and I have found that I use it in a lot of ways besides apple pie–other fruit pies, cinnamon/sugar toast, baked puddings, etc.