Delicious, homemade apple pie brings to mind warmth, comfort, happiness, family and wonderful memories— apple pie is home. Homemade apple pie is love. I’ve been baking apple pies one after the other lately, both old-fashioned and with crumb topping topped a la mode with a fantastic, easy homemade cinnamon ice cream and drizzled with homemade caramel sauce. The pies were simply delicious, with crusts that were perfectly flaky. Apple pie is simply my family’s favorite, something they can never get enough of.
I made an apple crumb pie first and asked my husband which he thought was better, old-fashioned or with a crumb topping. According to him, the only way he could decide was if I he had both pies in front of him so he could taste them one after the other. Obviously, it was just his way of getting me to make more pie.
So I baked a regular old-fashioned apple pie as well. This is not the first time we’ve had a pie palooza. I once baked an apple pie, a blueberry pie and a cherry pie all in one day. Which isn’t really a big deal if you think about the old days when country folk would set aside a day to bake about a dozen pies.
Here’s a slice of the apple pie with brown sugar cinnamon crumb topping. The pie is fantastic just by itself but I thought I would top it with a scoop of homemade cinnamon ice cream. The ice cream was just out of this world. It’s so simple to make, you don’t need an ice cream maker. It tastes really fabulous with a creamy texture that’s smooth as silk. It’s the same recipe as my earlier praline ice cream, the only difference was I used ground cinnamon to flavor instead of vanilla and pralines.
Then I thought I would make my homemade caramel sauce and drizzle it on the ice cream and the pie. OMG!!! What can I say? This is just sublime. The combined flavor of the apple pie, the ice cream and caramel sauce was just perfect harmony.
Both pies were super duper delicious—so good I can best describe enjoying them as a wonderful experience. My husband decided whichever pie he happened to be eating was the better one. I have to say, even if both pies were filled with the same kind of filling, the topping being the only difference, each had its own unique flavor. I, myself, couldn’t decide which one tasted better because they were just so good. The only conclusion I could draw here is it’s hard to miss with apple pie.
The basic pie pastry can be made by hand using a pastry blender as shown in my earlier post, but this time, I used a food processor. It took little more than 5 minutes to make my pastry ball, which I then chilled while I prepared the apples.
It was a breeze peeling and coring the apples with these nifty gadgets. My apple corer sliced the apples in 16 segments, and I sliced each segment in half to make them even thinner.
Have all the components ready before mixing the sugar and spice mixture with the apples. In my pie baking frenzy, I made a couple of observations that may have contributed to an even more flaky crust:
- Keep everything cold. Start with cold ingredients when making the pie pastry. Chill the pastry while you slice the apples. Chill the sliced apples while you prepare the sugar and spice mixture for the filling. Chill that mixture while you make the crumb topping. Chill the crumb topping while you roll out the pastry.
- Mixing the apple pie filling. When making the apple pie filling, slice the apples thinly and keep it separate from the sugar and spice mixture (the brown sugar, flour, ground cinnamon, nutmeg and salt mixture). Mix the sliced apples and the sugar and spice mixture at the last minute when the pie plate has been lined and all the other needed components are ready for assembly. My theory is, sugar will macerate fruit and draw the juices out. You want to minimize moisture when you fill the pie to keep the bottom crust flaky. Once the pie is filled, work quickly to top the pie as the sugar will start to macerate the apples. You want to get the pie into a hot oven right away to get the bottom crust sealed and baking.
- Amount of flour to thicken the apple pie filling. My standard amount of flour to thicken the filling is two tablespoons. I noticed though that a crumb topping makes for an even juicier filling, plus my apples were so fresh, crisp and juicy, so I increased the flour to four tablespoons. I wouldn’t go overboard with the flour though, or the filling might end up dry and pasty.
- Bubbling juices. A general indication that a pie is almost done is when the juices start to bubble. Allowing the juices to bubble for a few extra minutes will make for a thicker filling once the pie cools down.
I mixed the apples with the sugar and spice mixture just before filling the pie pastry, then quickly worked to top it with the crumb topping. Here’s the apple pie hot out of the oven with its juices still flowing. The filling will thicken as it cools down so be patient and give it at least a couple of hours or, better still, overnight.
The same notes apply to baking an old-fashioned apple pie, or any kind of pie baked with pastry. Keep everything cold before filling the pie and once the pie is filled, work quickly to get it into a hot oven.
Easy cinnamon ice cream—smooth, silky, delicious and you don’t need an ice cream maker to make it!!!
Everyone loves Mom’s homemade apple pie!
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup shortening
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 7 – 8 tablespoons iced water
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 - 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour (use a max of 4 tablespoons if apples are very juicy and crisp)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 6 medium apples
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Mix flour and salt in a food processor or stir by hand in a bowl.
- Add shortening and butter and pulse for a few seconds, just until the shortening and butter are evenly distributed and particles are the size of small peas. You can also cut the shortening and butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender.
- Add water a tablespoon at a time and pulse about 2 seconds after each addition. Once all the water is added, pulse until the pastry can clump together to form a ball. If using a pastry blender, add water a tablespoon at a time and mix with a fork or rubber spatula. After adding all the water, press the pastry together to form a ball.
- Wrap the pastry ball in plastic wrap and chill while you slice the apples, prepare the filling and crumb topping.
- Mix brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl. Cover and chill.
- Peel and slice apples into a separate bowl. Cover and chill.
- Mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter with your hands or with a pastry blender or in a food processor. The food processor will tall take only a few seconds and will produce fine crumbs. Cover and chill.
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Slice the chilled pie pastry ball in half with a sharp knife. Use only ½ and save the other half for another pie. Or use the extra pastry to cut out shapes to garnish the top of the pie.
- Flour your work surface and rolling pin liberally to prevent sticking. Roll the pie pastry in a circle large enough to line a 9-inch pie plate.
- Drape the rolled pastry on your rolling pin to transfer onto the pie plate. Fold any excess pastry underneath for a clean edge.
- Mix the chilled sliced apples with the chilled sugar mixture until all the apples are coated.
- Arrange the coated sliced apples into the prepared pie plate. Sprinkle the crumb topping on top making sure all the apples are covered.
- Bake for 30 minutes, and then lightly place a sheet of aluminum foil shiny side up on top of the pie and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes uncovered. By the time you remove the pie from the oven, it should have been bubbling for about 5 minutes. The length of time the pie filling bubbles affects the thickness of the filling, so the longer you allow it to bubble, the thicker the filling.
- Remove from the oven and allow the pie to cool completely before slicing, at least 2 – 3 hours, or better still, overnight.
- Microwave the butter in a bowl to melt. Mix in the sweetened condensed milk, and then add the ground cinnamon until well blended. Chill in the refrigerator or place in the freezer while you whip the heavy cream.
- Keep the heavy cream cold until ready to whip. With the wire whip of a stand mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks.
- Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the whipped cream with the condensed milk mixture. Gently mix until well combined.
- Pour the ice cream into a lidded container and freeze until firm or overnight.
Apple Pie with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Crumb Topping a la mode