Apple Crumble Pie

Let’s talk about pie. Most love it. I have learned to enjoy it. My husband can eat it anywhere, anytime. I’m just more select. I’m picky about the crust, the filling, and the topping, so if I’m going to eat pie and truly enjoy it, it better be worth it. This apple crumble pie is worth it. But I’ll confess, it’s taken me a while to perfect it. That may sound insane to you, but it’s true. While there are not all that many ingredients in this pie recipe, it is a delicate balance and one I’ve worked hard to master.

apple crumble pie

Elements of A Perfect Pie

For an apple pie, the most traditional of all pies, to be a prize-winning apple pie, there needs to be the perfect union; an exceptional crust with some fresh flavorful apples that contribute critical elements–acid, tannin, sugar, and flavor. Pie experts say, that a bad crust, even with the very best apples, makes only a fair pie. And a good crust, with merely fair apples, makes only a good pie. But, a good crust with great apples, makes a truly excellent and memorable pie. It’s important to remember that the flavor of the apples and the crust should be what dominates the pie–not spices or excessive sugar. Like so many things in baking and cooking, it’s all about balance.

Americans Love Their Pie

When the average American lists his or her favorite desserts, they tend to include ice cream, cake, cookies and, you guessed it, pie. According to the American Pie Council, approximately 700 million dollars (about 186 million pies) are sold in grocery stores every year. Keep in mind, this number does not even include restaurants, food service, or price clubs like Costco–only grocery stores. If you lined up the number of pies sold at U.S. grocery stores in just one year, they would circle the globe and then some.

apple crumble pie

The History of Apple Pie

The concept of pie was brought to England by the Romans. The Romans were known for making meat-filled pies with hard crusts made from flour and water. Although the English made apple and other types of fruit pies for several hundred years, their pies did not resemble what Americans call, classic apple pie. The pilgrims are credited for bringing the pie-making tradition with them to America, where fruit pies quickly became popular. Yet pre-Revolutionary pies were still made without sugar and the crusts were said to still be unsavory.

Traditional American apple pie, with a flaky, buttery, crust, is the result of a mix of recipes brought by immigrants from England, Sweden, and the Netherlands. Slowly, over time, the recipe evolved to include sugar, and at times, lemon juice and spices. Our modern recipe for apple pie is a blending of different cultures.

Johnny Appleseed

John Chapman, a pioneer born in Massachusetts in 1774, is credited for spreading apple trees throughout the newly independent America. He earned his nickname, “Johnny Appleseed“, by introducing apple trees and apple nurseries in several states, including; Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. At the time of Appleseed’s death in 1847, he left behind a nursery in Indiana with 15,000+ apple trees. It’s impossible to know the true impact Johnny Appleseed had on America’s love of apple pie, but he played an important role in giving post-Revolutionary Americans access to apples.

Pie Fun Facts

  • Roughly 1 in 5 (19%) of Americans prefer apple pie, followed by pumpkin (13%), pecan (12%), banana cream (10%) and cherry (9%).
  • Pie is not just for dessert 35% of Americans say they enjoy pies for breakfast (my husband included). Pies as lunch (66%) and midnight snacks (59%).
  • When asked what dessert Americans would prefer a friend/family member bring to their house for a holiday dinner, pie was the winner (29%), followed by cake (17%) and cookies (15%).

Pie Preferences

  • Roughly one-third of Americans have eaten pie in bed.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 women believe that they make the best pie – better than their mom or grandmother.
  • More than one-third of Americans have craved pie in the middle of the night.

apple crumble pie

Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. The focus on food makes it so. There is, however, a long-standing debate about what pie should be served on this holiday, pumpkin or apple. Growing up, I always had both. I was Team Pumpkin, my sister was Team Apple all the way and my mother liked both. And the fact that we always had both, says a lot about who my mom is, a peacemaker. My apple crumble pie is a worthy contender for your next holiday, Thanksgiving or otherwise, and I hope you give it a try.

About the Author

Andrea Potischman

I am a professionally trained NYC chef turned CA mom and food blogger. I post about real food, with doable ingredient lists that are family friendly.

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