This Easy Apple Pie makes a fabulous dessert for holidays, dinner parties and special occasions but it can be thrown quickly and with minimal effort. That makes it perfect for making an ordinary day quite special!
The recipe for Annie's Easy Apple Pie has a fun story to go along with it. You might be wondering who Annie is... Annie is our oldest granddaughter. She turned 14 this past summer and is a sweetheart of a young lady! She's also a great little cook and will take on just about any challenge in the kitchen. I had to laugh though, at the text she sent a few weeks ago. This is how our texting went:
Annie: Grammy. No rush but I have a challenge for you...
Annie: I love making apple pie but mum gets mad at me bc it takes 3 hours 😂 So is it possible for you to create an apple pie that doesn’t take all afternoon! I would be forever in your debt!!
Me: I will work on that! But I have a question for you.
Me: Could the pie have a crumble topping?
Annie: That sounds delicious!
Me: Great! I'm going to call it Annie's Easy Apple Pie!
Where to start
I decided to try working with a store-bought pie crust to cut down on time and effort, but had the goal of making it look and taste homemade. So I've been making apple pie. And more apple pie. Lots of apple pie! I'm quite happy with the final results and guests I served it to recently LOVED it!
I learned a few tricks along the way about working with a store-bought crust and put them together in a post called Homemade Store-Bought Crusts since they're not only applicable to this easy apple pie recipe but to any pie, quiche or tart. So we won't spend much time talking about the crust in this post as you can check out all the details of how to make those super convenient refrigerated pie crusts look and taste more like you started from scratch.
What is the best apple for apple pie?
Since apples are the foundation for this recipe, let's take a bit of time to explore which apple will give the best results for pie. Unlike the sage culinary advice for wine, "Choose a wine for cooking that you'd also enjoy drinking", a delicious eating apple isn't always the best cooking apple. And to get even more nitty gritty, the best apple for cooking something like applesauce doesn't necessarily make a good apple pie.
So what is the best apple for pie? Honestly, the "experts" have very different opinions. If you do an online search for "The best apple for apple pie.", you'll find the advice a bit staggering as there are SO many apple varieties available these days. However, if you condense all the recommendations, you come up with the fact that the right "type" of apple is a better question.
The consensus is that the best type of apple for pie is an apple that's fairly firm and one that will hold its shape. You don't want an apple that turns to mush in the time it takes for the pie crust to properly bake. Other than that simple guideline, it's more a matter of taste than anything else. You can go with sweet or more tart varieties, according to your preference.
What's my favorite apple for pie. In this particular easy apple pie recipe, I really like to use Honey Crisp, Jonagold, Golden Delicious and Braeburn. I've tried all of them with delicious results. Although Granny Smith apples are a popular choice with experts, I find that they stay a little too hard in the amount of time it takes to make this particular recipe.
The baking gurus at Bon Appétit recommend Mutsu, Winesap, Pink Lady, Cripps Pink, Jonagold, Honey Crisp and Braeburn. So there you have it, pick your favorite or a combination of these and let's get on with making Annie's Easy Apple Pie!
What's the easiest and quickest way to peel an apple?
Although I've always used a small paring knife to peel my apples (just like my grandmother did), I decided to do a bit of research and see if there might be an easier and quicker way to peel apples (without fancy gadgets). After all, my goal was to help Annie make an apple pie that "doesn't take all afternoon".
Guess what? My poor paring knife has lost its first-place apple peeling prize. I discovered an easier (and quicker) way to peel apples over at Real Simple and I'm quite certain I won't be going back to the paring knife. You can watch Real Simple's apple peeling video here or just check out the simple picture tutorial below. I actually timed myself and found that I can peel the 5 medium-size apples required for this easy apple pie in less than 5 minutes using this technique.
- Twist off the stem.
- Using a Y-peeler, slice across the top of the apple.
- Starting from the top, peel downward.
- Rotate the apple and proceed to peel wide swatches down the sides.
- Flip the apple over and slice a wide swatch off the bottom.
- Rotate the apple peeling off any remaining skin
And the easiest way to slice the apple once it's peeled?
- Starting right at the edge of the core, slice off one "cheek" of the apple.
- Slice the remaining 3 cheeks.
- Slice the cheeks into thin slices
- Voila! In the wink of an eye you'll have a nice pile of apple slices!
I did purchase one of the Y-shaped apple peelers and also sent one to Annie. I know it will get a ton of use in my kitchen as I've discovered its wide peeling girth also make it great for peeling other veggies, like butternut squash zucchini, cucumbers, potatoes etc. - in a hurry!
The best crumb topping
I did a bit of experimenting with the crumb topping and came up with a simple 3-ingredient, sweet, buttery crumble that's the crowning glory of this easy apple pie. Lots of crumble recipes call for cutting cold butter into a flour/sugar mixture. I found that partially melting the butter and then refrigerating the crumble, while I peel and prep the apples, gives the same delicious results with much less effort.
The other interesting thing I discovered when creating the crumble is that brown sugar yields more tender crumbs than regular granulated sugar. And light brown sugar is perfect as the dark brown variety can make the baked pie look burnt rather than beautiful golden brown.
Try this delicious, easy apple pie asap!
That's about all you need to know to make Annie's Easy Apple Pie except be sure to pick up some good vanilla ice cream to serve it with. It's truly a magical combination.
I made another one last night, just so I'd remember to share all the tips and tricks as I write this post. Scott and I both agreed again, that it was one of the best apple pies we've ever had the pleasure of meeting! I think you'll enjoy it too!
S0 thanks Annie, for this fun challenge! I think your mom will be amazed at how quickly you can put together a delicious apple pie!
Café Tips for making this Easy Apple Pie
- Use your favorite refrigerated pie crust for this recipe and check out the tips for making a store-bought pie crust taste and look homemade in this post.
- I've had good results with Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts and it was also a winner in a review done by Cook's Illustrated. Some of our readers have recommended Trader Joes, Whole Foods and Wewalka brands.
- You'll need a 9-inch pie pan for this recipe, not a deep-dish pan. You can use glass, metal or ceramic. I sent Annie this classic 9-inch pie pan along with the Y-peeler mentioned above, as it's perfect for this recipe and works well for any pie or quiche.
- Be sure to follow the steps for this recipe in the order given. The crust and the crumble need a bit of time to chill while you're prepping the apples.
- You can make this pie in advance, let it cool and freeze it. Take it out of the freezer a few hours before serving and warm for 20 minutes at 300˚F before serving.
- Another way to prep this easy apple pie in advance is to prepare the crust as directed in this Homemade Store Bought Pie Crusts post, then freeze the crust-lined pie pan. When you're ready to make apple pie, simply make the crumble, prep the apples, put the pie together and bake.
- Don't make the mistake that I did with one of my test pies. I forgot to reduce the temperature when I place the pie in the oven. I set my timer for 30 minutes to check and see if it needed to be covered with foil. It was chocolate brown, not so good!
Thought for the day:
If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
I wait for the Lord,
my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear other’s results and ideas for variations.
This Easy Apple Pie makes a fabulous dessert for holidays, dinner parties and special occasions, but it can be thrown together quickly and with minimal effort. That makes it perfect for making an ordinary day quite extraordinary!
- 1 refrigerated pie crust I like Pillsbury
- cooking spray or oil
- 1 teaspoon soft butter
- ½ cup butter (1 stick) (I use salted)
- 1 cup flour maybe a bit more
- ¾ cup light brown sugar tightly packed
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅙ teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 medium-size apples 6-7 if you're using small apples. You want a total of 6-7 cups of thinly sliced apples
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator 15 minutes in advance.
Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Place a sheet pan lined with foil on the lower rack of the oven.
Spray a 9-inch pie pan lightly with cooking spray or lightly oil it. Place the butter in the pie pan and rub with a paper towel to coat the pan. Set aside.
Unroll the refrigerated pie crust on a work surface. Center the dough in a 9-inch pie pan without stretching it. Press it firmly against the sides and bottom of the pan to anchor the crust to the pan.
There should about a ½-inch extra crust that extends over the top of the pan. Starting at one area of the edge, tuck the crust under (towards the pan) about ¼-inch, working your way around the pan.
You now will have a lip or rim that extends ¼-inch above the top of the pan. This will not only look really pretty once it’s crimped, but it will also keep the filling of the pie from bubbling over the edge.
With your two index fingers, go around the pan pressing gently to even and straighten the lip (rim). (See this post for a picture tutorial on how to crimp a pie crust.)
Refrigerate the lined pie pan while you prepare the crumb topping and filling.
Place butter in a medium-size, microwave-safe bowl. Add the butter and microwave on high power for 40-50 seconds until the butter about ¾ melted.
Add the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt to the partially melted butter and stir with a fork until large, wet crumbs form. If the mixture seems too wet to form crumbs, add 1-2 tablespoons of extra flour and stir with a fork until the wet crumbs form. Refrigerate while prepping the apples.
Peel, core and slice the apples. (See the post for a picture tutorial on the easiest way to do this.)
Combine the sliced apples, flour, sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl. Toss lightly until everything is well-combined.
Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator. Add the apple filling, mounding the apples slightly in the center.
Using your hand, sprinkle the crumb topping over the apples, breaking up any really large crumbs with your fingers. Try to cover the entire top of the pie but keep the topping inside the crimped edges.
Place the pie on the preheated sheet pan on the lower rack of the oven. Immediately reduce the temperature to 375˚F. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is nicely browned. The apple filling should be bubbling a bit here and there through the crumb topping. Check the pie after 35 minutes and cover with foil if it seems to be getting too brown.
Allow the pie to cool for at least 45 minutes to an hour to allow the apple filling to “set”. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a heavenly sweet treat!
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips.
See the picture tutorials above in the post for the easiest and quickest way to peel and slice apples.