This delicious French Apple Pie has an easy-to-make flaky crust that is packed full with tasty cinnamon-flavored apples. Covered with loads and loads of sugary crumbs, this dessert is bound to make your fall, Thanksgiving and holiday tables sweeter!
When you can smell all the sweet aromas of cookies, pies, cakes and breads in the air you know it's holiday time. I have such fond memories of coming home from school and smelling all the wonderful treats my Mom was baking especially her delicious Gingerbread and Special K Cookies. Maybe that is why I still love cooking up a storm for the holidays and inviting family and friends alike to the house to share in the warmth of the season.
Pie has always been an on again, off again baking treat for me. The crust always turns out great but takes a little more effort than dumping cake contents into a bowl. However, when I do get around to making it, everyone is all on board to help me eat it up.
And what could be better than a one-crust pie? Half the work and just as delicious! My favorite one-crust pie is probably Pumpkin Pie but it was my easy Blueberry Galette that turned me into a convert for good. One thing I did learn, when I really want a pie without the fuss, buying a deep dish frozen crust will do the trick almost as well as my homemade crust.
Which brings me to this French Apple Pie today or, as some call it, Apple Crumble Pie or Dutch Apple Pie. We are in the middle of apple season and, to me, there's nothing better than a slice of warm apple pie with a scoop of ice cream on a cool fall day. Are you with me?
Now, It doesn't matter whether you make my homemade pastry crust with the easy tips below or go purchase one, this dessert is as easy as pie. lol Just toss some apples with cinnamon sugar, pour them into the crust, top it with crumbs and bake. Your house will smell heavenly and feel so warm and cozy. Of course, don't discount how happy this Apple Crumble Pie will make your family too!
Easy pastry crust tips
Love pies but stay away from them because of the crust? Trust me, you'll have no problem with my Mom's crust recipe. It's easy to make and comes out flaky every time. Here are a few tips on getting the same perfect pie crust.
- #1 most important tip, your shortening must be very cold. Using shortening in lieu of butter will allow you to incorporate it more quickly thus ensuring a flakier crust.
- You want to work it with a pastry cutter just enough to make coarse crumbs, not fine like cornmeal. Leaving larger crumbs will allow the fat to create steam causing the air pockets needed for a flaky crust.
- Always add the water a little at a time. The water aids in gluten development, which you don’t want for a tender crust, so you only want enough to hold the dough together. (pinch it between your fingers and if it holds together, you’ve added enough water.
- Some people chill the dough before rolling and prior to filling but I haven't found this necessary unless you live in a very warm climate.
Gather your apples. The ones that work best are Granny Smith, Fuji, Honey Crisp, Jonagold, Winesap, Baldwin and Empire among others. It's best to use 2 or 3 varieties for the best flavor. The remaining ingredients are standard ones you most likely have on hand - flour, sugar, shortening, salt, butter and lemon juice.
- Using a pastry cutter. make crust by combining shortening and flour. Add a little water until it holds together when squeezed between your fingers. Gently lift and place in pie dish then flute edges. (photo 1)
- Toss apples with lemon juice. Mix cinnamon and sugar and add to apples. Stir well. (photo 2)
- Pour apples into pastry crust. Overfill it because as it bakes they will shrink down. Cover with crumbs. (photo 3)
- Pie is ready for the oven. (photo 4)
Bake it now for a super fall dessert or change it up this Thanksgiving or Christmas and make this French Apple Pie full of sweet crumbs the star of dinner. You can even sprinkle a little powdered sugar on it for a more Christmasy feel. (And if you sneak some vanilla ice cream on top, I won't tell) Enjoy!
More delicious pie recipes
Pumpkin Pecan Pie when you can't make up your mind between a pecan pie or pumpkin pie!
Key Lime Pie is a tart and sweet dessert that will have you thinking of warm weather and beaches.
Deep Dish Cherry Pie is rich and full of sweet flavor. Perfect for any time of year.
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French Apple Pie
- 1 cup flour sifted
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup shortening, chilled
- 2-3 Tablespoons ice water
- 6 cups sliced apples, a mix of about 4 tart Granny Smith and 2 red Fuji apples
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅔-3/4 cup sugar (I tend towards the low end)
- 2 Tablespoons flour
French Crumb Topping
- ¾-1 cup flour
- ⅔ cup brown sugar, packed
- ⅔ cup chilled butter, cut into small slices
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Sift flour and salt together into large bowl.
- Using a pastry cutter, or two knives, cut in shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add the water a tablespoon at a time, stirring lightly with fork, and continue until the dough holds together when pinched between your fingers.
- Sprinkle your surface with flour, as well as the top of the dough, and roll the dough into a circle that is slightly larger than the pie plate.
- Fold over rolling pin and lift over pie plate. Let settle into pie plate, gently patting into place. Trim overhanging sides of dough to within 1-½-inches and fold over to form a standing rim, pinching dough together. Using your index or pinkie finger, press from outside-in to form a depression, skip ½" and make another depression with finger. Continue all the way around. Set aside.
- Slice apples. Pour lemon juice over them to keep them from turning brown.
- Mix cinnamon with sugar and toss with apples.
- Add in flour and mix to incorporate. Pour into prepared unbaked pie crust.
French Crumb Topping
- Using a pastry cutter, mix butter, sugar and flour together until it resembles small crumbs.
- Top pie with crumbs.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes. Let cool on wire rack then store in refrigerator.
- Optional: You can garnish with powdered sugar after the pie has cooled.
- Use a nut crust in lieu of the pastry crust for the base.
- Change the flour in the apple filling and crumb topping to a gluten-free flour.
This post has been updated to include step-by-step instructions and a video. It was first published on December 1, 2013.