Old Fashioned Apple Crumb Pies

just like grandma used to make

Well, vacation is over and I’m back in the swing of things (although somewhat begrudgingly). Kramer and I had a fantastic vacation, and it was especially good to get out of the disgusting New York summer heat. It’s another scorcher today, and I’m wishing that we could go back to Seattle or Canada for just a day to remember what it feels like to not be a disgusting, sweaty mess. I moved to the city for the sweet, sweet cold – for autumn and for snow and to freeze my ass off. I was completely prepared for that. Nobody told me about the awful humidity. Thankfully we have a fairly decent air conditioner and as long as we stay within the comfortable confines of our apartment, I think we’ll make it through five or six more weeks of this before we return to the more mild temperatures that I prefer. I read that it is going to be over 105 degrees in Tempe, though, so I don’t miss that at all. Kramer and I read that while everyone thinks that Seattle is dark and gloomy all year round, New York actually gets more precipitation – Seattle is just ‘misty’ all year round. We really loved Seattle – we ate well, had good company, and did plenty of walking.

Old Fashioned Apple Crumb PiesRosé, meats, and cheeses at Melrose Market.

We got into Seattle on the 4th of July, where we met up with Kramer’s sister, Rachel, and her fiance, Eric. We immediately did some good eating and drinking – fried egg, crab, and avocado sandwiches at Seatown, fries and beers at a random bar we happened upon, then a bit of walking before heading back to the hotel for more beers and some swimming. Our hotel did, indeed, have a pool, and we used it for a few hours each day. In Arizona, pools were a dime a dozen and we never really appreciated them. Now, in New York, where you don’t get the chance to go swimming nearly enough, Kramer and I turn into aqua people when we’re near water. For dinner that evening, we found ourselves in a bit of a pickle. Nothing was open! I know that things close early on holidays, but we were shocked at how little there was available. We ended up at Unicorn for excellent tater tots, corn dogs, chicken fingers, and beers in what can only be described as an atmosphere where only a creepy clown would be comfortable. The people were friendly, though, and we enjoyed our trashy bar food because really, how often do you eat that stuff? Afterward, we walked around a bit and watched the fireworks, then stumbled upon an old favorite (especially because it was open), Gameworks. Kramer and I are suckers for Gameworks, Dave and Busters, any kind of giant arcade like that, so we were more than happy. Day two rolled around, with more of the same but at different venues. I’m ecstatic just to be outside these days, so we wandered down to the pier, nibbled this and that at Pike Place (including delicious beef jerky and some salmon), walked to Melrose Market for meats, cheeses, and wine, did some more swimming, then waddled over to Quinn’s for a delicious dinner. My three companions all had fish and chips, while I had the mussels, which were incredibly creamy and plump. We ended the evening at Canon, a beautiful spirit focused library, which I adored. The old timey decorations, the fact that you get to actually sit down, and the antiques (like an actual prescription for whiskey from prohibition era). We couldn’t resist ordering just one round of pork belly buns while sipping on some seriously good cocktails. Do you blame us? The following day was the time for Kramer and I to head up to Canada, so we ended a trip to Seattle the best way we knew how: with dim sum in the International District at Harbor City. We stuffed ourselves silly, beers included, for the low, low price of $40. I couldn’t believe it. The trip couldn’t have finished on a better note.

Old Fashioned Apple Crumb Pies

So, awesome(ly delicious) vacation aside, I’m here to share some food that I actually have a recipe for. I brought these old fashioned apple crumb pies to a friend’s barbecue last month, and I think that they were successful, as they were all gone by the end of the party and that’s all you can ask for. I’m a bit obsessed with miniature pies. I love pie – I’ll take it over cakes or cupcakes or cookies any day – but having to eat something with a fork during an event can be a bit cumbersome. Pie crust is such a perfect vessel for handheld treats, so why not make mini pies as often as humanly possible? In order to stretch my pie dough and make as many little pies as possible, I opted to do an old fashioned crumb on top of the pies, which may have even been tastier than the regular crust versions. Kramer always worries that miniature pies will have too much crust-to-fruit ratio, which is a legitimate concern – using the crumbs eliminates this worry. I used raisins in my pies because that just seems more ‘old fashioned’ to me (plus I, unlike most people I know, actually really like raisins), but you can omit those if you want. I recommend added toffee pieces or even chocolate chips if you want to get crazy, or you can keep things straight forward with just the apple. However you chose to dress up these pies, I can promise that they will be a big hit at your next gathering.

Old Fashioned Apple Crumb PiesKramer and me on our first day in Seattle.

Old Fashioned Apple Crumb PiesKramer and his sister, Rachel.

Old Fashioned Apple Crumb PiesOysters for breakfast.

Old Fashioned Apple Crumb PiesPotstickers on a stick.

Old Fashioned Apple Crumb PiesThe market.

Old Fashioned Apple Crumb PiesOld Fashioned Apple Crumb PiesOutside beers.

Old Fashioned Apple Crumb PiesOld Fashioned Apple Crumb PiesOld Fashioned Apple Crumb PiesOld Fashioned Apple Crumb PiesOld Fashioned Apple Crumb PiesOld Fashioned Apple Crumb PiesUp the punx.

Old Fashioned Apple Crumb PiesHeaded home.

Old Fashioned Apple Crumb PiesCombine your apple ingredients and let them sit for a bit to soak up the flavor.

Old Fashioned Apple Crumb PiesRoll out your pie crust on a well floured surface and cut out circles to fit into your well greased muffin tins.

Old Fashioned Apple Crumb PiesOld Fashioned Apple Crumb PiesOld Fashioned Apple Crumb PiesFill your pies with your filling mixture, then top with the crumble.

Old Fashioned Apple Crumb PiesBake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, until golden and bubbling.

Old Fashioned Apple Crumb PiesAllow the pies to cool completely before popping out of the tins.

Old Fashioned Apple Crumb PiesOld Fashioned Apple Crumb Pies

Old Fashioned Apple Crumb Pies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 30 miniature pies
Old fashioned apple crumb pies in handheld form.
For your Pie Crust:
  • 3¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅔ cup unsalted butter, COLD (NOT room temperature), cut into pieces
  • ⅔ cup shortening, COLD (NOT room temperature)
  • ⅔ cup ice water, plus more as needed
  • 4 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
For the Crumb Topping:
  • 1⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature and cubed
  • ½ cup slivered almonds or oats (optional)
For the Apple Filling:
  • 4 large apples, diced
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
  • juice of half a lemon
  • ½ cup raisins (optional)
For your Pie Crust:
  1. Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add in the chopped pieces of cold butter and cold shortening (cold is essential for a flaky pie crust). Blend together with your hands (or, alternatively, a food processor) until you have coarse crumbs (it doesn’t have to be perfect). You can use a pastry cutter, too, but I find that a clean pair of hands work best. Place the dough back into the fridge for 15 minutes or so, so it stays cold. Mix together the water and vinegar in a small bowl. When ready, slowly drizzle it over the dough, a tablespoon or so at a time, gently stirring the mixture with a fork or pulsing with your processor, until fully incorporated and the dough forms into a nice ball. You may not need all of the water. It might seem a bit too wet at this point, but it will dry up while it sits in the fridge. Form the dough gently into 2 loose balls, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours or as long as overnight (obviously, overnight is best - I sometimes let this dough sit for 36 hours).
For the Crumb Topping:
  1. Whisk together the all-purpose flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add in the cubed butter, and with your hands or a pastry cutter (I prefer to use my hands), blend the butter into the dry mixture until medium sized crumbs form. Add in the oats or almonds, if using. Cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to use. I usually make this a day ahead when I make the pie crust.
For the Apple Crumb Pies:
  1. Make your filling when you are almost ready to use your dough. Peel, core, and finely dice your apples to very small pieces, otherwise known as a brunoise. Toss them with the filling ingredients, fold in the raisins (if using), and allow the mixture to sit in the fridge for 15 minutes or so.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Generously butter 2 muffins tins (and I mean generously - the better you do it, the easier it will be to pop the pies out later). When ready to use, roll out your pie crust to ½-inch thick on a well floured surface and cut out circles that are a bit bigger than the muffin tins you will be using so that there is enough crust to go up around and form the edges. Fill the pies with 2-3 tablespoons of filling (don't overfill the pies or else they will bubble over and be hard to remove), then sprinkle with a liberal amount of your crumble topping.
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the crumble is a golden brown and the pies are bubbling. Allow them to cool completely before using a small, blunt knife to help wiggle them out of the tins. I suggest a blunt knife over a butter knife because a bit of sharpness helps ease them out, I've found. These will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge (or at room temperature if it's not summertime) for up to 4 days.


18 Responses

  1. Looks like such a fun trip. I, too, prefer pies over other desserts…especially mini or hand pies!

  2. Seattle looks like it was a blast! I’m dying in this heat too, and I live in Canada. But I live in Montreal, so it’s quite close to the border. Today it “feels like” 102 degrees F! I need some serious lemonade.

    This recipe is so lovely. All the classic things you want in a crumb pie, but in mini form!

  3. Jane M says:

    This makes e wish for late August / September. I long for some crisp dry air and mini appe pies!

  4. Tieghan says:

    Looks like such a fun vacay! I am actually just across the river in Mt.Hood, OR for the summer and the weather has been picture perfect! So nice!

    These pies look so dang good. Holy yum!

  5. OMG the pot sticks on a stick! I am in love. I am glad you had such a refreshing holiday and I am kealous of your eats.
    These are too cute and I love how you keep crumble on hand. I do too, nothing better than crumble on short notice right?

  6. ashley says:

    These look amazing!! I can’t wait to try these out…I love the crumb topping :)

  7. rindymae says:

    #1. That trip sounds amazing.
    #2. The picture of cheese and meat almost made me cry.
    #3. I need to make these IMMEDIATELY.

  8. LIndsey says:

    It looks like y’all had a fabulous vacation… I am seriously envious of that charcuterie from Melrose Market – I hope to make it up there soon! As always, drooling over your pastries :-) Miss you!

  9. These look so good! I much prefer the bitesized desserts to a massice one. Yum!!!

  10. Elizabeth says:

    We visited Seattle last year and it is such an incredible city! Going there right now sounds so nice, similar to how these pies look. I love that they are mini and have a crumb topping!

  11. Wow, I love hearing about your vacation! Seattle is one big U.S. city I have yet to visit, but you’ve whet my appetite even more :) And apple crumb pies? Oh my goodness, old fashioned is right. I love it! No doubt that they would disappear at a party.

  12. Your vacation sounds like a blast! I too am surprised nothing was open on the fourth, everything is open here. The cherries and fish look amazing but I would expect nothing less from Seattle. And these pies – love mini pies! Add apples, raisins, and crumb topping and there probably wouldn’t be any left for other people 😉

  13. […] Seattle and then Victoria, Kramer and I headed over to Vancouver for our final leg of 2013’s Pacific […]

  14. Lynna says:

    I love apple pie and these crumb pie look delicious! I definitely want to try these.

  15. Leah says:

    It says cook time is 1hr 30min. What is that referring to?

    • Sydney says:

      Hey Leah – I work slow! :) That’s all. Also it depends on how many pans you can fit in your oven. I like to be prepared time-wise.

  16. Don says:

    What are the missing amounts of ingredients?

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