New and Improved Crumb Topped Apple Pie

So, I’m giving this crumb topped apple pie a  new and improved makeover. The original recipe was written for Main Street Magazine, and although I love the pie, I also believe in occasionally revisiting old recipes to see if there are any improvements needed . . . and in this case I think you will be quite pleased with my “new and improved” crumb topped apple pie. I love apple pie, as I’m a traditionalist from way back, and I am particularly fond of crumb topped apple pies, as they are less work than double crusted pies (you’re welcome).

Moreover, the bottom crust of this pie is made with a combination of cream cheese (one of my all time favorite ingredients, thank you very much) and butter, so it is extra pliable and easy to roll out. Moreover, I add a little baking powder to the crust, which helps insure that it is flaky even if you are a little too aggressive with it when rolling it out, etc. I also add a little baking powder to the crumb, for tenderness.

Moreover, I am extremely generous (and specific) when it comes to the apples in this pie, as I call for two pounds and I want them sliced VERY thin. I think this makes for a pie filling that bakes evenly and one this is toothsome, yet soft when you bite into it – in other words it is PERFECT. I call for a few spices to, well, spice things up and I am on the generous side when it comes to the sugar, but you can add less, if sweet is not your jam. In short, I think you will dig this pie, particularly now that it has received such a lovely make over.

crumb topped apple pie
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New and Improved Crumb Topped Apple Pie

Recipe Author Jessie Sheehan
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 8


  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ounces cream cheese cold and cubed
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter cold and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ice water
  • 1 egg white for brushing on the bottom crust

for the crumb topping

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt rounded
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter cold and cubed

for the filling

  • 2/3 – 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • Pinch of allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 pounds apples about 4 large, such as granny smith and honey crisp

for the egg wash

  • 1 yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Turbinado sugar for sprinkling


  • To make the crust, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process briefly to combine. Add the cream cheese and butter, and pulse until the butter and cream cheese are broken up but are still in small chunks.
  • Dump the dough into a medium bowl and sprinkle the vinegar and ice water over it. Toss the dough with your hands in order to evenly distribute the liquid, and then knead the dough in the bowl until a bit of dough can be pinched together between two fingers and hold its shape. Bring the dough together into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
  • Remove the disk from the refrigerator, lightly flour a work surface, and roll it into a 10 or 11-inch circle. Place it in a 9-inch pie plate, crimp the edges and brush the egg white over the bottom of the dough.This will protect the pie from developing a soggy bottom while it bakes.Transfer to the freezer for one hour.
  • Heat the oven to 400°F.
  • To make the crumb topping, combine all of the topping ingredients in a medium bowl and using your fingers, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until you the mixture forms one large clump. Place in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
  • To make the filling, whisk the sugar, spices, salt and cornstarch in a large bowl. Peel and core the apples and slice them quite thin, about 1/4 inch thick, or thinner. Add the slices to the sugar mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until evenly coated.
  • To make the egg wash, combine the egg yolk, water and salt in a small bowl, and brush along the crimped edge of the crust.
  • Pile the apples in the crust and cover in the crumb, forming it into little clumps as you do so and pressing it down lightly to adhere. Leave a bit of the filling exposed at the top of the pie, so that you can see it when it is bubbling and ready to be pulled from the oven.
  • Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet, and bake for about 1 hour and fifteen minutes, rotating at the halfway point and tenting with foil. The pie is ready when the filling bubbles in the center, and/or the internal temp of the pie registers 195°F.
  • Let rest until it reaches room temperature, about 3 hours, if you are feeling patient. If not, at least two hours. Serve slices with vanilla ice cream. The pie will keep lightly covered in plastic wrap on the counter for up to three days.

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5 replies on “New and Improved Crumb Topped Apple Pie”

I would make it just as you do regular pie dough – treat the cream cheese as you do the butter. If you give it a try, please let me know how it turns out!

Should you prick the crust before adding the filling?
If you don’t have Apple cider vinegar, can you use regular vinegar or an extra TBLS of water?
This looks delicious!

no need to prick first as the crust is not par baked so there is no fear of it puffing up in the oven and if you pric it the filling may leak out before it sets. yes. you can use regular vinegar if you have it! thanks for the great questions!

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