Despite all the pie recipes to be found around here, everybody at this house favors apple. That probably has something to do with being able to pick our own, in our own yard. It’s been like that since I was a kid because my parents started planting fruit trees in 1959. The best for pie is the one on the west end, variety unknown. It might be Victory or Firestone, as indicated on the notebook page my mother kept, but many of those original trees were replanted over the years. All I know is that this particular tree produces the apples that make the best pie. We were dismayed a few years ago when fully half of the tree broke off, figuring that would be the end of it. But it seems that was exactly what it needed. It’s been producing bumper crops ever since.
Mom made fantastic pie and apple crisp with these apples. I’ve combined the two by putting the crumb topping on the pie. In addition to our apples I usually add one of another variety for a more complex flavor. This time I used a huge Jonagold we’d brought home from Washington. A blend of tart apples that hold their shape when baked and sweet apples that might cook down a bit is just right. A good combination is half Jonagold, half Granny Smith if you’re buying all the apples.
— Joan, 19 October 2016
- 6-9 ripe apples (preferably 2 different varieties), peeled, cored and sliced to make at least 6 cups
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon instant clear jel
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- pie crust
- ½ cup butter, cut into pieces
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup whole oats
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Make the topping by mixing the butter into the brown sugar, using your hands (my preference for a slightly chunkier topping) or a food processor or stand mixer till all the butter is incorporated. Stir flour, oats and cinnamon together and mix well with the butter/sugar. Set aside.
Prepare the bottom crust and refrigerate while preparing the apples. Preheat oven to 425°F.
Toss the cinnamon and instant clear jel with the sugar, then mix into the apples till they’re evenly coated. Turn out into the chilled pie crust and cover with crumb topping. Turn oven down to 350°F and bake until fruit is soft and juices begin to run, about 1 hour. Watch carefully during the last half of baking and cover with foil if necessary to prevent the topping from burning.