Apple Berry Crumb Pie

by Jeff Berkowitz on April 4, 2011 · 0 comments

in Desserts,Fruit,raspberries

Post image for Apple Berry Crumb Pie

James Beard referred to them as crumb pie, but a more familiar name might be Crisp; we have all heard of apple crisp (if you haven’t please contact me right away). Crisps, crumb pies or crumbles are all crustless fruit pies (with the exception of rhubarb which isn’t a fruit but  makes a nice pie); that is, that the fruit is placed directly into a baking dish and a topping is applied and then baked. It is really quite remarkable…the smell of cinnamon and fruit wafting through the air…its so good it makes you want to hurt yourself!

For the most part the distinctions between the three are lost in antiquity (I always wanted to say that…sounds scholarly, doesn’t it?). The idea is that you are going to take some fruit (or rhubarb); throw it in a dish (sometimes a little sugar or seasonings help); make some crumbs with butter, sugar and flour (we also like to add oatmeal), more seasonings and sugar; top the fruit and bake. What could be easier? Wait…stop…hold the phone…we have a problem. Problem – what problem – it’s simple. Nope…I’m sure there is a problem. Ok – what is it? Do we melt the butter or keep it cold when we mix it with the other ingredients? Oh – I see – that is a bit of a sticky wicket (a what? what the hell is a sticky wicket and do I really want to know?)

Well, of course, the answer is…yes! There are many who would kill their kin to defend the honor of the “melt the butter” camp or the “keep the butter cold ” camp. It all depends on the results you are after; keeping the butter whole makes a lighter texture (flakier) product where melting the butter so it can be absorbed by the flour and sugar makes a more densely packed texture and often a crisper product or harder to bite might be a better way to say it. In either case they are both good and you should try both at some point to see which you like. In my wife’s house…we keep the butter cold and work it in – gently but quickly; to make a nice crumb with some definite lumps of butter (not too big, mind you) to produce a crust that is almost layered – crispy – crunchy and wonderful.

Perfectly Mixed Crumb Topping

The recipe is adapted from the King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook page 310 with some obvious influence from James  Beard’s American Cookery (mostly because everything we cook is influenced by that lofty tome {another scholarly sounding word}).


The Ingredients For Today's Experiment

Usually serves 4, but that depends on how generous you are 😉

2 good cooking apples (such as Granny Smith, we used Gala apples this time, they were great!) peeled, cored and sliced

2 tsp sugar (for the apples)

6 oz container of raspberries, washed

6 oz container of blackberries, washed

Fruit In The Dish


1 cup brown sugar

¾ cup unbleached flour

¾ cup good rolled oats (old fashioned will do but we like thick rolled oats from one of those fancy mills…use what you like)

½ tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground allspice

½ cup unsalted butter (don’t use margarine), diced

The Fruit Is Topped

Set your oven to 375°F.  Peel, core and slice the apples and wash the berries. Toss the apples with 2 tsp of sugar (and a pinch of extra cinnamon if you so desired). Combine all of the dry ingredients and work the butter in with your fingers. Work quickly so as not to melt the butter and work until you have a crumby texture with some obvious pieces of butter still left in the mixture. Mix the fruit together and place in the bottom of an oven proof dish. Top with the crumbs and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool slightly and serve with whipped cream or ice cream or both as you see fit. Enjoy!

Dessert Is Ready

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