This is a recipe that I found on a hand-typed recipe card (as in, it was typed on a typewriter) tucked inside of one of my grandmother’s cookbooks. I definitely don’t recall my grandmother ever making it, but clearly she liked it enough to take the time to type out the recipe to preserve it, instead of simply jotting down the ingredients on the back of another recipe card as she often did. The pie is described as a dish that makes its own crust while it bakes, leaving you with a sturdy exterior around a center full of tender apples.
My recipe card gives instructions for using canned apple pie filling and fresh apples. I opted for the fresh apples myself, even though the canned apple filling is clearly easier and well in-line with the spirit of this quick-fix recipe. I combined my apples with brown sugar, cinnamon and allspice and set them aside while I prepared the batter for the crust. The batter is just that: a batter. It looks more like something you would pour into a cake pan than a pie plate, but I encourage you to stick with it despite the unusual method! I used butter, instead of the recommended shortening, so that my crust would have a hint of butter similar to the all-butter pie crusts that I typically make for apple pie.
The finished pie looks beautiful, if nontraditional, and has a lovely golden brown finish to it. It is much more like an apple cobbler or a cake than a pie in terms of its texture, but that doesn’t stop it from being delicious. The “crust” is tender and not too sweet, so it really showcases the apple filling quite well and the natural sweetness of the apples really shines through. Cut the apples thinly when you are preparing them so they have enough time to tenderize while they are in the oven. The cake-like interior holding the fruit in place is moist and tender, catching all of the juice from the apples as they bake.
You might not think that this would slice well, but it holds together nicely and can be sliced like a “regular” apple pie for serving. Unlike regular apple pies, you don’t need to wait for this one to cool completely before you can serve it. It tastes great warm and you can start cutting slices just a few minutes out of the oven. The pie is also tasty at room temperature, and leftovers can be reheated for a few seconds in the microwave if you want to warm them up. This pie is much better suited for a sweeter apple, like a fuji, than a tart granny smith. If you are using very tart apples, you might want to consider using more sugar for the apple mixture to balance out the flavors there.
Crazy Crust Apple Pie
2-3 large apples (2 1/2 cups, sliced)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 large egg
3/4 cup water
Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease a 9 or 10-inch pie pan.
Make the filling: Peel and core the apples. Cut into 1/4-inch thick slices (about 2 1/2 cups total, sliced) and transfer to a large bowl. Add cinnamon, allspice, vanilla extract, brown sugar and flour to the apples and toss to coat. Set aside.
Make the “crust“: In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add butter and mix in at low speed until mixture is sandy.
In a small bowl, whisk together egg and water. Pour into flour mixture and mix until ingredients are just combined. Beat batter for 1 minute at medium speed. Batter will resemble pancake batter. Pour into prepared pie pan.
Pour the apple filling mixture into the center of the batter.
Bake for about 40 minutes, until the pie is dark golden brown.
Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing. Pie can be served warm or at room temperature