Apple pie is known for its syrupy sweet flavor, a flaky crust, with a good bite to the slices of the fruit held within. These three things are what often pop into one’s mind when the saying “As American as apple pie” is uttered. Maybe with a little red, white, and blue flag to go with it! But only one of those things must be involved for apple pie to be delicious, and that has solely to do with the apples chosen!
You see, apple pie doesn’t have to be glued together with a thick gelatinous glue of syrup. Just a little does the trick, I promise! A thin syrup made from the leftover apple peel, a stick of cinnamon, and ginger is all you really need to give some sweetness while maintaining that apple flavor and texture.
Which brings us back to the apples. Apple pie needs apples that are firm and can hold their shape after being baked. A red delicious apple may be truly delicious, but it will fall apart in the cooking process. Best to leave them to healthy raw snacks. Pie needs something with substance, and that’s why I like the use of three specific types.
These apples are chosen firstly for their ability to stay intact when baked for a long period of time, and secondly for their unique flavors. Granny Smith apples are my favorite apples. Their tart flavor and firm texture make them a staple in my home for snacking. The next is pink lady apples, which have a less tart flavor, more sweet, but still crisp and crunchy and oh so good for cooking. Fuji is the third of my trifecta of apple pie goodness for their ability to lend any extra sweetness that the other two might lack. Thinly sliced and tossed into a pie crust, and you’ve got the making for the perfect apple pie.
Speaking of crust, how about something a little different to the original apple pie? Something that is healthier, something that is actually less likely to fail, and still pairs so well with the taste of apple is what I decided to go with in this pie. Oatmeal is spiced and pressed into a pie tin as well as turned into a crumble topping with thin slices of almonds to make this pie dutch influenced too!
This is apple pie may truly be as “American as apple pie” in that it takes tradition and transforms it into something new!
Apple Pie with Oatmeal Crust and Almond Granola Topping
- 1 cup quick oats
- 1 ½ cup all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/3 cup olive oil plus 2 tablespoons if needed
- 2 Granny Smith apples
- 2 Pink Lady apples
- 2 Fuji apples
- 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 inch ginger root crushed
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 cup water divided
- 1 tablespoons vanilla
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/3 cup quick oats
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 375 Line a pie tin with aluminum foil.
In a bowl, stir together the oats, flour, ginger, cinnamon, salt, honey and olive oil into a clumpy mixture. Add the extra olive oil if the mixture is still too dry.
Turn the oatmeal mixture into the prepared pie tin and pat it into an even layer on the bottom and halfway up the sides of the tin.
Put the crust in the oven and let it bake 10-15 minutes or until it has just become just a little firm and very lightly browned around the edges.
Remove the crust from the oven and turn off the heat.
Wash the apples thoroughly and peel each before cutting them into quarters to remove the stem and core, reserving the peels. Cut each quarter apple into thin slices and place them into a bowl. Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice over the apple slices. Add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar to the bowl and toss the apple slices with them to coat them with the lemon juice and sugar. Set aside.
Put the apple peels into a saucepan with the ginger root, cinnamon stick, brown sugar, salt, and half of the water. Stir well and place the pan on the stove over medium heat. Let the apple peels cook down until soft and the juices and flavor from them have mixed well with the sugar water., approximately 20 minutes.
Arrange the apple slices in the pie crust while the syrup cooks down. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Remove the pan from the stove top and strain the liquid from the apple peels and spices, discarding them.
Add the rest of the water, cornstarch, and vanilla to the strained liquid and whisk well so there are no lumps. Pour it over the apple slices.
In another bowl or measuring cup, mix the oats, ginger, cinnamon, honey, and olive oil together. Add the almond slices and stir again. Sprinkle the crumble around the edges of the pie, working towards the center.
Bake the pie in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until the crumble and almond slices are browned and the filling has set.
Remove the pie from the oven and let cool about 20 minutes before removing it from the tin and removing the aluminum foil. Cut the pie into 8 pieces and serve.
- If you don’t want to remove the whole pie from the tin, skip the aluminum foil and just grease the inside of the pan with a little bit of oil or butter before adding the crust.
- Can’t find all of the different kinds of apples? Choose your favorite firm apple and use that! Don’t use a soft apple as they are likely to fall apart while cooking.
STEP ONE – PREHEAT THE OVEN AND MIX THE PIE CRUST
Turn the oven on to 375 F. Take a 9 inch pie tin or short cake pan and line it with aluminum foil.
Pour the oatmeal, flour, ground ginger and cinnamon, and salt into a bowl. Add the honey and olive oil and stir well to distribute everything evenly and make a sticky, clumpy mixture.
If it doesn’t clump well add a little more olive oil to the mix.
STEP TWO – FORM THE PIE CRUST
Pour the oatmeal mixture into the pie tin, wet your fingers with water so that oatmeal doesn’t stick to your fingers, and press the crust from the center outward in a thin even layer around the tin. As the crust gathers around the sides of the tin press the crust into the corners and up against the sides in a layer as thick as the bottom.
STEP THREE – BAKE THE CRUST
Bake the pie crust in the oven for 10-15 minutes. It’s done when the crust has become firm and very lightly browned around the edges.
Turn off the heat and remove the pie crust from the oven to let it cool while making the filling.
STEP FOUR – PREPARE THE APPLES
Wash the apples really well under cool water. Peel the apples with a paring knife and reserve the peels to the side for the syrup.
Cut the apples into quarters before cutting out the seeds and core to discard. Thinly slice each apple quarter and place them in a bowl.
Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice over the apples; this helps to prevent them from turning brown while waiting for the syrup to cook.
Add the 2 tablespoons brown sugar to the apples and toss them well to coat each slice. Set the apples aside.
STEP FIVE – MAKE THE APPLE SYRUP
Transfer the reserved apple peels, ginger root, cinnamon stick, sugar, salt, and half of the water into a saucepan and put it on the stove over medium heat.
Let the apple peels cook, stirring occasionally as they soften. They need to cook for about 20 minutes to infuse the water with the flavors from the spices, release the juices from the peels and to reduce the liquid just a little.
STEP SIX – FILL THE PIE CRUST AND PREHEAT OVEN
Transfer the apple slices to the pie crust and arrange them in layers on top of each other. For this pie, they are arranged in a circular pattern working from the outside in on each layer.
STEP SEVEN – STRAIN THE APPLE SYRUP
Turn off the heat and strain the apple syrup by pouring it through a sieve and into a large measuring cup. Discard the apple peels, cinnamon stick, and ginger left in the sieve.
Whisk in the extra water and cornstarch. Pour the leftover water into the cup with the syrup along with the cornstarch and vanilla. Whisk well to remove any lumps before pouring it over the apple pie in an even fashion.
STEP EIGHT – MAKE THE CRUMBLE
Mix the crumble by pouring the oats, ground ginger and cinnamon, honey, and olive oil into a large measuring cup or bowl and stir well to combine and make clumps, much like the pie crust but it doesn’t need to clump as much.
Stir in the sliced almonds and drop the crumble around the edges of the pie, working inward as you go.
STEP NINE – BAKE THE PIE
Transfer the filled pie to the oven and allow it to bake 45-50 minutes. It’s done when the crumble and almonds have been nicely browned on top and the filling has become firm but not hard.
STEP TEN – LET THE PIE COOL
Take the pie out of the oven and allow it to cool for about 20 minutes. With the edges of the foil, pull the pie out of the tin and peel the foil down from the sides, slip a spatula or wide long knife under each side to release the pie from the foil on the bottom and transfer it to a large plate or serving board.
Cut the pie into 8 equal slices and serve immediately.
This apple pie, with its oatmeal crust and subtle sweetness, is perfect for spring, early autumn, or for a light dessert after a heavy winter meal. It could even be one of those pies that could be turned from dessert to breakfast!
How do you like your apple pie? With a scoop of ice cream, warm, or cool? Let us know in the comments below!
Jen Miller is a former electrical engineer and product specialist with more than 20 years of product design and testing experience. She has designed more than 200 products for Fortune 500 companies, in fields ranging from home appliances to sports gear and outdoor equipment. She founded Jen Reviews to share her knowledge and critical eye for what makes consumers tick, and adopts a strict no-BS approach to help the reader filter through the maze of products and marketing hype out there. She writes regularly and has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, The Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and MindBodyGreen.