Experiments in tinkering and thought

Apple Recipes – The Lazy Apple Crumble

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After chopping about 20 lbs of apples, and experimenting with a few different recipes with apples, it was time to tackle the real deal – Apple pie.  Now, once the apples are chopped, the part of the pie that is the longest and the hardest to do by far, is the crust.

Pie dough is hard to make, the butter (or margarine) has to be added in slowly, it has to rest, and then rolling it out is usually a challenge as well.  In this case, due to the additional work required in making my own dough,  I am ashamed to say that I just used a storebought frozen pie crust.

Since most of the apple chopping was done previously, the only things left to do were to complete the filling, and make a crumble top for the pie.

The filling is very similar to that used for the apple turnovers. Since that was for breakfast and not dessert, it had to be less sweet, but here we can really let loose with the sugar.  It should be noted that as an ageing man (I’m not old, but my tastes are changing), I am starting to prefer less sweet desserts overall.  That being said, it was a bit too sweet for my taste.  First off, since there is more sugar in here, we can eliminate the baking soda that was meant to offset the acidity.  Next, I wanted to add something else to give it a bit of kick.  After a brief sampling of what I had available, I found that frangelico mixed very harmoniously with apple, so I added a splash of that.  Finally, I was making this to bring to my parents, and my dad loves raisins, so I added some.  In retrospect, I should have soaked them beforehand to get them nice and juicy.

I used a very simple recipe for the crumble top.  It consists of two parts oats to one part flour to one part sugar.  Once all that is mixed, you have to add one part fat (margarine in my case) in chunks, while mixing, the same way as when you make pie dough.  This crumble top just needs to be put on top before putting it in the oven.

In addition the the pie itself, I wanted to make some sauce to put on top of the pie.  I was thinking caramel, but with an apple twist.  I used the apple tea that I made from the apple peels.  I took about one cup of this and added two cups of sugar, then heated until It got thicker.   At this point, I kept part of it as it was, which made apple jelly,  with about half I then slowly added some cream, being careful not to curdle the cream, put it back on the head for a little while to yield a nice apple caramel.

One last thing, when I get apple crumble from Rockaberry (which is excellent, by the way), their pie crust has something like marshmallow in it, so I wanted to try that.  I ended up taking a few big marshmallows, cutting them, and putting them around the edge of the crust.  It turned out OK, not particularly good or bad.  It was basically just having roasted marshmallows around the crust, not fully the desired effect.

Recipe – Lazy Apple Crumble

Bottom crust: Store bought


  • 6 cups chopped apples
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  •  cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup frangelico
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • (1/4 cup raisins)


  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup margarine

Caramel sauce:

If using a frozen pie crust, take it out of the freezer to let it thaw.  Preheat the oven to 350F.

For the filling, add the sugar, frangelico and cinnamon to the chopped apples.  Wait 15 minutes, then add flour as necessary to get the liquid out of the bottom.  Ideally, you want to get as much of that juice into the pie for taste, but if it is too liquid it will make the pie soggy.  Since you are not trying to make a cake though, add only as much as necessary.  The filling is now done.

To prepare the crumble, mix the oats, flour, and sugar.  Take the margarine and add it to the flour mix in blocks while mixing.  It should form small clumps that will form the crumble we want when cooked.

Spoon the filling into the pie crust.  Spoon the crumble on top.

To prepare the caramel, dissolve the sugar in the apple extract and heat until it thickens to the consistency like hot honey (about 1 hour for me).  Remove from heat. Into 1/2 cup of cream, slowly add a bit of the sugary solution, while continually stirring.  Continue adding until you have added all of it.  Return to heat, and bring to a boil for 10-15 minutes.  Remove from heat and put on your pie once done.

2014-09-23 07.39.36 crop

The apple jelly. This is what happens if you do not add the cream. It is quite tasty.

Apple crumble

Apple pie with caramel Delicious apple pie topped with a drizzle of caramel sauce. All that is missing is a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

If you try it out, let me know how it turns out for you!

P.S. I need to start using a real camera rather than just using my phone…


Author: Tinker

I am finishing a PhD at Université de Montréal, following a bachelors in Biochemistry as well as a Masters degree in chemistry from McGill. I have many hobbies that are centered around experiments of some sort (either electronics, coding, cooking, construction, plants, acrobatics, etc.). I also have been doing tai chi for the last decade, and intermittently doing kung fu as well.

One thought on “Apple Recipes – The Lazy Apple Crumble

  1. Pingback: Apple Recipes – Spiced Apple Crisp | Tinker

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