Caramel Apple Crumble Pie
I almost didn’t make this pie.
But it took me all of five minutes to put it together and I’m so glad I did.
I was working in the kitchen Thanksgiving morning and realized that the pumpkin dessert I had made a few days before the holiday somehow all had been eaten. Hmmm, how did that happen. I was out of pumpkin puree because I used my last can to bake a pumpkin pie for Skylar’s school’s Thanksgiving celebration, held the day before.
I looked in my cupboard and saw a can of apple pie filling and figured I could do something with it. I was going to make Caramel Apple Bars but remembered the frozen pie crust I used for the pumpkin pie was sold in a two-pack and I had a spare pie crust in the freezer waiting. Some girls have all the luck.
In literally three minutes, I made the pie filling by melting one half stick of butter, and then added brown and granulated sugar, one egg, vanilla, cinnamon, and pinches of allspice, ground cloves and whisked. I made sure to use the spices in enough quantity so that they’d pop and complement the dish, rather than just getting lost. If you don’t tend to keep allspice or cloves around, add extra cinnamon; or try ground ginger or pumpkin pie spice.
Then I added flour, oats, and gently stirred in the apple pie filling. I enjoy the heartiness, chewiness, and texture that oats lend to apple crumbles and my goal for this pie was to be more like an apple crumble than just another plain old apple pie. There was nothing plain about this.
I poured the filling into the frozen crust straight from the freezer without even thawing it, and filled it right up to the brim. I placed the pie plate on a baking sheet as insurance against overflow, and baked it.
The filling domed and puffed a bit while baking, and for a minute I was a bit worried it may overflow, but all was well. As the pie cooled, the filling relaxed and sank down, leaving behind rich density and fullness with each bite.
For the almost one hour that the pie baked, my house smelled like a bakery from the pie crust and oats, as well as a fragrant apple orchard. And the cinnamon-sugar and buttery caramely scents wafting were aromatherapy torture because all I wanted to do was dive into my oven.
Between the flour and oats, brown sugar and cinnamon, I got my wish for apple-pie-meets-apple-crumble. It has apple crumble tendencies with streusel-like texture and warm cinnamon-sugar notes, yet it’s all contained in a neat and tidy pie crust package, perfect to catch the sweet juices released from the apples as they bake.
Caramel and apples is a perfect pairing and for me, the more caramel, the merrier. Two dimensions of caramel are present. First, the butter and brown sugar in the filling caramelize while baking, giving a depth of flavor that reminds me of one of favorite frostings of all time, this Vanilla Caramel Glaze. Then, prior to serving, I drizzled caramel sauce over the top for an extra boost of sweet buttery caramel intensity.
Homemade Dark Rum Caramel Sauce would have been heavenly, as would have Vanilla Caramel Glaze, but I was pressed for time on a busy Thanksgiving day morning in the kitchen. I used Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel Caramel sauce, with no complaints.
If you ever need a quick pie to make, with less than five minutes of active work time, that yields luscious and rich results, this is the one.
You could of course make your own pie crust, peel and core your own apples for the filling, but on a day about giving thanks and being thankful, I was grateful that I pulled this off on the fly. Often times its the things I make without a recipe, and just on a whim, that end up being our favorites.
Scott is an ice cream fanatic and prior to serving his slice, I added some vanilla ice cream to accompany it because for him everything is better a la mode.
For me, everything is better with more crumble topping and more caramel sauce and I adored every texture-filled, sweet, buttery, and caramel-loaded bite.
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted (half of one stick)
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar, loosely measured
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup whole rolled old-fashioned oats (not quick cook or instant)
- one 21-ounce can apple pie filling (I used Comstock More Fruit Cinnamon 'n Spice Apple filling)
- one 9-inch frozen pie crust (or make your own using your favorite recipe)
- caramel sauce, caramel ice cream topping. Dark Rum Caramel Sauce or Vanilla Caramel Glaze, optional but recommended for drizzling
- ice cream or whipped topping, optional
- Preheat oven to 350F. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power. Allow the butter to cool momentarily so you don't scramble the egg; then add the egg, sugars, vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, salt, and whisk to combine until batter is smooth (All spices and salt should be added to taste and use what you have on hand; omitting what you don't have and mixing and matching with other spices such as ginger or pumpkin pie spice is okay).
- Add the flour, oats, and stir to incorporate. Fold in the apple pie filling. Pour filling mixture into frozen pie crust (I didn't bother pre-thawing it) and lightly smooth filling with a spatula. It's okay to fill pie crust up nearly to the brim; I did and it did not overflow. As insurance, place pie crust on a baking tray so if it does overflow a bit, it won't pool in the bottom of the oven. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until top has just set and is not jiggly, and is golden. I baked mine for about 54 minutes and when I took it out of the oven, the filling had risen and was a bit domed and puffed, and as pie cooled, the dome sank and it flattened out. Allow pie to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Prior to serving, optionally drizzle with caramel sauce or serve with ice cream.
- Pie should be kept covered and will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days; I prefer refrigerating it rather than keeping it at room temperature and I store my pie inside a large two-gallon sized plastic food storage bag in the refrigerator.
Spiced Apple and Banana Bundt Cake with Vanilla Caramel Glaze – Apples and bananas, baked together in a fast and easy cake and the glaze is my favorite frosting or glaze recipe on my entire blog, so full of richness and depth of flavor. I love it and could happily eat it by the spoonful
Caramel Apple Bars (GF with vegan adaptation) – Caramely, gooey, and the chunky apples pieces and oats give great chewiness and texture, while the brown sugar enhances the caramel notes
Caramel Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars (GF with Vegan adaptation) – Peanut butter and jelly, with a bit of caramel sauce and loads of crumbly pieces, make these bars irresistible. They’re one of Scott’s favorites, and mine too
Spiced Apple Pie Smoothie (vegan, GF) – A creamy and easy way to drink your apple pie rather than chew it
Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze – For crumble or streusel topping fans, this cake has an abundance and there’s plenty of robust cinnamon-sugar flavor. An easy-to-make cake that tastes like a cinnamon roll and is ready from start to finish in one hour
What are your favorite pies to make or eat?
Crumble topping fan? Caramel lover?
Feel free to link up your favorite recipes.
So often people are intimidated with pies or cakes, thinking they’re difficult and time consuming, and although they can be, the kind I make are as easy as…pie.