A Dutch apple pie with a perfectly cooked apple filling, flaky crust, and tons of crumble topping. Apple pie meets apple crisp for the best of both worlds. The quintessential fall dessert and the epitome of pie perfection!
Apple picking has begun, and my pie-loving heart is so happy! It is no secret that I love sky-high pies with all kinds of buttery crusts, crumbles, and streusel toppings. This recipe’s topping is so incredible it now outranks one from a favorite local bakery.
Of course this boasts a flaky, buttery base, soft and sweetened apples, a creamy filling, and those crumbs! Oh, those crumbs! It’s truly a pie lover’s dream and I am so excited to share it with you!
What Makes it “Dutch”?
The unique crumb topping of butter, sugar, and flour is what sets this dessert apart.
While traditional apple pie boasts a regular double crust (a crust on the bottom and a crust on top), a Dutch apple pie has a regular bottom crust, but a crumble topping.
Dutch apple pie has been recorded in recipe books as far back as the early 1500s, but eventually, it made its way to the northeastern U.S., where it is sometimes called Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Pie.
Why This is the BEST Dutch Apple Pie Recipe
- The best crust plus a foolproof method for blind baking gifts you a fantastic base on which to build the actual pie filling and topping.
- A combination of apples creates an amazing complexity in terms of both flavor and texture.
- Cooking the apple pie filling ensures that the apples won’t be too raw when the pie is finished, and also that all of the moisture is cooked out, eliminating a runny filling when the pie is sliced.
- The crumble topping is NOT skimpy! I love a hearty crumb topping and this pie is completely covered.
- Many components, plus the entire pie, can be made ahead!
The Pie Crust
For this pie, I use none other than my all-time favorite, hands-down best ever foolproof pie crust recipe. It uses an ingredient that surprises most people (vodka!), which creates less gluten development that using all water, and the alcohol vaporizes in the oven, which makes for a wonderfully flaky crust.
You’ll also see that I use my favorite method for blind baking the pie crust. This involves rolling out the crust and lining the pie plate immediately, then letting it chill for a couple of hours. Then, you’ll cover the pie dough with foil and fill it up the whole way with sugar, then do a partial bake in the oven, keeping it covered and weighted the entire time.
I was blown away the first time I tried this method and have used it exclusively since; it creates the most perfectly blind-baked crust!
The Apple Pie Filling
The Best Apples to Use
I prefer a mix of sweet and tart apples and recommend McIntosh and Granny Smith for this pie.
If you cannot find McIntosh apples, the following are good substitutes:
- Pink Lady
If you are working with mostly tart apples, you may want to add additional sugar.
This Dutch Apple pie recipe calls for you to peel, core, and quarter a total of nine apples – which may look like a lot! However, we are going to be cooking these down before baking, which helps us keep the bottom of the crust flaky and strong enough to hold the delicious filling and crumb!
To prepare the apples, you will peel them, quarter them, core them, and then slice them crosswise into ¼-inch slices (shorter slices make for cleaner slices of pie!)
We Cook the Filling!
Unlike a regular apple pie, where you toss fresh apples with sugar and spices then pile into the crust, the apple filling for a Dutch apple pie is first cooked on the stovetop with butter, sugar, and seasonings.
This accomplishes two important things:
- Cooking the apples first ensures that the moisture is cooked out prior to baking, which ensures a less runny filling (the worst when you bake a pie!).
- Doing this means that the pie doesn’t need a long baking time, just long enough to brown the crumble topping and not have it burn or overcook.
The Crumble Topping
I LOVE this crumb topping! It does not skimp on coverage and is just absolutely delicious. You simply whisk together flour, brown sugar, and white sugar, then stir in melted butter. It makes the BEST crumbs!
If you like extra crunch in your crumb topping, you could add about ¾ cup of chopped walnuts or pecans.
What Pie Pan to Use
First and foremost, you want to be sure you have a quality pie plate. Glass is great for fruit pies, as you can see exactly what your crust is up to!
I use and recommend a classic glass 9-inch Pyrex pie dish.
How to Make the Pie, Step-by-Step
A quick overview of how you will make and assemble this delicious pie!
- Make the Crust: I have a lot of detail you can read about the crust on the page for the foolproof pie crust and very detailed instructions for blind baking the pie crust on that dedicated page, as well, though you will still find full instructions for both below.
- Make the Filling: The sliced apples get tossed with sugar, cinnamon, and salt, and are sauteed in butter until the begin to soften. The cooked apples are transferred to a colander set over a bowl to drain. Once drained, the apples are added to the partially-baked pie crust.
- Cook the Juices: The reserved juice from the drained apples is combined with heavy cream in the pot and boiled until thickened. The mixture is then drizzled over the apples in the pie dish.
- Make the Crumble Topping: You mix together the flour and sugars, then stir in melted butter until everything is melted and holds together clumps. Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the top of the pie.
- BAKE! The pie only needs about 10 to 20 minutes in the oven since the filling is already cooked. We’re just looking to brown the topping and get that filling nice and bubbly.
- Cool and Serve: The pie will set up best if you hold off slicing it until it has cooled to room temperature, usually at least 2 hours.
Dutch Apple Pie Prep Tips + Make-Ahead Notes
This is an amazing recipe, but quick it is not. Buckle up for some kitchen time when you decide to make this. There is quite a bit of inactive and baking time, but if you plan to make it start-to-finish all at once then plan on at least 4 hours of time for this apple pie.
I promise those four hours go by quickly when your kitchen smells this good! However, I know that time can be hard to find, so here are some tips for getting ahead:
- The crust here can be made ahead of time, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerated for up to 2 days. It can also be wrapped tightly and put inside of a freezer bag, and stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Transfer to the refrigerator to thaw overnight before proceeding with the recipe.
- The crumble topping can be made up to 2 days in advance, covered, and refrigerated until ready to use.
- The pie can be baked, cooled, then stored at room temperature (tented loosely with foil) up to 1 day in advance. You can reheat briefly (10 minutes) at 375 degrees for a fresh-tasting pie.
Suggestions for Serving
If you ask me, pie is great every which way… warm, room temperature, chilled – any time!
This Dutch Apple pie is phenomenal fresh, right after it’s cooled, and you just HAVE to have it with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. Or whip up a quick batch of homemade whipped cream to dollop on top, OR drizzle with salted caramel sauce!
Though it likely won’t last long enough, leftovers will keep well for up to 2 days at room temperature lightly covered with foil.
Looking for more apple pies? I’ve got you covered!
If you make this Dutch apple pie recipe and love it, remember to stop back and give it a 5-star rating – it helps others find the recipe! ❤️️
Dutch Apple Pie Recipe
A Dutch apple pie with a perfectly cooked apple filling and tons of crumble topping. The perfect fall dessert!
- 1¼ cups (162 g) all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons (85 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch slices
- ¼ cup (46 g) vegetable shortening, chilled, cut into 2 pieces
- 2 tablespoons ice water
- 2 tablespoons vodka, chilled
- 5 large Granny Smith apples, about 2½ pounds
- 4 large McIntosh apples, about 2 pounds
- ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter
- ½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream
- 1¼ cups (162 g) all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup (71 g) light brown sugar
- ⅓ cup (66 g) granulated sugar
- 7 tablespoons (99 g) unsalted butter, melted
Make the Pie Crust: Process ¾ cups of the flour, the sugar, and salt together in a food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add the butter and shortening and process until a homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 7 to 10 seconds (the dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula and redistribute the dough evenly around the bowl. Add the remaining ½ cup flour and pulse until the mixture is evenly distributed around the bowl and the mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty the mixture into a medium bowl.
Sprinkle the vodka and water over the mixture. With a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix, pressing down on the dough until it is slightly tacky and sticks together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and bring it together with your hands, pressing it into a 6-inch round. Lightly flour the top and gently and quickly roll it out to a 13-inch circle, picking it up and doing a quarter turn after every couple of rolls to keep it from sticking.
Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate and gently press it into the bottom and up the sides. Trim the dough to 1 inch beyond the lip of the pie plate, then tuck it under itself so it is flush with the edge of the pie plate. Flute the edges or press with the tines of a fork, then refrigerate the dough-lined plate for at least 2 hours.
Blind Bake the Pie Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the chilled pie dough with aluminum foil and use granulated sugar to fill the whole pie plate. Bake for 40 minutes; remove the foil and sugar and place the crust on a wire rack while you make the filling.
Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F.
Make the Apple Filling: Peel, quarter, and core the apples; slice each quarter crosswise into pieces ¼ inch thick. Toss the apples, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl to combine. Heat the butter in a large Dutch oven (or pot) over high heat until foaming subsides; add the apples and toss to coat. Reduce the hat to medium-high and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the Granny Smith apple slices are tender and the McIntosh apple slices are softened and beginning to break down, about 10 minutes.
Set a large colander over a large bowl; transfer the cooked apples to the colander. Shake the colander and toss the apples to drain off as much juice as possible. Bring the drained juice and the cream to a boil in the now-empty Dutch oven over high heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and a wooden spoon leaves a trail in the mixture, about 5 minutes. Transfer the apples to the prebaked pie shell; pour the reduced juice mixture over and smooth with a rubber spatula.
Make the Streusel Topping: Combine the flour and sugars in a medium bowl; drizzle with the melted butter and toss with a fork until evenly moistened and the mixture forms many large chunks with pea-sized pieces mixed throughout. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the pie filling.
Bake the Pie: Set the pie plate on a baking sheet and bake until the streusel topping is deep golden brown, 10 to 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature and serve.
- Crust: Use the included crust or my all-butter pie crust.
- Make Crust by Hand: If you do not have a food processor, use this method to make the pie dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Scatter the shortening and butter over the dry ingredients and, using a pastry blender or your fingers, work the fat into the flour mixture until it looks like coarse sand. Then sprinkle the water over the mixture and use a fork to incorporate until it is evenly moistened and the dough will hold together when pinched between your fingers.
- Equipment: Pie plate / Food processor / Peeler / Colander
- Apples: A mix of sweet and tart apples is recommended, but any combination of apples will work!
- Serving Suggestions: Top the pie with Cinnamon Ice Cream, homemade whipped cream, or a drizzle of salted caramel sauce!
- Make-Ahead: The pie crust dough can be refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months. The par-baked pie crust can be cooled, wrapped in plastic, and refrigerated for 1 day or frozen for up to 3 months. The baked pie can be cooled completely, then refrigerated for 1 day prior to serving.
- Storage: You can store leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Freezing Instructions: You can freeze the unbaked pie by wrapping it in plastic wrap, then in foil, and placing it in a freezer bag.
- Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.
Nutritional values are based on one serving
Calories: 603kcal, Carbohydrates: 83g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Cholesterol: 69mg, Sodium: 163mg, Potassium: 284mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 46g, Vitamin A: 900IU, Vitamin C: 9.4mg, Calcium: 43mg, Iron: 2.1mg
[Photography by Dee of One Sarcastic Baker]