Here at W&B, a crisp edge to the early autumn air can mean only one thing, apples. Nothing says harvest feast better than a ten-pound Pennsylvania Dutch crumb apple pie. We stumbled across this award-winning recipe and can’t wait to try it ourselves.
Apple Crumb Pie
Travis Harhai paid close attention as he watched his maternal grandmother, Angeline Schultz of Acme, Pennsylvania, make her dutch apple pies from scratch. He explains it must be the recipe that makes them so good, because he hasn’t had much practice.
Friends and neighbors describe them as “piled high with fall’s favorite fruit under a sugary blanket of crispy crumb topping.” The best part is the “wonderfully flaky crust you can’t wait to dig into.”
Travis is convinced what makes the pies taste so special is the love handed down with the recipe for over three generations. A slice will go well with a nice glass of rye whiskey to sip, another product of Pennsylvania heritage.
The 30-year-old amateur baker has a day job repairing gas lines for PNG. He was stunned when his apple crumb creation took the first place prize at this year’s Westmoreland County Fair.”
“I couldn’t even put it into words,” Travis exclaims. The Mount Pleasant native banked a $100 prize check for his crumb covered efforts.
What really surprised him is he “only recently took up baking, and that he didn’t decide to enter the August 21 competition until the night before, after learning about it from his girlfriend, Ashlee.”
Warm apple pie
According to Travis, “I woke up at 5 a.m. that day and started peeling apples.” His entry went straight from oven to judges table “because everyone likes warm apple pie.”
The first time he tried his grandma’s recipe was “four years ago, for a friend’s dinner party, after lying about knowing how.” He says he “learned the hard way that it’s much better to use butter than margarine in the topping.”
He also now knows “that if you use too much water in the dough, you’ll have a hard time getting pretty crimped edges.” The whole key is the crumb topping. “If you can get that right, everything else tastes good afterwards.”
Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Crumb Pie
- Pastry blender
- Rolling Pin
- Pie pan 9 inch
- Cookie sheet
- 1 ¼ cups flour
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ⅓ cup vegetable shortening Plus 1 tablespoon. Chilled.
- ¼ cup cold water
- 10 each Granny Smith and/or McIntosh apples
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup sugar
- ¾ cup flour
- 6 Tbsp butter cut into chunks
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- In large bowl, combine dry ingredients.
- Cut in shortening using a pastry blender or until mixture is crumbly.
- Mix in water a tablespoon at a time to form dough. (It should hold together when pinched.)
- Shape into a ball, flatten with your palm into a disc, then roll out on a floured surface into a circle about 2 inches wider than the pie plate.
- Transfer dough to pie plate.
- Peel, core and slice apples, then place in a large bowl.
- Add dry ingredients and mix by hand until all apples are covered.
- Pour into pie crust. (It will look like a lot, but the apples will bake down.)
- Place sugar and flour into a medium bowl.
- Rub the butter into the mixture with your fingers until it’s crumbly.
- Pat crumble mixture on top of unbaked pie.
- Place pie on a cookie sheet (to capture any drippings)
- Bake for 60 minutes or until apples are completely soft when pierced with a knife.
- Transfer pie to a rack to cool completely.