Thursday, November 18, 2010

Brown butter apple crumble pie

When it comes to the cake vs. pie debate I abstain. They both have their place and I love them both. But when it comes to the pie vs. crumble debate I am hands down in the crumble camp. Yes, it may be more rustic and less technically challenging. But I love that the fruit is the star of the show combined with the sweet crispy topping.

Thanksgiving is about pie, and I have to admit I love to make pies, even if I prefer to eat crumbles. So, how do I deal with this cognitive dissonance - why crumble pie of course!

This recipe uses a precooked filling that adds layer of flavors. It also makes it so you can pack lots of apples in your pie, and I say the more fruit the better. It is perfect for a two crust pie, because it prevents the gap between the fruit and crust when the apples cook down. It also keeps the bottom crust crispy by reducing the liquid that releases from the apples when baking the pie.

The resulting flavor is still an apple pie, very apply, with a scent of vanilla and cinnamon - and a crumble topping. Well, if I can keep myself from snitching that crumble topping!  

Brown butter apple crumble pie


  • 1/2 cup brown rice, sorghum or millet flour or almond meal
  • 1/2 cup finely ground white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1/4 cup sweet rice flour
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 t kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks or grated
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 T ice cold water + more as needed

  1. Blend all the flours, sugar and salt together in a food processor.
  2. Pulse in the butter until the mixture resembles a course meal.
  3. Turn out to a bowl and add egg and 2 T water. Mix, add water as needed. This can be wetter than gluten filled dough because the only thing that will turn chewy here is the sweet rice flour. 
  4. Gather into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. 
  5. When ready to bake preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Remove the dough refrigerator. If it is too hard to roll out, allow it to sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. 
  7. Dust the top with rice flour and roll out on a lightly floured surface to a 12 inch circle (about 1/8 inch thick). While rolling, rotate the dough every few rolls to keep it from sticking. Add additional flour as needed. 
  8. Carefully place on to a 9-inch pie plate.
  9. Trim edges and crimp. Cool in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before baking.  

  • 6 TB butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 3 lbs tart cooking apples (I used pippins and a few fuji thrown in there)
  • 1 TB generous cinnamon
  • 2 t vanilla extract

  1. Combine butter, brown sugar and salt in a large dutch oven. 
  2. Cook over medium heat until the sugar and butter are molten and the foam subsides. The mixture will change from a sandy mixture to a more lava like mixture in about 3-5 minutes. 
  3. Add apples and cook for about 15-20 minutes until they are slightly softened and have released their juices. 
  4. Remove the apples, and add the cinnamon and vanilla. Reduce the liquid mixture until it is syrupy. 
  5. Add reduced syrup to apples, and cool completely before filling pie shell. 

Crumb Topping

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup fine rice flour
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t salt
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor, and pulse 6-8 times, until combined. 
  2. Sprinkle on top of pie just before baking. I like to press it together a bit as I sprinkle to make it a bit clumpy. 
  3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes until the crust is browned and the filling bubbly.


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  2. I love chewy gluten free desserts. Too much sweets is not healthy especially when it is not gluten free.