Why spend all that time rolling and chilling pie dough, when you can make apple pie with a graham cracker crust instead?! I’m serious!
This scrumptious spin on a classic dessert is made with homemade apple pie filling and baked inside of a toasty graham cracker crust. To top everything off-literally- we cover the whole top of the pie with a buttery, sweet, cinnamon streusel. To die for.
Reading: Apple pie with graham cracker crust
This pie is warm, rich, spicy, and sweet. It’s all the parts we love about fall baking with half the work!
Here’s how we make it:
How to make apple pie with a graham cracker crust
Makes one 9″ or 10″ pie
Ingredients You’ll Need:
For the Crust:
- 14 honey graham cracker sheets
- 7 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 whole egg
For The Crumble Topping:
- ½ cup of all purpose flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed
For The Apple Pie Filling:
- 2 to 2 ½ pounds of apples, about 6-8 small/medium apples (see below for recommended apples)
- 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon of all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon butter, cubed
Preheat the oven to 350º.
Lightly spray a 9″ or 10″ pie plate with cooking spray. If using a premade graham cracker crust, skip ahead to the crumble topping portion.
In the bowl of a food processor, add the graham crackers and sugar and process until the crackers are almost completely ground.
Add the melted butter and pulse until the cracker crumbs are ground fine and the mixture is evenly moistened and clumping.
Pour the crumbs into the pie plate and press into a compact and even layer. Use a glass to help tamp down the crust. Press the graham crackers up the side of the pie plate as well, packing the crumbs together as tightly and evenly as possible.
Pop the pie plate in the freezer for 10 minutes until firm. While the pie crust firms up, make the crumb topping.
To Make the Crumb Topping
Combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl and mix well.
Add the cubed butter and work it into the dry mixture with your fingers. You want to make sure the butter is incorporated throughout the dry ingredients and begins clumping together.
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Continue to work the butter into the ingredients until large clumps begin to form. Once the topping is clumpy, pop it into the fridge until baking time.
Bake The Crust
In a small dish, beat the egg.
Remove the pie crust from the freezer or simply grab your premade graham cracker crust.
Use a pastry brush to brush the beaten egg on the inside bottom of the graham cracker crust. You won’t use all of the egg, that’s ok.
Make sure the egg layer coats the bottom, but do not saturate it. You want a thin, even layer.
Bake a homemade graham cracker crust in a 350º oven for 10-12 minutes and a bake store bought crust at 350º for 5-7 minutes. You want the crust just beginning to turn brown and the egg layer cooked.
Make the Apple Pie Filling and Assembly
While the crust bakes, peel, core, and slice the apples into ½” thick slices and add to a large bowl.
Add the sugar, cinnamon, flour, lemon juice, and butter cubes to the apple slices. Toss until evenly coated and the cubes of butter are well distributed.
Add the apple mixture to the baked crust. Do this carefully, trying not to disturb the sides or top of the crust.
The apples will mound up higher than the pie crust and plate-that’s what you want. They’ll cook down significantly during the baking process.
Add the streusel topping to the top of the apples. Make sure that the topping and graham cracker crust meet each other in the pan. You want them to sort of fuse together while baking.
Place the overfilled pie plate on a sheet pan (in case it bubbles over) and place it in the oven.
Bake at 350º for 55-65 minutes until the pie is bubbling and the apples are tender when pierced with a knife.
Allow the pie to cool completely before serving.
What Apples Should you Use?
Here’s a quick list of apple varieties that work well for pies:
- Golden Delicious
- Granny Smiths
- Pink Ladies
- Honey Crisps and Braeburns are great too. I’d pair these with one Granny Smith or extra lemon juice to offset the sweetness a touch
If you have soft apples on hand, like McIntosh or Galas, try pairing them with a couple of Granny Smiths for structure and tartness.
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I found that two medium sized Granny Smith apples and 4-5 juicy/soft apples-such as McIntosh- are my favorite apple pie combo.
As the pie bakes, the softer apples will give off enough juice to create a lovely sauce. This not only tastes amazing, but it also helps to glue the walls of the graham cracker crust into place, allowing for easy slicing.
If you want to learn more about apple varieties, I found two really great articles at Bon Appetit and Epicurious.
How do you bind a graham cracker crust?
We bind this graham cracker crust by using a combination of butter and granulated sugar.
The generous amount of butter will moisten the crumbs enough so that they can be packed down nice and tight in the pie dish. During the baking process, the added sugar will melt and act like glue, keeping all the graham cracker crumbs together.
As an extra precaution, we egg wash the inside of the graham cracker crust to create a moisture barrier and help prevent the bottom crust from disintegrating under the apple pie filling. This will allow for some nice slices at serving time.
Storing Your Pie
This apple pie can be covered and stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Over time the graham cracker crust will begin to soften as the apple pie filling releases more juice. This pie is best eaten within 1-2 days after baking.
Shortcuts and make ahead
If you’re short on time, you can totally use a ready made graham cracker crust! You will still need to brush the inside of the crust with the egg wash and bake for 5-7 minutes.
If you’re going the homemade crust route, the graham cracker crust can be made days in advance and kept in the freezer until ready to use. When you’re ready to make a pie, brush the frozen crust with the egg wash and bake 10-12 minutes per the recipe.
The streusel topping can be made ahead as well! Simply prepare the streusel fully and store it in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.
You can even prep your apples 1-2 days ahead of time! That’s right, peel them up, slice them and store them in a Ziploc bag in the fridge. FYI-they will turn brown, but that’s totally fine. It has no impact on the flavor or the texture of the pie, and let’s face f4vn.com’re going to turn brown with all the cinnamon anyway.
But if you’re just not into brown apples, you can soak them in water with a little lemon juice, and store them in the fridge. Make sure to dry your apples before baking them!
Tips for making the best apple pie with a graham cracker crust
It might sound a little tricky, given the fact that apples release so much liquid, but during the testing process, the graham cracker crust held up impressively well to the juicy filling of the apples.
The warmth and nuttiness of the graham cracker flavor compliment the cinnamon apple filling beautifully. Apple pie is the perfect way to use a graham cracker crust! And let’s not forget that crumble f4vn.com’s a match made in Heaven.
Below are some tips I picked up along the way to make the best pie, with a crust that holds together beautifully, and a sweet and perfectly done filling:
- Peel your apples. No one wants apple peels in their pie, it throws off the whole texture
- Use a combination of crisp, tart apples and soft apples. This contrast in texture and flavor makes a delcious, bubbly sauce (without adding gobs of extra sugar) and it creates a really nice structure to the pie.
- Make sure the juices are bubbling when you take the pie out of the oven. The juices create a really lovely sauce in the pie filling that not only tastes amazing, but it also helps keep the crust from breaking when sliced!
- Mound the pie plate high. The apples cook down quite a bit, so you want to use more apples than you think you need. You don’t want the final dish to look under filled at the end.
- Brush the inside of the graham cracker crust with egg. This helps tremendously with keeping the bottom crust from getting too soggy and disintegrating after baking.
Other Recipes You Might Love
Apple Crisp With Oat Crumble
Mom’s From Scratch Apple Pie
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