Make a classic Dutch Apple Pie with a flaky and buttery crust, sliced crisp apples, and buttery cinnamon crumble topping for the holidays, and you'll be sure to please every guest at your party. Make ahead, Vegan + Gluten-free options.
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This show-stopping apple pie is a family tradition at my house that I created in vision of what I believe my Grandma would make if she was an avid baker---hence why it's called Grandma’s Dutch Apple Pie. Haha. With a stacked layer of mixed Granny Smith + Gala apples, plenty of warming spices, and a deliciously buttery crust and crumble topping, there's no going wrong with a good old-fashioned Dutch apple pie. I can't wait to hear what you and your family think of the recipe!
Besides, I can't get enough of apple season and I've been finding myself indulging in this Salted Caramel Apple Crisp more times than I'd like to admit. It's definitely one of my go-to's, especially during our family movie nights and hangout moments. If you haven't tried it yet, I highly recommend!
The best thing about this apple pie is that it tastes amazing whether you choose to make a homemade pie crust or use a really high-quality store-bought one. While I haven't tried it with the Graham Cracker crust from the store, I really love making this quickly with a frozen pie crust from Whole Foods. Either way, you'll enjoy!
What is Dutch Apple Pie?
The difference between regular apple pie and Dutch apple pie is the crust. A traditional apple pie has two crusts. But a Dutch pie has one pie crust on the bottom and a crisp crumbling topping on top. Some Dutch apple pie recipes call for sour cream in the filling to add some tang. However, this recipe has a dairy-free filling that's heavy on the apples. 'Tis the season, after all!
Ingredients for Grandma’s Dutch Apple Pie
You'll make three components for this holiday apple dutch pie: the crust, the apple filling, and the crumble topping.
Here's what you need for a flaky and buttery classic pie crust:
All-purpose flour. I use organic flour from Bob's Red Mill
Cane sure. Choose organic, if possible.
Unsalted Butter. Make sure your butter is VERY cold and cut into cubes (or grated) so your pie gets really flaky. For the vegan option, sub with vegan butter.
Almond milk. You can use regular milk or another dairy-free option.
Apple cider vinegar. A little acidity really helps to create a beautiful crust. You can also sub with lemon juice.
While the pie crust is chilling, you can make the simple spiced apple filling using these ingredients:
Apples. I love using Granny Smith, Gala and/or Honeycrisp apples for best results. However, you can only use one type of apple, if preferred.
Cane Sugar. Make sure it’s organic, especially for the vegan option.
Arrowroot starch. This is a gluten-free thickener. You can also use cornstarch or all-purpose flour.
Unsalted butter. No need to have the butter at room temperature. You can take it right out the fridge if needed because you’ll be cutting it into small pieces to tuck in between your apples in the filling. For the vegan option, sub with vegan butter.
Vanilla. Another important flavor boost to this pie.
Spices (Cinnamon, Allspice, Cloves, + Nutmeg). For warming fall flavor.
Dutch Apple Pie Crumble Topping
Finally, make the crumbly topping for your apple pie. You'll need:
Flour. I use all-purpose flour for the creation of the topping. For the gluten-free option, use a high-quality GF flour from Bob's Red Mill or King Arthur.
Brown Sugar. Make sure it’s organic for vegan.
Thick Cut Rolled Oats. Choose gluten-free if necessary.
Unsalted butter. No need to have the butter at room temperature. You can take it right out the fridge if needed because you’ll be partially melting it. For the vegan option, sub with vegan butter.
Why You’ll Love This Grandma’s Dutch Apple Pie
It's very easy to whip together and uses minimal staple ingredients.
Ready in about an hour (minus chill time + cooling) and WORTH THE WAIT.
Warm and comforting sweetness + spices with every bite.
Comes with a vegan + gluten-free option for those with a gluten sensitivity or restriction to animal products.
Perfectly sliced apples that are ultra tender and soft when baked.
Nicely crisp-like topping made from brown sugar, flour, + oats.
Makes for the perfect sweet treat for the entire family, especially during the holidays!
How to Best Serve Dutch Apple Pie
Serve generous slices of your homemade Dutch Apple Pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream on top for a simple fix. Some people even like their pie with a slice of cheddar cheese for a sweet and savory combination. However, here are other awesome ways to serve or switch things up for your apple pie:
You can make this easy crust super quickly by using a food processor if preferred. Just remember not to overwork the dough or add all of the liquid (milk or water) at once. Pulse the dough just a few times, until it comes together and you can pinch pieces together. If your pie crust is too dry, add ice-cold water or very cold milk, a tablespoon at a time, until it comes together.
Tips For Making the Flakiest Pie Crust
The butter is SUPER important. When it comes to the butter, ensuring that they are COLD and of course from a great brand is key! Of course, you can also use salted butter and omit the actual salt, if you'd like.
Adding Shortening works too! Although I tend to use butter alone, adding shortening or lard adds great wonders as well. All you need is half shortening and half butter.
Fridge time is an important time! Chilling your dough for an hour at a minimum is so imperative to a flaky crust. Even slightly longer makes for a great advantage.
Your flours matter, big time! While different brands of flour hydrate differently (causing a slightly different result), ensuring that you mix in all-purpose flour with pastry flour is also just as important. Believe it or not, pastry flour makes a difference and serves a greater purpose!
SLOWLY pour in water (or milk), don’t dump it! Gently pouring in the water/milk-ACV mixture is so imperative. I pour ¼ cup at a time and work the dough with my hands to eyeball how wet or dry everything is.
The dough can be made in advance, too. If making your crust ahead, you can always store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. No longer!
Not too Thick or Thin. Ensuring that you roll out a good enough crust is of course a must. Most go by the rule of thumb being ⅛ of an inch thickness or even slightly thicker. This helps your crust to the perfect thickness to carry the weight of your filling without compromising flakiness.
Storing Leftover Grandma’s Dutch Apple Pie
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. For longer storage, keep the pie in the freezer for up to three months. Defrost the pie overnight in the fridge, then serve at room temperature or reheat in the microwave in 30-second intervals to serve warm. You can also reheat the entire pie in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until warmed through.
Can I Make this Grandma’s Dutch Apple Pie Vegan + Gluten-Free?
Absolutely! To make this pie vegan, simply substitute the butter with vegan butter and ensure that you use a dairy-free milk. See my Sweet Potato Pie recipe for the vegan crust ingredients.
To make the crust entirely gluten-free, simply substitute the flour with a great Gluten-Free flour option like Bob's Red Mill's GF 1-to-1 baking flour or All-purpose flour. If using any other flour, ensure that it has Xanthan Gum included or add 1 teaspoon in with any flour that doesn't. For the remaining ingredients, just make sure that you use arrowroot starch which is very GF-friendly.
Make-Ahead Dutch Apple Pie
Yes, you can certainly make this Grandma’s Dutch Apple Pie ahead of time. It’s even better if you make the pie the day before. Simply wrap the pie in plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge. A few hours before you plan to serve the pie, place it on the counter and serve at room temperature. Of course, you can always make the crust (and storing it in the fridge) about 2 days prior to making the actual pie.
In a measuring cup, add the milk and apple cider vinegar, stir and set aside.
In a large bowl, add the all-purpose flour, sea salt, cinnamon, and cane sugar, whisking them all together.
Add the cubed or grated butter and using a pastry blender, blend butter into dry ingredients until the mixture becomes “peas-like” and crumbly.
Pour the cold apple cider vinegar-milk mixture (slowly) and stir (working it together with one hand) until the dry ingredients are moistened. NOTE: If the ingredients feels a little too dry, add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time, until it’s moistened BUT not too wet!
Once you’re able to form it into a ball and wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour (minimum), up to 1 and a half hours or of course overnight.
In the meantime, make the Pie Filling.
TO MAKE THE FILLING:
In a bowl, add the sliced apples, cane sugar, arrowroot, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, vanilla, and salt, stirring everything together until combined and the apples are completely coated.
TO MAKE THE CRUMBLE:
In a bowl, add the flour, oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon, stirring until combined. Add the partially melted butter and using a spatula, mix until combined and 'crumbly-like'.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a standard (9") pie dish with butter.
Remove dough ball from the refrigerator and place it onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out dough ball using a rolling pin (not making it too thin), about ½-inch thick and gently placing it in your pie dish; working it around evenly. Be sure to do any folding or tucking of any excess pie crust.
Once complete, poke tiny holes around the bottom of the crust using a fork, add parchment paper to the center of the crust and add "pie weights" atop it and pre-bake the crust for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven.
Spoon the coated apples into the center of the crust and re-arrange slices to fit until completely filled to the top of the crust. Tuck the pieces of cut butter in between the apples. Finally, top with crumble topping mixture until completely covered. Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until apple filling begins to bubble "out", and the crust + topping are golden brown.
Once done, remove from the the oven and let cool completely, about 1-2 hours. When cooled, place the pie in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving and slicing. NOTE: Overnight is best.
To serve, add whipped cream or your favorite ice cream and enjoy!
Tips & Tricks
STORAGE: Keep leftover pie tightly wrapped with heavy duty plastic wrap or foil and refrigerated for 3-4 days. Re-heat each slice when serving.
FLOUR: If you don’t have Pastry Flour available, simply substitute for All-Purpose Flour.
FOOD PROCESSOR FOR CRUST:If using a food processor to incorporate water to flour/butter mixture, ONLY ADD ¼ cup of water (or milk) AT A TIME to your dough, keeping it on “pulse” to avoid the dough from breaking down too much and it becoming “watery”. With this method, you may not need the entire ½ cup of water (or milk).
VEGAN OPTION: To make this pie vegan, simply substitute the butter with vegan butter and ensure that you use a dairy-free milk. See my Sweet Potato Pie recipe for the vegan crust ingredients.
GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: To make the crust entirely gluten-free, simply substitute the flour with a great Gluten-Free flour option like Bob's Red Mill's GF 1-to-1 baking flour or All-purpose flour. If using any other flour, ensure that it has Xanthan Gum included or add 1 teaspoon in with any flour that doesn't. For the remaining ingredients, just make sure that you use arrowroot starch which is very GF-friendly.
ARROWROOT: If you don’t have arrowroot starch, feel free to substitute with regular starch, tapioca flour, or all-purpose flour, which all act as a thickening agent.