"Crazy Crust" Pie is an easy and quick recipe if you want to make pie but without all the fuss! A simple batter forms a crust as it bakes in the oven; no rolling or chilling of pie dough required! This easy recipe for Crazy Crust Apple Pie includes a homemade brown sugar apple pie filling.
I love a good homemade fruit pie (who doesn't!). But, between making the pie dough, chilling it, rolling it out (and if you're like me, patching up all the torn edges), a lot of the time it feels like just too much effort. So, if you still want all the satisfaction of a homemade pie, you need to try "Crazy Crust" pie!
I hadn't heard anything about crazy crust pie until I started thumbing through my mom's old hand-typed cookbook from the '70s, which had a recipe for it. (I talk some more about my mom's family cookbook in this post for Thumbprint Cookies.) My mom mentioned the recipe in her cookbook originally came from Betty Crocker. Either way, the concept of "crazy crust" has been around for quite a while! But, in my opinion it is totally underrated.
What is "crazy crust pie"?
A simple batter is mixed up and poured into a pie dish. Then, fruit pie filling is added to the center (either store-bought or homemade). As the pie cooks, the batter around the outside puffs up and forms a crust around the fruit. It's kind of a cross between a cake, pie and cobbler, and it is so delicious. And, significantly easier than a pie. Even with homemade filling, the whole thing is ready in about 1 hour!
Because the crust is such a breeze to make, this frees up some more time and energy to make the homemade apple filling, which really makes this simple dessert shine! (Of course, I fully endorse taking a short-cut when you need or want to. If you want to use store-bought pie filling it will still taste amazing.)
I did make some changes from the recipe I found in my mom's old cookbook. For example, hers called for shortening, which I replaced with butter (I will find any reason to use butter!). And, the original recipe called for store-bought filling, which I replaced with an easy homemade brown sugar and cinnamon apple pie filling.
Here is everything you need to make my version of Crazy Crust Apple Pie with homemade filling:
- All-purpose flour
- Kosher salt
- Baking powder
- Unsalted butter
- Brown sugar: light or dark brown will work just fine. I had light brown in my pantry so that's what I used.
- Granulated sugar
- Water: can also use milk instead. My mom's original recipe called for water and I liked the results so I just stuck with that!
Apple filling ingredients
- Apples: use any kind you have, a firm apple is preferable over a soft and mealy type (I'm looking at you Red Delicious!). I had Fuji apples on hand so that's what I used this time. You will need 4 cups of sliced apples, which translates to about 3 large or 4 medium apples.
- Unsalted butter
- Brown sugar
- All-purpose flour: just a little bit to help the filling thicken up
- Kosher salt
Here are a couple quick tips on the crust portion of this recipe:
- If you didn't have time to let the butter sit at room temperature, use the microwave! Cut the butter into chunks and microwave it at 30% power for 15 second increments, stirring in between.
- The recipe calls for a room temperature egg, because a cold egg added to the warm butter and sugar can cause the batter to curdle (or "split"). This actually happened to me the first time I made this recipe. However, if this happens to you too please don't worry about it too much! That "curdled" batch I made still tasted excellent.
- To bring the egg up to temp quickly, you can place it in a cup of very warm water (just from the tap) while you make the filling.
- When adding the batter to the pie plate, I like to smush it up the sides just a tad, to make sure the crust forms a nice edge all around when it bakes.
Apple pie filling tips
First of all, unlike a lot of pie recipes that use raw apples, this filling is cooked in a pan before being added to the crust. Cooking the apples first gives better control over the moisture and thickness of the pie filling. (And it gives an excuse to saute the apples in butter, what other reason do you need?)
The most important thing for making the pie filling is to get the consistency right. Here's how to do that:
- The recipe for the apple pie filling calls for 1 - 2 tablespoons of flour. This is because different apples may release more or less juice. Start with 1 tablespoon, and sprinkle a little more until the pie filling is no longer watery but not overly stiff. To get a better idea, check out these before and after pictures:
- If you've overshot it and the filling is too thick, sprinkle in a few drops of water at a time and stir until it thins out again.
If you’ve tried this recipe for Crazy Crust Apple Pie, please let me know what you thought about it in the comments down below, I would love to hear from you! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to see more delicious recipes from Nibble and Dine!Print
The perfect dessert when you're craving pie but are short on time and energy! Mix up a simple batter and fill the center with homemade apple pie filling. As it bakes, the batter turns into a crust in the oven!
- 4 cups peeled, sliced apples (about ¾ inch thick slices)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch salt
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 - 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ cup water (can substitute milk)
Pre-step: preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Make the apple pie filling:
- Heat the 2 tablespoon butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Once melted, add the peeled, sliced apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and pinch salt. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the brown sugar is fully dissolved and the apples have released some moisture.
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour over the top of the apples and stir to evenly combine the flour with the apple filling. Cook, stirring frequently, for an additional 1 - 2 minutes, or until the apple pie filling has thickened. Turn the heat down if necessary to avoid the sugar burning.
- If the filling is still watery, add up to an additional 1 tablespoon of flour and cook for an additional minute, stirring frequently. (Mine took about 1 and ¾ tablespoon to properly thicken - for a visual reference of what the thickness of filling should look like, see the photo in the blog post.)
- Turn the heat off and set the pan aside.
Make the crust batter:
- Add the 10 tablespoon of softened butter, 2 tablespoon brown sugar and 2 tablespoon granulated sugar to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat with hand beaters or the whip attachment of a stand mixer on medium speed until evenly combined and slightly fluffy, about 1 minute.
- Add the egg and beat again until the mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds.
- Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat on low speed just for a few seconds to moisten the flour, then on medium speed until the flour is fully combined and the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute.
- While continuing to beat the mixture on medium speed, drizzle the water slowly into the batter and mix until smooth, about 1 minute.
Assemble and bake:
- Pour the batter into a greased 9 inch pie dish, making sure to spread the filling all the way out to the edges. Carefully spoon the apple pie filling into the center of the batter. If the fruit is mounded, gently smooth out the top, but do not stir. Leave 1 inch of batter around the edge of the dish (this is what will form the crust).
- Bake in the preheated oven for 35 - 40 minutes, or until the crust is deep golden brown (see note).
Check the progress of the pie during the last 5 - 10 minutes - if the apples are getting too dark but the crust isn't finished yet, you can tent the apples loosely with a piece of aluminum foil.
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