Whole Grain Apple Crumb Pie with Buttermilk Crust & Thanks

Nov 21, 2011
This pie is cousin to the tart tatin, lover of the tart, delicate sister of the traditional apple pie or apple crumb cake.
It’s also what I created when all but three of the apples in my house were consumed by my children and cooked-fruit-loathing husband.
In terms of the buttermilk powder, let me explain…I was asked a few years back to write an article for a magazine about buttermilk and recipes involving buttermilk.  This was partially because those foods are so tasty and also because no matter how we plan, there always seems to be leftovers.  In light of those leftovers, I sometimes use buttermilk powder.  If this offends you, by all means buy the quart of buttermilk and check back here for what to do with the cup or so you have left.
And, as we’re addressing cooking concerns let me say again – I don’t judge what you eat or how you choose to cook.  This blog and my kitchen has mainly healthy food in it because that’s what I like to cook and how I take care of myself and my family.  However, sometimes in my life and on this blog, I eat bacon!  I might have fried Twinkie at the state fair!  I had deep fried grits in New Orleans two weeks ago and they were awesome.  So in this pie-tart-tatin I used a bit of shortening for flake…how’s that for a kitchen confessional?
This time of year I am thankful for so many people and graces and foods and family but I am also grateful that I choose to live my life as not too this, not too that, no label needed, just what’s right and good and in moderation.
What are you thankful for?  What traditions are you passing on to your kids or nieces or neighbors?  What food do you carry with you from childhood (in memory, not for real, because that’d be very crusty)?  I don’t mourn the loss of the mold-colored Jello mold Grandma Bev made.  It wobbled and looked worrying like something that needed to be diagnosed.  And I cherish the memory of coming to the table as a kid and finding my mom had – as always – put out foil wrapped chocolate turkeys which my brothers and I would promptly behead.
This is the first year I’m serving this pie.  Might be the only year or it might turn into the “we always had that” dessert.  We’ll see.

Whole Grain Apple Crumb Pie with Buttermilk Crust

Pie Filling

3 large apples (Honeycrisp, Cortland, Macoun, etc)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 tbsp buttermilk powder

1 tbsp butter

2 tbsp cornstarch or tapioca

1 tbsp buttermilk powder (or buttermilk)

1 tbsp water (omit if using buttermilk)

1/3 cup dried cranberries (optional)

Peel and core the apples and slice thinly (about 1/8 inch thick). Mix cornstarch or tapioca with water (or use buttermilk) and make into paste. Pour over apples. Add rest of ingredients to apples and heat for 2 minutes in microwave or on the stove for 5-8 minutes in a small pot, covered. Mix well.

Buttermilk Whole Grain Crust

8 tbsp cold, cubed butter (use may also use 4 tbs butter, 4 tbs vegetable shortening)

2/3 cup plus 2 tbsp whole wheat flour

2/3 flour of your choice - spelt, sorghum, brown rice

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp buttermilk powder

~5 tbsp cold water (you may use buttermilk instead of water and omit powder)

Combine all ingredients except water - use your hands or pulse in processor until the texture is like heavy sand. Add water (or buttermilk) bit by bit until you can form the dough into a ball. Pat into a somewhat flat disc. Wrap in parchment or plastic wrap and freeze for 10 minutes (you may also stick in the fridge for 1 or 2 days).

Crumb Topping

1/3 cups rolled oats

1/3 cup flour of your choice (brown rice, sorghum, spelt, wheat)

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp butter

Combine all items with your hands or in processor, pulsing until texture is that of sand. Set aside.

To assemble pie:

Oven to 450. Remove crust from freezer and roll out on floured surface. Fit crust into pie plate or tart tin. Drain filling ingredients and spread evenly into crust. Sprinkle crumb topping over the pie. If you have crust leftover (again with the leftover buttermilk!), cut into shapes and place on top of crumb. If this is just hopelessly twee in your eyes, then don't. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes and then turn oven to 350 and bake for 35 minutes more. Let cool slightly and serve with ice cream or plain cream or let cool entirely and serve room temperature.


  1. debbie koenig
    November 21, 2011

    I *knew* there was a reason I loved you so: My husband is another cooked-fruit-hater. Damn him. And I’m with you on the buttermilk powder, too.

  2. EmilyFranklin
    November 21, 2011

    Deb – let’s have a cooked-fruit meal just us, then. With lots of kale to eat (kids can fling it around the room or drape on face as anti-oxident mask). Here’s to a week of pies!