It’s apple season, and what better way to celebrate than with everyone’s fall favorite, apple pie. For this installment of Baking Together, I thought we’d make a pie that’s doable for any baker, novice or experienced. You could make this Classic Apple Crumb Pie today, make one for Thanksgiving, or make one for a holiday breakfast! Sure it takes a little time to make a pie, but this one only has a bottom crust, which makes things a little easier. The delicious topping of cinnamon-brown sugar crumbles is super simple to make.  And the filling bakes up with the perfect texture since it pairs firm-tart apples with just the right combination of cinnamon, sugar, and a little flour to hold together all those luscious juices. A slice or two of this pie is just about the perfect way to end — or begin — a day.

Pie is a great destination for firm-crisp, slightly tart apples. Granny Smith is a classic, but other tart baking apples include Arkansas Black, Newtown Pippin, Northern Spy, Roxbury Russet, and Stayman Winesap. Firm apples that are a bit sweeter, like Golden Delicious, Baldwin, or Jonagold, are also fine to mix in, but leave out the tender eating apples like Gala, Fuji, McIntosh or Empire. Those will lose their shape and texture when baked, while firm apples will retain their shape and deliver a meaty texture and a big apple-y flavor in every bite.

I’ve given you a recipe for a buttery pie crust made in the food processor, but you absolutely can use a pre-made, store-bought pie shell. Sure, the homemade crust is extra flakey and buttery, but the real stars of this pie are the filling and crumb topping.

Limiting the amount and quantity of spices and sweetener in the filling really lets the apple flavor sing. I’ve used cinnamon and granulated sugar in this pie, but feel free to switch in ground ginger or add a touch of ground cloves or nutmeg. By the way, it you can’t remember when you replaced your jarred spices, now is the perfect time to re-up so you make the most of your fall and holiday baking.

Like our Streusel-Topped Ginger Pear Crumb Cake, the crowning jewel of this dessert is the abundance of lightly spiced brown sugar crumbles. Feel free to toss in some coarsely chopped nuts (any kind you have on hand) if you are so inclined. The buttery crumble topping does turn deeply brown during the time the apples are baking to tenderness; to prevent over-browning, go ahead and pop a piece of foil over the topping after about 35 minutes.

This pie is best served the same day it’s baked, though baking a day ahead is fine (don’t refrigerate). The pie (or leftovers) can be gently reheated in a 300 degree oven. 

If you’re new to our Baking Together column, be sure to check out our other recipes: One Bowl Vanilla Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Frosting; Pumpkin Cream Cheese Tart with Crushed Pretzel Crust, Butter Pecan Slice-and-Bake Cookies, Lemon Rosemary Parmesan Scones, Pie Plate Chocolate Chippers, Cream Cheese Pound Cake, Strawberry Shortcake, Lemony Blueberry Bars with Chunky Almond Crumble, Make-Ahead S’mores Squares and Streusel-Topped Ginger Pear Coffee Cake.

After you’ve baked the pie, leave us a note in the comments section under the recipe and let us know how you liked it, how you served it, or what you might have done differently. Happy fall baking!