Apple Crumble Pie In a Skillet

World War II Era Apple Pie Recipe

This version of the Crumble Apple Pie recipe was developed and became popular during World War II. Flour and sugar, among other food supplies were very limited. Women had to stretch these as much as possible to feed their kids. The recipe reduced flour and sugar by nearly 3/4 (!) of the original pre-war era apple pie recipes.


This Apple Crumble Pie is so simple to make, you’ll want to make it again and again. I like that it has a generous fruit to dough ratio, and doesn’t have dough at the bottom. All in all this is not a heavy dessert.

I learned this recipe when I was studying in London and desserts are less sweet in Europe. This recipe isn’t an exception, and requires no sugar to be added to apple filling. It capitalizes on apple’s natural sweetness.

This crumble pie recipe also doesn’t require any eggs, and is vegetarian-friendly.


5 apples

3 oz butter

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup rolled (or quick) oats

1/2-2/3 cup sugar, depending on how sweet you like your desserts

2 tablespoons lemon zest (rind)

pinch of salt

1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon confectionery sugar for decoration (optional)


Preparation and Cooking Steps
  1. In a bowl mix together flour, oatmeal, lemon zest, and pinch of salt. Add about 2 oz cubed (cut) butter and mix together with your fingers till rough crumble appear.
  2. Add sugar to the crumbled dough, mix well. Put in a freezer for 20 min.
  3. In a meantime core and slice (or cube) apples. Heat a skillet over medium-high, and add remaining butter.
  4. Add apples to the skillet. Cook for about 10 min, stirring occasionally. Cover with lid and cook for another 5-8 minutes. Add honey and cinnamon, cook some more. You’ll notice apple slices will start getting caramelized. Turn of the stove.
  5. Remove apples from the skillet. Pour the apple filling into 2 inch serving dish, or into pie baking pan. Put aside.
  6. Wipe the skillet clean with a kitchen towel, heat over medium-high.
  7. Add crumble dough to the skillet and fry for about 5 min. Stir and fry for another 3-4 min, till golden brown.
  8. Top the apple filling with the crumble.
  9. Serve and enjoy!


Tip: If you leave your Apple Crumble Pie leftovers in the fridge overnight it will harden up a bit. You can reheat it in the oven for a softer texture or serve as is, and the pie will hold its shape just like an oven-baked apple crumble pie does.




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