Easy Cook: Jazzed-Up Apple Crumb Pie

Autumn is the season for apples and I enjoy finding new and interesting varieties of apples in produce markets. I’m calling this pie, “Jazzed-Up Apple Crumb Pie”, and used a new type of apple–Jazz apples–in the pie. This recipe is everything a pie should be–juicy and sweet, the apples are still just a little crisp and the topping is crunchy.  And the pie has only a few ingredients; it is very, very easy to make; hence if falls into my category of “Easy Cook”.


The recipe is from my second cousin who lives in Wisconsin; she says just about any type of apple you desire is grown in her state of Wisconsin. Wouldn’t that be great! When Shirley volunteered to make desserts for one of the suppers at our cousin’s reunion this summer, I jumped “yes” to that idea. 

Shirley brought an apple pie, a blueberry pie, a ground cherry pie and a combination apple-ground cherry pie. It was a difficult choice (I tried them all) but the apple pie entitled, “Whole Family’s Favorite Pie”, was just outstanding. Here’s my duplication of Shirley’s pie.

Braeburn and Jazz Apples

Shirley says she usually uses Braeburn apples in her pies and sometimes will use Gala and Granny Smith. I couldn’t find Braeburn apples when I went to my grocery store. But I did find “Jazz” apples; these apples were new to me.

I learned a little about “Jazz” apples on the internet. Jazz apples originated in New Zealand from a cross of Braeburn and Royal Gala apples. So the Jazz apples have characteristics of both parents. The new apple is hard and crisp but juicy with a classic low acid sweet-tart apple taste. It has a hint of pear taste. It has a beautiful rosy red skin with splashes of yellow, orange and green. I found this apple to be crisp and tart to eat as a snack; it held up well in baking. The apple transports well and resists bruising.

The original cross was done in 1985 and the first commercial Jazz apples were produced 2004; so this is a relatively new apple. It is a “patented apple” and is grown under a licence of New Zealand orchardists and the Plant and Food Research Institute. Now these apples are grown, transported and sold around the world under the New Zealand licence.

Shirley made the comment that she now finds newer varieties of apples such as HoneyCrisp in stores and less often old-time favorite apples such as Cortland and Macintosh. I guess times are changing as newer varieties of apples with “more desirable” qualities are introduced. At the grocery market, the Jazz apples were relatively expensive. But it was an adventure to find a new type of apple and I’m glad to see the larger chain store, Albertson’s, carried it.


The recipe for “Whole Family’s Favorite Pie” A.K.A. “Jazzed-up Apple Crisp Pie” is very easy to make with just a few ingredients. It is from a 1971 AAUW cookbook (American Association of University Women). The recipe was submitted by Senator Charlene Conklin who served in the Iowa State Senate from 1969 – 1971 from Black Hawk County, Iowa. Not many women in politics in those days.

For the pie, I used a prepared pie crust from the refrigerator section of the grocery store. Simply unroll the pie crust, place in pie pan, trim and crimp the edges. Then peel and slice 4 large Jazz apples and arrange them in the pie shell. 

Sprinkle on sugar with a little cinnamon mixed in. Make the crumb topping of flour, sugar and butter. Cut the butter in with 2 knives. My mother-in-law helped out with this task.

Spread crumb topping evenly over the apples and bake; first at 450 degrees and then lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees. I wrap the edge of the pie shell in aluminum foil so it doesn’t burn and remove the foil during the last 15 minutes of baking.

This is a delicious pie and so easy to make. You will surely impress you family and guests with your fine baking skills!

Jazzed-Up Apple Crumb Pie, aka The Whole Family's Favorite Pie

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

From Shirley Miller.


  • 9″ prepared pastry crust
  • 4 large tart apples (Braeburn or Jazz)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

For crumb topping:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine

Method and Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Pare apples; slice and arrange in 9-inch pastry lined pie pan.
  3. Sprinkle with sugar mixed with cinnamon.
  4. For crumb topping: Sift the remaining 1/2 sugar with the flour and cut in the butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over the apples.
  5. Wrap edges of pie with aluminum foil. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes; reduce heat and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. Remove foil for last 15 minutes of baking.

Submitted by Senator Charlene Conklin. From: AAUW Cookbook (American Association of University Women) 1971.


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