There’s no shortage of delicious apple dessert recipes. With hundreds of variations and iterations, there’s a little something for everyone.
Because of the number of versions of the treat, it can be tricky to keep them all straight. So, if you’re debating apple pie vs. apple crisp, you’ve come to the right place.
Let’s take a look at the major similarities and differences between the two desserts. We’ll also dive into the basic recipes of each one.
Apple Pie Origins
Even though apple pie has been a staple of American cuisine for years, it has a foreign background.
Many people believe that the dessert originated in England circa the 14th century.
In fact, the filling has influences from French, Dutch, and Ottoman cuisine. In addition, we can trace back the roots of the crust all the way to the Middle East.
This makes apple pies one of the most international dishes.
Traditional Apple Pie Recipe
To help you better understand the dessert, let’s take a look at how it’s made.
For the crust, you’ll need:
- 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
- 14 tablespoons of cold, diced butter
- 4 teaspoons of sugar
- A pinch of salt
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons of water
For the filling, you’ll need:
- 3 pounds of apples (sliced)
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup of unsalted butter
- ⅔ cup of granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
- A pinch of nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
To make the recipe, you can follow these instructions.
Start by pulling out your food processor with the metal blade attachment. Then, add the flour, sugar, and salt and pulse them together for about a minute or two,
Next, grab your cold butter from the fridge and throw it into the mixture and turn the processor back on. Keep pulsing the ingredients until the butter breaks down into small pea-sized chunks.
It should resemble the texture of grainy yellow cornmeal.
After that, add the egg and pulse the dough for a few more seconds. At this point, you’ll want to inspect the state of the mixture.
If the dough is dry, with a few floury patches, then you can add a couple of tablespoons of water. This will help bring the mixture together, without affecting the final pie.
Once that’s done, pull the dough out of the processor and shape it into a disk. Finally, pop the pastry in the fridge for an hour to rest.
The filling is much easier to make. All you have to do is slice the apples and toss them in a mixture of lemon juice, sugar, and spices.
After about 15 minutes, place your butter on a skillet and melt it down. Next, place the apples into the warm frying pan and let them soften for around 10 minutes.
Apple Crisps Origins
Just like apple pies, crisps also originated in Britain. The first record of a published written recipe was in an English cookbook in 1924.
It detailed the instructions for a simple dessert with tons of flavor.
This recipe gained a lot of traction during the Second World War. That’s most likely due to the food rationing.
Since apple crisps don’t use fancy ingredients, almost anyone can make the dessert.
Traditional Apple Crisp Recipe
Let’s take a look at what goes into making a traditional apple crisp.
For the filling, you’ll need:
- 6 apples (wedged)
- ½ cup of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
For the crisp layer, you’ll need:
- 1 ¼ cups of flour
- 12 tablespoons of butter
- ½ cup of rolled oats
- ½ cup of brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
- ½ cup of nuts
To make an apple crisp, you can follow these directions.
The filling of an apple crisp is much simpler to make than that of a pie. That’s because all you have to do is combine all the ingredients together.
Grab a large bowl and toss in all the components you gathered. Then, pour the mixture into a buttered pan and set it aside.
To make the crisp layer, mix the flour, oats, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a food processor. Then, add the butter and pulse until it looks like yellow cornmeal.
After that, tip out the mixture into a greased bowl, and sprinkle in the chopped nuts. Finally, gently fold the ingredients together until you have a smooth final product.
At this point, you’re ready to spread the crisp over the filling and pop it into the oven.
Nutritional Similarities and Differences
If you look at the two recipes, you’ll notice the ingredient lists are incredibly similar. Both dishes use a combination of:
- Lemon juice
That means the two dishes will probably taste similar. Not only that, but they also tend to have the same nutritional value.
However, the crisp recipe calls for extra oats and nuts. This will increase the overall carbohydrate ratio in the recipe.
Therefore, apple crisps will usually have more calories per bite.
Other than that, the nuts will add a dose of healthy fats. These will help you feel full for longer and are a great energy source.
Textural Similarities and Differences
As you can guess by the methods of preparation, the two recipes will have different textures.
For starters, the pie will have a flaky crust with a nice tender, syrupy center.
Moving on to the crisp, as the name suggests, it makes for a crunchy dessert. The filling is still gooey and sticky, but with a crumbly layer on top.
Figuring out which is the best, apple pie vs. apple crisp, can be a little tricky. Both dishes originated in England, with the former appearing as early as the 14th century.
To make the comparison a little simpler, we can look at the recipes for each dish.
Both desserts call for similar ingredients, with a few exceptions. Apple crisps require additional oats and nuts.
Other than that, apple pies have a flaky crust, while apple crisps have a crunchy outer layer.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.