You’re probably reading this for one of three reasons. For starters, you probably dislike the effort of making apple pie, or you’re simply a beginner and struggle with the dough.
The third and most likely option is that you’re looking for a healthier alternative that removes the extra gluten from the pie without sacrificing the flavor.
Regardless, this leads us to the question: how can you make an apple pie without crust? In fact, can you make apple pie without crust?
The simple answer is yes! However, the more detailed questions and answers await you below. So let’s get to it!
Yes, you definitely can. Crustless apple pies, also known as Swedish apple pies, are a great alternative to traditional apple pies.
The key to making one is skipping the dough-making process and heading straight to dealing with the filling.
The filling for a crustless apple pie is almost the same as the standard one, but with the addition of a “binding” agent to hold your pie together.
Absolutely! Apple pies with no top crusts are usually called tarts or open-faced pies. You can make them the same way you’d make the regular pie, but without adding the top layer.
Making your pie this way allows you to monitor how the heat caramelizes the fruit and spices and lets the flavors meld together without getting soaked into a top layer.
Graham Crackers are your savior if you want to create a semi-traditional apple pie but struggle with the crust dough.
It offers you a unique twist on the classic apple pie as the crackers are already cinnamon or honey flavored—enhancing the pie flavor.
What’s more, the cushiness of the crackers provides a new texture compared to the regular doughy crust.
Sadly, the main issue with using Graham Crackers is that you have to crush so many of them and then pack the crumbs tightly into the pan.
If you miss a spot here or there, you’ll end up with a leaky pie crust, which is no fun at all!
Moreover, because these are just crackers crumbs, they absorb moisture like crazy! So if you add your apple pie filling and bake it without sautéing first, you’ll have a soggy crust.
Now that you know you can make a crustless apple pie, it’s time to check out what ingredients you’ll need and how to do it right! Here’s a quick list of the main ingredients you’ll need:
At the risk of sounding a bit redundant, you’ll definitely need to crack a couple of apples to make your apple pie.
However, you can’t just pick and place any apple in your pan; you must choose the right variety—plus mix and match! To help you out, here are some of the most popular ones:
Granny Smiths are your best option if you want to make a non-traditional apple pie. This is because these apples are very firm and won’t turn mushy when you bake them.
Hence, you can use them while making a crustless apple pie or a Graham Crackers apple pie.
Yet, regarding the taste, Granny Smiths are known for their “tangy or sour” flavor, which may be unpleasant to some. Thankfully, you can include another apple variety with them to sort out this issue.
As you can tell by the name, Golden Delicious apples are both golden and delicious!
Their flavor profile ranges from sweet to sour, making them an ideal choice for apple pies. Though they’re less firm than Granny Smiths, they still hold up well when placed under heat.
So, does the name give you any clue as to what these apples are like? Well, they’re crisp, super sweet, and amazing for your apple pie!
Honey Crisp apples are an excellent option if you have a sweet tooth that you want to satisfy. They’re also relatively firm, meaning you can make a crustless apple pie without worrying about mushiness!
Even though the apples are a great source of sweetness, there’s a chance you might need to add more—some apples are tart, after all.
So, make sure you use enough sugar to guarantee a balance between the sourness and sweetness.
One thing you can never dispense of when making apple pie is the spices. You can get rid of the crust or use fewer apples, but never the spices!
What’s more, you can’t really go wrong with whatever you add! You could add cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, or ginger, and it’ll still taste fantastic.
Of course, to make your crustless apple pie, you must ensure the apples stick together and don’t crumble.
This means you must use flour, cornstarch, or tapioca to bring your apples and spices together. Plus, let’s not forget the liquid that’ll help create this binding mixture: melted butter!
Finally, after learning all that you need about crustless apple pie, it’s time to make one yourself! Here are the steps you need to follow:
Once you’ve chosen the right varieties for your apple pie, bring them all to the sink and wash them thoroughly.
After that, you can peel, core, and cut the apples into thick slices. When that’s over, place them in your pie pan.
The only problem with spices is that just misusing one can make all others disappear. Put simply, adding too much cinnamon, for example, will cover any other flavor.
So, ensure you add the right amounts and then mix them until well combined. Then, pour the sugar over this blend of spices and mix again.
Finally, pour the final mixture onto the apples and massage the spices into the fruit.
Leave the apples for about five minutes to soak up as much spices as possible.
Then, as they’re resting, use this time to melt your butter and add the thickening agent to create the binding component. Note: Keep the heat low to avoid burning the butter!
Finally, pour the binding agent onto the apples and spread it everywhere until it covers the fruit completely.
Now, bake at around 350˚F for 40 minutes or until golden, and enjoy!
Though most people like to use crescent rolls as actual rolls and add the apple pie filling inside, you can actually use them as a crust!
You can make the crescent rolls yourself at home or buy them from the store. Though nothing beats the taste of homemade ones, store-bought can save you loads of time.
Do keep in mind, though, that crescent rolls are essentially pastries. Hence, when they’re cooking in the oven, they’ll puff up and turn brown a lot quicker than regular dough.
To avoid this issue, keep your eyes on the pie and adjust your baking time or temperature. You can also use aluminum foil to cover the pie if it gets too brown before finishing.
Blind baking, or pre-baking a pie crust without its filling, isn’t generally necessary for apple pies.
Most people tend to place the bottom crust, pour the filling, lay the top crust directly on top of the apples, and put it in the oven. That’s it!
However, blind baking your apple pie can help you avoid a soggy bottom and keep the dough tender yet firm.
Hopefully, our little guide here helped you understand what’s an apple pie without crust, i.e., a Swedish apple pie!
You can make it whenever you like, as it doesn’t require too much effort, time, or ingredients. Moreover, you can make it with just a top or bottom crust; it won’t affect the taste as much.
If you want to take a more non-traditional route, you can use Graham Crackers as your pie crust, adding an extra layer of flavor and texture!
So, when life gives you apples, go crustless and enjoy the core!
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.