Petra is a specialty baker for Mom's Apple Pie Company, a family-run bakery with four locations in Northern Virginia. By the time she was born, the family business had been operating from their home for three years. Petra and her siblings grew up rolling crusts, peeling apples and baking pies with their parents from early on. In addition to bakery experience, Petra trained with family friend, Is Harris, making a variety of Thai cuisine from scratch, punctuating her culinary appreciation for both sweet and savory flavors and techniques. Subsequent training in oenology and cuisine both in Florence, Italy and Washington, DC led to her current position as wine buyer and recipe research and development at Mom's Apple Pie in Occoquan, Virginia.
How to Make a Crumb Topping
Baker Petra Cox shows how to prepare a crumb topping for your apple crisp.
This expert: 2,291,794 views
How to Make a Crumb Topping
1/3 cup of pecans
1/4 cup of cornmeal
1/2 cup of granulated white sugar
1/8 cup of dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
A pinch of cinnamon
1 1/8 cup of flour
6 tablespoons of very cold or frozen butter
Basic bottom pie crust
3 York apples
1 cup of sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch
1. To make the crumb topping, put the flour, cornmeal, sugar and brown sugar into a food processor with a little cinnamon. Over that put in the cold butter and vanilla. Turn the processor on until the butter is chopped into smaller pieces. Add pecans and pulse the processor a few times until the pecans are in pieces that are smaller than the top of your finger.
2. Freeze the bottom crust. To create the filling, cut up the apples and mix them with suga, cornstarch and cinnamon. Place the filling on top of the bottom crust.
3. Spread the crumb topping over the apple filling. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bake the pie for 45-60 minutes.
4. Let it cool, plate and serve.
Petra Cox: I am Petra Cox. We are here in Occoquan, Virginia at Mom's Apple Pie Company and we are making an apple crumb pie today. There is a few different ways you can do it. We are making it as our biggest selling recipes, the butter pecan apple crumb and we have ready our frozen bottom pie crust and our apple pie filling and we are going to use our food processor to make the crumb topping. So it's really pretty simple if you have the first two elements, the crumb and the filling. So first of all, I am going to put our cup -- it's sort of a heaping cup of flour. It's a cup and an eighth. I am going to put that in the food processor followed by the half cup sugar and eighth of a cup of brown sugar and a little bit of cinnamon too. I like a richer molasses flavor so it's nice to use dark brown sugar and a quarter of a cup of cornmeal. It gives it a little bit of extra texture. It's really nice and over that, I am going to put the six cold tablespoons of butter.
If you are using salted butter you don't have to add salt. If you are not using salted butter, add about a quarter teaspoon of salt and if you like you can add a half a teaspoon of vanilla. It just adds a nice, mellow flavor to everything. So we are putting all of those things in first and I am just going to pulse this a little bit to combine the ingredients and then I am going to turn the food processor on until the butter is chopped up into smaller pieces. This will take different amounts of time with different food processors depending on how sharp your blade is and how fast the motor is, but this is what it looks like for us right now. The butter is in bigger pieces. Everything else is combined and we have varying sizes of pieces of butter.
I am going to process that just a little bit more before adding the pecans because we want the pecans to stay in nice chunks if we can instead of turning into a pecan meal. So here we have some small pieces of butter and some bigger pieces of butter that's what we want. We want nice, varying amounts and then I am going to add a third a cup of pecans as a last step and like I said in the beginning, if you would like to skip the cornmeal and the pecans you could opt for maybe a half a cup of rolled oats instead if you like an oat topping. I pulse that a few times and now the pecans are in pieces about this size, less than top of your finger. So that's a nice crumb way to keep in texture in there and so that is how we make the apple crumb topping for our pie and next, I will show you how to put the whole pie together with the crumb, the filling and the crust.