Crab Apple Tree

Crab Apple Tree

By Elsie, Ashling, James

  • The Crab Apple Tree is one of the many native trees in Ireland.
  • Its Irish name is Crann Fia-Úll, and its Latin name is Malus Sylvestris.
  • The Crab Apple Tree has many myths and legends around it.
  • It symbolises love and marriage.
  • It is said that if you throw the pips into the fire while calling out your lover’s name, your love is true and everlasting.
  • Also, the wood of this tree was burnt by the Celts during fertility rites and rituals. They would also bury the apples as food for the dead.
  • Unlike modern hybrid apples, crab apples grow from the apple pips.
  • It’s a small tree and it grows to about 15-25 feet, very suitable for gardens.
  • It is found mostly around hedgerows farmstead.
  • It bears attractive pink or/and white apple blossom in the Spring, while
    the apples provide an Autumn feature, as well as a useful and tasty crop.
  • It’s sour but works well in pies, crumbles and jam.

Here is a recipe for a delicious apple pie.


  • 1.8-10 crab apples
  • 2.1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 – 2/3 cup sugar, depending on how sweet
  • you like it
  • 4.3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 5.½ tsp ground-cinnamon
  • 6.¼ tsp allspice
  • 7.¼ nutmeg
  • 8.1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 9.Your favourite pie crust recipe
  • 10.Icing sugar for sprinkling
  • For the egg wash
  • 1.1 large egg yolk
  • 2.1 tbsp cream
  • Prep time = 30mins
  • Cooking time=80mins
  • Chilling time=1hr
  • Total time=2hrs 50mins
  • Serves=8

Peel, core, and slice the apples
Peel, core and slice or roughly chop the apples into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch slices or chunks. As you cut your apple slices, add them to a large bowl and toss them with the lemon juice to help keep them from turning brown.

Make the apple pie filling
Combine the sugar, flour and spices (allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon) in a bowl. Add the flour mixture to the apple slices and use your hands to distribute the flour through the apples so they are well coated. Sprinkle the vanilla extract and stir to coat all the apples.

Preheat the oven to 180°C
Place one oven rack in the lowest position and put a large, rimmed baking sheet on it to catch any drippings from the pie. Position a second rack the next rung up (still in the lower third of the oven).

Roll out the dough and line the pie plate
Remove one disk of pie dough from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes. Place disk on a lightly floured, clean, flat surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the pie dough to a 12-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. As you roll out the dough, check to make sure it isn’t sticking. If it starts to stick, gently lift it up and sprinkle a little more flour on the table surface or on the pie dough to keep the dough from sticking. Gently place the rolled-out dough onto a 9-inch pie plate. Press down to line the pie dish with the dough.

Add the apple filling
Arrange the apple slices in the dough-lined pie plate. Mound the apples in the centre.

Roll out the top crust, place over apples, trim and crimp edges
Roll out the second disk of dough, again to 12-inches. Gently place the second round of pie dough over the apples. Trim excess dough with kitchen shears, leaving a 3/4-inch overhang from the edges of the pie pan. Fold the dough under itself so that the edge of the fold comes right to the edge of the pan. Press the top and bottom dough rounds together as you flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with a fork.
If at any point the dough becomes too soft to work with, stick the crust or whole pie in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes.

Brush with the egg wash and cut vents
Place egg yolk and cream in a small bowl and use a fork to stir until well combined. Use a pastry brush to brush the egg wash over the top and fluted edges of the pie. Use a sharp knife to cut slits in the top of the pie crust for steam vents.

Place pie on oven rack centred over the baking sheet on the rack below it to catch any drippings. Bake the pie at 375°F until crust begins to lightly brown, about 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling all over, an additional hour or up to another hour and a half, depending on the type of apples you are using. If you have an instant-read thermometer, it should read 200°F when inserted in the centre of the pie.
About halfway through baking, check to make sure the pie isn’t browning too much. When it’s nicely browned, tent the pie with a large piece of aluminium foil to keep the pie from browning further.

Transfer the apple pie to a rack to cool for at least 1 hour. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Great with a side of vanilla ice cream.