An apple pie without apples? You'll be surprised to discover that you're actually eating an "apple" pie made with nothing but crackers, sugar, and spices! Saltine crackers have long been a popular replacement for apples, particularly when fresh fruit was hard to come by, and the earliest known cracker pie dates back to the mid-1800s. Ritz Crackers were introduced in 1934 and shortly after that, the popular "Ritz Cracker Mock Apple Pie" recipe began appearing on the box.
This version is close to the original back-of-the-box recipe with just a few minor flavor adjustments. Ready-made crusts make the pie a breeze to prepare and bake, but feel free to use a homemade crust if you have a favorite recipe.
There is a lot of sugar in this pie, so cut the pie into at least ten wedges instead of the usual eight slices. Serve the pie warm with a scoop of ice cream or serve it cold from the fridge with whipped cream.
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 3/4 cups water
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 2 unbaked pie crusts (homemade or ready-made pie pastry)
- 36 Ritz crackers (coarsely broken)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons butter (cold, cut into small pieces)
- For the Egg Wash:
- 1 egg white
- 2 teaspoons water
In a large saucepan, combine the granulated sugar and cream of tartar. Gradually whisk in the water. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently. The mixture should be reduced to 1 1/2 cups and will be syrupy in consistency.
Meanwhile, zest and squeeze the lemon. You will have about 1 to 2 teaspoons of finely grated lemon zest and about 2 tablespoons of juice.
Remove the sugar mixture from the heat and add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla; whisk to blend. Set the mixture aside to cool for about 30 minutes.
Roll the bottom crust out to about 11 inches in diameter (one inch larger than the pie plate). Line a 9-inch pie plate with the pastry. Put the broken crackers in the pie shell and toss gently with the cinnamon.
Preheat the oven to 425 F.
Pour the cooled sugar mixture over the crackers in the pie shell. Dot with the small pieces of butter.
Roll out the top crust to about 11 inches in diameter. Cover the filling with the top crust. Seal and flute the edge as desired.
In a small bowl or cup, whisk the egg white with the water. Brush the egg wash lightly over the top crust, avoiding the fluted edge.
Cut several small slits in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape.
Bake the pie for 15 minutes and then place a pie shield or foil ring around the edge to prevent over-browning. Bake for about 15 minutes longer, or until the crust is golden brown.
Store leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Buttery round crackers may be used instead of Ritz crackers.
Chocolate-Pecan Mock Apple Pie: Sprinkle 1/2 cup of chopped pecans (or walnuts) and 1/2 cup of semisweet chocolate chips or chunks over the cracker crumbs before adding the syrup mixture.
Mock Apple Pie With Crumb Topping: Omit the top crust and egg wash. In a bowl, combine 1 cup of crushed Ritz crackers with 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of ground cinnamon, and 6 tablespoons of melted butter. Mix thoroughly and sprinkle over the pie filling. Bake at 400 F for 15 minutes; reduce the oven temperature to 350 F and bake for about 20 minutes longer, or until the pastry is golden brown. Cool and serve with whipped cream or whipped topping.