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Governor Tryon’s Humble Crumble Apple Pie

Governor Tryon’s Humble Crumble Apple Pie

Beyond the Books, The Fiery Cross

It was a mistake!  And one I have come to rectify, so far as I may!”  Tryon was standing his ground, jaw tight as he glared upward.

“A mistake.  And is the loss of an innocent man’s life no more than that to ye?  You will kill and maim, for the sake of your glory, and pay no heed to the destruction ye leave — save only that the record of your exploits may be enlarged.  How will it look in the dispatches ye send to England — sir?  That ye brought cannon to bear on your own citizens, armed with no more than knives and clubs?  Or will it say that ye put down rebellion and preserved order?  Will it say that in your haste to vengeance, ye hanged an innocent man?  Will it say there that ye made ‘a mistake’?  Or will it say that ye punished wickedness, and did justice in the King’s name?”

Diana Gabaldon, The Fiery Cross (Chapter 72 – Tinder and Char)

Nothing can ever bring back The Thrush.  Not Claire’s care, Jamie’s anger, Bree’s love, nor Tryon’s land.

Most likely not even late 20th Century surgery…should Roger ever get back (again) to see what the doctors have to say.

sliced apple pie

At the same time, for an 18th C man of status such as Governor Tryon to admit a mistake of any size, never mind one that amounts to state-sanctioned (attempted) murder, shows that the man has at least a sense humility.

As does his devotion to duty, when we learn about his promotion to New York, and that he will most likely never return to North Carolina.  He really didn’t have to deal with any of it.


But none of that really matters, does it?

A most beautiful voice has been choked, and the physical body and spirit of a truly honourable and humble man have been nearly destroyed — yet again — under all the horror the 18th Century and its sense of justice can muster.

As an historian, Roger knew better than Claire, Bree, even Geillis, what he was getting into by going through the stones.  And he went anyway.

“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”  Thucydides – circa 5th Century, BCE


One of the earliest recipes for apple pie is from the late 14th Century, about the same time Chaucer began writing Cantebury Tales.  The apples were tossed with figs, raisins and pears, heavily spiced, lightly sweetened with honey or cane sugar (a very expensive ingredient at the time — approx $50/lb in today’s prices), coloured with saffron and cooked in a pastry “cofyn.”

Emigrants to the New World packed ship holds with barrels of apples, chosen for their storage and cooking qualities, to plant in their new homes.  Those first early trees grew into a tradition that is associated with the American way of life all over the world.


I’ve never been a fan of 2 crust apple pies, so I opted for a nutty crumble topping, all the better to rhyme with humble. 🙂

If you prefer, simply double the crust recipe, and Bob’s your Uncle.

(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)

Gov. Tryon’s Humble Crumble Apple Pie

A lightly sweet pie in a crisp, flaky crust and topped with a rich, nutty streusel.

9” pie – Serves 8

  • Apples  – 3 lbs (about 7 medium)
  • Lemon Juice – 1 Tble
  • Brown Sugar, packed – ¼ C
  • Sugar – ¼ C
  • Cornstarch – 2 tsp
  • Butter, diced  – 2 Tble
  • Cinnamon – 1 tsp
  • Nutmeg, freshly ground – ¼ tsp
  • Salt – ¼ tsp
  • 1/2 recipe Short Crust Pastry, chilled
  • Walnut or Pecan Halves – ½ C
  • Brown Sugar – 3 Tble
  • Cinnamon – ½ tsp
  • All-Purpose Flour – ½ Cup
  • Butter, melted – ¼ C
  • Vanilla Extract – ½ tsp
  • Salt – ¼ tsp

Peel, core and chop the apples into ½” wedges.  Toss in a large bowl with the rest of the filling ingredients, and set aside to macerate for about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, combine the nuts and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 5-7 times, until the nuts are coarsely chopped.  Add the remaining crumble ingredients and pulse until coarse and crumbly.  Set aside.

Move the rack to the bottom position and preheat the oven to 425° F.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to soften, if necessary, for 10 minutes.  On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough to a 12-13” circle.  Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate, and fold the excess under, towards the pie dish, so that the edges are a double thickness.  Crimp with your fingers or fork.

Mound the apple filling into the prepared pie shell, pouring the juices evenly over the top.  Cover lightly with foil brushed with butter, and bake on the bottom rack for 1 hour.

Remove the pie from the oven, reduce the heat to 375° F and discard the foil.  Top the pie evenly with the crumble topping and return to the oven for 15 minutes, until the apples are tender and the crust and topping are golden brown.

Cool completely, slice and serve with ice cream and caramel sauce…or, if you prefer, all by itself.

Ith gu leòir! (Eat Plenty)


  • Gala, Golden Delicious, Pink Lady and Pippin are some of my favourite apples to use in baking.  Firm fleshed apples in the semi-sweet to tart range are best.


  1. Aaron Brown
    August 30, 2012 at 5:56 am

    looks de-lish!!! Thanks for sharing!

    • Anna Lapping
      August 5, 2015 at 2:51 pm

      Alan’s favorite pie, (well maybe after lemon curd tarte). I should make one for him for our 38th anniversary which is Friday, Aug 7th.

    • Anna Lapping
      August 5, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      Oh, BTW. We went to New Bern, NC and visited Tryon Palace last year in September for my birthday. Very interesting place.

    • Theresa
      August 5, 2015 at 6:42 pm

      Happy Anniversary to you both!

    • Anna Lapping
      August 5, 2015 at 7:42 pm

      Thank you, Theresa. I will do my best to not throttle him in the next two days so we can make it to that anniversary!

  2. MacZac
    August 30, 2012 at 8:47 am

    This looks wonderful! I’ll be making this verra soon! Thanks!

  3. bullrem
    September 3, 2012 at 7:04 am

    This will be a perfect addition to my Labor Day picnic supper…. Thanks a bunch.

    I so hoped in the books that DG would have a surgeon’s’s fix for Roger’s voice when he and Bree returned to the 20th. C. Oh well . .. . . . . .

    Helen in Ark.

  4. Melissa H.
    September 4, 2012 at 11:00 am

    I tried this recipe this weekend and is it ever delicious! And the crumble? Awesome! I never tried to make a crumble out of nuts…. Yum! 🙂 The only thing is, I let the pie crust rest in the fridge overnight, and when I tried to roll it out the next morning, it kept cracking…. but it doesn’t matter because it’s yummy anyway! 🙂

    • Theresa
      September 4, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      Melissa, I’m glad you liked it! Did you let the crust sit on the counter for 10-15 minutes after you took it out of the fridge? That should allow the dough to soften slightly before you roll it out.

    • Melissa H.
      September 4, 2012 at 1:13 pm

      Yes I did! I suppose I should have left it there for a bit longer… I ended up working it with my hands before rolling out the dough… seemed to work out okay, although there were still a few cracks here and there around the edges…

  5. Mindy Reed
    September 5, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Made this a couple days ago and I can not even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed it!!!! I have been itching to make it again because it was so easy and fun and tasted delicious! And since my husband has been raving about it to everyone he’s seen lately, I’m thinking I shoul make a few and give them away. This is for sure my go to recipe now!!! Thanks so much!!

    • Theresa
      September 5, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      Great news, Mindy! There’s no better way to make a new or old friend happy than with pie. 😀

  6. denizb33
    September 6, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    That looks soooo yummy. But I don’t know… I’d feel the pain in Roger’s throat with every bite. Though the ice cream’ll help it go down… 🙂

  7. Taking On Magazines
    November 26, 2012 at 7:37 am

    Swoon, swoon, swoon, swoon, swoon. I like the double-crust, but I can do a nutty crumble just as easily. It looks amazing.

  8. CarolE
    December 2, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Totally delish but it overflowed all over my oven…next time will use 1 less apple AND put some sort of pan under it that catches overflow…had to make it nutless as DH is allergic but was still yummy with a scoop of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream!

  9. Joanie
    August 10, 2014 at 12:38 am

    What would you recommend for the person who cannot add nuts to the crumble? In order to bulk it up, I’ll need to substitute something and I don’t want to mess it up.

    • Theresa
      August 10, 2014 at 10:17 am

      What about seeds, Joanie? Can you eat those? Pumpkin or sunflower would be my suggestion.

  10. susan griffin
    August 22, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    This is great! We use only 18th century receipts in the Kitchen Office at the Tryon Palace. Hoping to find a version similar to yours in order to bake one hearthside.

  11. Carol Mackey
    August 24, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Theresa, I just sent (via facebook) this to my granddaughter, who, with my son and daughter-in-law (and her almost-three twins, my great-grandkids), went apple picking today in oHIo (“round on the ends, high in the middle”), where she is visiting her folks (she lives in Indiana). We’re all originally from Michigan, I live in Colorado now. The pie will be amazing, I know–when prepared and consumes in Indiana later this week. Telecommunications today boggles my mind! Oh, and as I was adding a comment to the share, I got facetimed by my daughter-in-law and great-granddaughter, who were having a tea party and invited me to join them! Even my use of language has changed! lol!! Will make the pie with some good Michigan apples when I visit my sister there next week. Her grandkids will love it–especially with the caramel sauce.

  12. Diane Davis
    November 17, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Looks so good will have to try some of them. Made an apple pie in a skillet and will try it in a dutch oven in the summer.

  13. Martha
    November 19, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Re-reading your comments from 2012, before publication of _Written in My Own Heart’s Blood_:
    “Nothing can ever bring back The Thrush. Not Claire’s care, Jamie’s anger, Bree’s love, nor Tryon’s land.
    Most likely not even late 20th Century surgery…should Roger ever get back (again) to see what the doctors have to say.”

    Little did you know that Roger would receive some measure of healing back in the 18th century from a time-traveling healer with Blue Light power! Still not able to belt out ballads, but hopefully he speaks and swallows with more ease. BTW, the pie looks delicious!

  14. anita ledbetter
    November 23, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    I have granny smiths would that be ok?

    • Theresa
      November 24, 2014 at 7:05 am

      Those will be great!

  15. Katie Neil
    January 4, 2015 at 9:38 am

    I just wanted to thank you for this wonderful pie. I brought it to Christmas dinner and folks are still talking about it. It was easy to do and delicious to eat. I love your recipes!

    • Theresa
      January 5, 2015 at 6:40 am

      I’m glad it was a hit!

  16. LoneRanger
    March 7, 2015 at 9:43 am

    am just popping in to say how great your “Gov. Tryon’s Humble Crumble Apple Pie” is.

    Boys, we loved it..!!

  17. Alice Watkins
    September 11, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    I’m happy to meet someone else who is not a big fan of pie crust. Most everyone I meet thinks I’m crazy. But apple crisp and apple brown betty and apple dumplings even (I never claimed to be consistent) are just fine. Now if I can only find others who like both cheese and ice cream on their apple desserts I will be all set. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Sweet and salty is a great combination.

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