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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Vegan Mofo Day 14 - Apple Pie I

Food conjures up memories in ways that few other things can for me. The smells, textures, and tastes all have their own background, unique to each person. Apple pie brings me back to my grandmother's kitchen when I was small enough to have to stand on my tip toes and hang on the edge of the countertop to watch her roll out the dough.

My grandmother has always been wonderful about nurturing a child's need to feel helpful and grown up and would let me roll out a little section of dough with a mini rolling pin for my own little tart or scrap to go in the oven with sugar and cinnamon. After accomplishing enough to feel satisfied that I pitched in, I would sit on a little foot stool and chew on pieces of peel and talk about things that only children can find wonder in. I must have bored her to tears talking about a fuzzy caterpillar I saw crawling on the driveway and wondering how he felt crawling around on the ground with so many things soaring tall above him, but she never let it show.

This recipe reminded me of my friend, Bitt, because I know she loves apples and we both have an affinity for desserts that are not overly sweet. The spices are strong and the crust is flaky - just as it should be.

Apple Pie Filling
10 Medjool dates soaked for a minimum of 45 minutes
3/4 c date soak water
2 Tb Tapioca Flour
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Cloves (ground)
1/2 tsp Ginger
1 Tb Spectrum Shortening (Palm Oil)
1/2 lemon, juiced
6 peeled and sliced Apples

Peel, core, and slice the apples into thin slices, no more than 1/4 inch thick. After you are done slicing them, pour and mix them with the lemon juice to prevent too much browning.

I used a combination of Gala and Braeburn apples. Gala can be a bit sweet and mealy for me, so I like to pair them with an apple that is a bit more tart. The ideal apple is Gravenstein, but I only find these on my grandparents' trees. They are old world apples and not common, but if you find them, I really recommend giving them a try in a baking project.

Combine the dates, soak water, spices, palm oil, and tapioca flour in a high speed blender and blend until you get a thick, caramel consistency. Use a spatula to empty the blend and combine with the apples.

Pie Crust
makes enough for two 10" crusts (or the top and bottom crusts for one apple pie)
1/2 c. Potato Starch
1 3/4 c. Amaranth Flour
2/3 c. White Rice Flour
1/2 c. Spectrum Shortening (Palm Oil)
1/4 c. + 2 Tb Ice Water
1/2 tsp Salt

Combine the dry ingredients with a fork and then use a pastry cutter to cut in the shortening until you get clumps between the size of small gravel and peas. Add 1/4 cup of very cold water to the mixture and combine with a fork. Slowly add more water until the dough binds together without feeling too gooey and wet to work with on a rolling surface.

Gluten free pie crust is a bit tricky. I rolled this out on baking paper and then put the pie dish upside down over the crust. I slid my hand under the crust and the pan and carefully inverted them so the crust was sitting neatly in the pan.

I didn't trust the dough enough to go the old fashioned route and roll it over the rolling pin and lift over the pan. Because there is no gluten, the dough will crack easier and separate if you aren't careful (but you can patch it back together easily.

Once the bottom crust is in the pan, pour in the apple filling.

Repeat rolling out the crust for the top. I tried lattice, but it just didn't hold up to a lot of bending and manipulation. Make a few slits in the top as a vent so steam can escape as it cooks.

The crust held up very well as a whole and was very tender and flaky once out of the oven.


  1. YUMMMM! I do love apples. I am working on an apple recipe right now (raw this time). But I'd love to make that pie too. Perfect timing for Thanksgiving.

  2. I haven't made an apple pie in ages, and I like the sound of this one. The dates must be a wonderful addition to the apples.