I have so many wonderful memories of family times in September while growing up and many of these memories involve trying to make a perfect apple pie.
The house I grew up in was over 100 years old with a big back yard filled with different fruit trees and even an almond tree. When September rolled around my job was to pick all the apples off the ground and help my dad peel them. With so many apples to deal with me made a lot of applesauce but my favourite thing to help my mum bake was an apple pie.
As far as we were concerned, the crust was the most challenging part to make but also the most fun. Sometimes we even added little pastry rosettes on top of the lattice work if we had extra pastry left.
My mother, who was a nurse, insisted that the pie did not need nearly as much sugar as apple pie recipes called for so we cut down the sugar and let the sweet apples & cinnamon flavor really shine.
Sugar Free Options
Most apple pies that you buy in a store or bakery are loaded with sugar and lard. I believe you will find that my recipe for the perfect apple pie is just that-perfect. Just sweet enough to satisfy desert lovers. I have added an option to use Stevia which will take the sugar content even lower.
In addition, for those of you who like your pie crust extra flaky, I have added a trick in the notes that guarantees the flakiest of pie crusts, even with gluten free flour.
With Canadian Thanksgiving coming up and apples super plentiful at the moment there is no better time to bake a perfect apple pie.
Bonus: Your house will smell absolutely amazing!
(MAKES 2 CRUSTS)
GLUTEN FREE PIE CRUST
- 2 cups gluten free pastry flour
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 12 TBSP very cold unsalted butter or vegan margarine
- 8–10 tablespoons ice water
- 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
APPLE PIE FILLING
- 6–7 cups 1/4″ sliced apples (about 7 medium apples, try a mix of your favorites)
- 1/3 cup + 1 TBSP brown sugar or coconut sugar*(or 3 TBSP granulated Stevia)
- 2 TBSP cornstarch
- 1 TBSP ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp pure vanilla
- 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
EGG WASH FOR TOP CRUST
1 egg beaten with 1 TBSP milk or vegan milk substitute of choice
Put butter and/or Vegan margarine in the freezer for about 1 hour prior to cutting into cubes.
Prepare the pie crust: Cut frozen butter or margarine into little 1/2” cubes and set aside. In small bowl, add ice cubes to water; set aside.
In large bowl, using a pastry blender by hand or food processor with the S blade, combine flour and salt until small pieces of butter remain. Slowly add about 5 tablespoons of ice water, using wooden spoon or processor to combine. (See a super flaky option in my notes)
Add apple cider vinegar and continue adding ice water until dough comes together.( 10 TBSP eventually worked for me). Shape dough into round disc, then cut in half and reshape into disc; wrap the discs tightly in plastic wrap or parchment paper and place back in fridge for 2 hours before rolling out. Chill the dough for 2 hours to prevent crust from falling.
Prepare the apple pie filling: You will need about 6 cups of your favorite apples.
Peel and core apples, cut down half of apple then place flat side down and cut into 1/4″ slices. Toss with brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, vanilla and lemon juice; set aside for 20-3o minutes. Preheat oven to 400ºF while the apples sit.
This is how my mother taught me to roll out and place the pie dough. Once I had done it a couple of times I totally got the hang of it so be patient with yourself.
Roll out the chilled dough: Sprinkle flour on flat surface and place one circle down and sprinkle top of circle as well. (Leave other pastry circle in fridge while you do this.) Gently roll out pie dough with a pastry roller, until you have a 12″ circle. Fold the pie dough in half, then again creating a triangle to move the dough to the pie dish. Unfold the dough and press into pie plate and up sides. Crimp sides of dough with knuckle and pinch with forefinger and thumb.
Add the filling: Take apple slices and start placing round side of apple against the outsides of the pie plate and then work your way to the middle. Keep layering apples like this until they are used up. Pour the leftover juices over filling.
Make the lattice crust: Roll out second pastry circle on floured surface until you get a 12″ circle. Using pizza cutter or very sharp knife, slice dough into 1/2″ pieces and start placing on top of pie dish, creating lattice design; tuck or pinch dough together for crust edge.
Using a pastry brush, smooth the egg wash over the pastry.
Place pie dish on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes uncovered at 400ºF. At this point, to make sure the pastry lattice is not overcooked, cover the pie with foil and drop oven temperature down to 375ºF and continue baking for 30-35 minutes – crust should be golden and apples look soft.
Remove pie from oven and allow to cool completely before serving. This pie is delicious by itself but for a special occasion, like Thanksgiving, add a scoop of regular or coconut ice cream for a decadent, but low sugar desert.
If you want to make the pie ahead of time you could refrigerate it for a day. Just make sure you wrap it tightly. Pie can be wrapped tightly and stored at room temperature 1 day ahead. Pie crust can be prepared and stored in fridge up to five days ahead. Leftovers are best kept in fridge.
Notes for Perfect Apple Pie:
For those readers who would like an extra flaky piecrust, replace the ice water with 1/2 cup of sour cream. This will also make your piecrust easier to handle.
Also: make sure your GF pastry flour has xanthum gum included and if not you will need to add 3/4 tsp to your flour mix.
Some people prefer a crumb crust and, if you do, just make half the pie crust for the bottom of the pie & replace the top pastry with this Perfect Crumb Topping recipe