Among the many things I made for Thanksgiving this year was a humble pie. 😉
Alright, so it wasn’t exactly humble…I had to doctor it up a bit (as with most things I make these days!).
Every year, I always make at least two pies. One is always pumpkin and the other is always apple. I play around with the toppings/fillings/flavors just to keep things interesting. I’m never into making the same thing twice, unless I absolutely have no choice. I enjoy pushing myself to be creative, especially while making desserts.
Pie is such a staple during Thanksgiving. I’ve had the generic double crusted apple and cinnamon pie so many times. I honestly never liked it all that much. When I started to bake, I fell back in love with cooked apples. There are so many uses for them (ehem, stuffing!) while making both savory and sweet dishes. I particularly like to add them into fillings to balance out salty or bitter flavors from other vegetables and fruits. What I decided to do with this pie is no different…
The only other amendment I made to Bob’s pie crust recipe is that I used a splash of apple cider vinegar with the other wet ingredients. This makes the crust a bit flakier, I’ve found. Plus, cider vinegar is magical and I like to throw it in anything I possibly can! ^_^
As for the filling, I used a mixture of granny smith and fuji apples. I like the balance of sweet and sour that these two varieties of apples provide to a filling. They retain a bit of their bite after cooking as well, which is wonderful for texture. (There’s nothing more disappointing than mushy apples! >_<)
I decided to get a little crazy and add some thick date caramel to the pie filling. This idea turned out to be a good one for a couple reasons…
1. The caramel adds some fruity sweetness which helped the over all flavor of the pie since I did not use cane sugar in the filling.
2. The caramel helped to bind the pie filling together with the streusel topping. It also added a creamy texture that was quite unexpected!
I never waste anything (if I can help it) while I cook. I had a sizable amount of leftover pie dough after rolling out 2 base crusts, so I cut it into my streusel topping! The topping isn’t an actual recipe, per se. I just cut in my leftover pie dough with coconut sugar to taste (brown sugar will do too), leftover almond pulp (from making almond milk!), a pinch of salt, and a generous amount of cinnamon (to taste as well). I also had to add some AP gluten free flour to obtain the correct level of dryness. This is something that I just eyeballed. Once the mixture feels like slightly moistened sand, it’s ready to use.
Date Caramel Apple Pie with Streusel Topping
Sources: Date Caramel Recipe by The Detoxinista; Filling Recipe, adapted from Plant Powered Kitchen
- 1 pre-formed pie crust (see note about recipe above), pricked with a fork*
- streusel topping**
- date caramel (recipe below)
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 Tb maple syrup
- 3 Tb tapioca starch
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 medium-large apples, peeled and thinly sliced (I used Fuji and Granny Smith)
* See image above for an example of “pie pricking” =P
** See passage above for my streusel “recipe”. If you don’t have almond pulp or leftover pie dough, you can use this recipe from Veganomicon, which is my go-to recipe for a basic streusel. It’s pretty fool-proof!
Oven 350 F.
- Place apple slices in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the spices, coconut sugar, tapioca, salt, maple syrup, and vinegar to the bowl. Toss to coat the apples completely. Let sit for about 10 minutes to create some juice.
- Place the prepared pie crust in the oven and par-bake for about 10 minutes, until it is slightly more dry.
- While the crust is par-baking, prepare the date caramel.
- Once the crust is finished, remove it from the oven and fill it with the apple mixture.
- Smooth the date caramel on top of the apples, evenly coating the apples. You may alternately mix it into the filling, but I liked the layers of texture.
- Top the pie with the streusel, evenly covering the entire surface. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, if desired.
- Bake the pie on a flat sheet tray at 35o F for about 50 minutes, preferably keeping the pie covered with foil for the first 35-40 minutes of baking. This will prevent the topping from browning too much.
- The pie is finished when the apples are tender when pricked with a tester or fork. Add time if needed in increments of 4-5 minutes. Let cool completely before serving, preferably in the fridge overnight (at the very least, 2 hours of chilling in the fridge will do it!)
- 1 cup soft, pitted dates (soaking them in water overnight and then draining will do the trick)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cider vinegar/lemon juice
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tb coconut oil/vegan butter
- Place all ingredients in a Vitamix for best results and blend until smooth. You may also use a food processor but it will take a while to smooth out completely.
- Place in fridge until ready to use. This is also good for apple dipping if you happen to have leftovers… ^_^
Happy Pie Making! ❤