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Thanksgiving 2014: Date Caramel Apple Pie with Streusel Topping


     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 crust I made was a little less than half of a doubled recipe that you can find here.  Now, yes, normally I would make my own flour blend from scratch.  However, sometimes life ruins thngs and I have to “cut corners”.  Bob’s Red Mill saved my day with their pie crust dry mix.  I just veganized it by using vegan butter.  I’ve also used refined coconut oil in place of butter.  It tastes great, but is a bit more difficult to work with as it gets warm very quickly.  
     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!  

Picture

Dat crumb dough.


     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

Picture

Yield: 1-9″ pie (8-10 servings)
Sources: Date Caramel Recipe by The Detoxinista; Filling Recipe, adapted from Plant Powered Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 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!


Instructions
Oven 350 F.

  1. Place apple slices in a large mixing bowl.  
  2. 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.
  3. Place the prepared pie crust in the oven and par-bake for about 10 minutes, until it is slightly more dry.
  4. While the crust is par-baking, prepare the date caramel.
  5. Once the crust is finished, remove it from the oven and fill it with the apple mixture.  
  6. 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.
  7. Top the pie with the streusel, evenly covering the entire surface.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, if desired.
  8. 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.  
  9. 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!)

Date Caramel 

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Place in fridge until ready to use.  This is also good for apple dipping if you happen to have leftovers… ^_^

     Happy Pie Making! ❤

One thought on “Thanksgiving 2014: Date Caramel Apple Pie with Streusel Topping

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