Gluten free, Sugar free, No Bake Apple Pecan Pie

no bake apple pie
Two years ago at our Yoga Therapy Training, I served a gluten free, dairy free, no sugar added, homemade apple pie. The recipe was requested. It has taken me these years, but at long last, here, finally, it is.

Unfortunately, when I first came to write it up last month I couldn’t find the recipe. Fortunately, that meant I had to try it a few times before it came right again, and that meant a lot of apple pies this autumn. Yes, we are blessed!

raw-gf-apple-pie

The saying An apple a day… is truer than everApples support your liver to help your body process and releases toxins in our air, water, food – more important now than ever. Apples help clear your colon, also more important than ever – as everyone, even mother earth, needs extra support now in eliminating waste.

Apples are good for your bloodeyes, skin. Apples are cool, so they are Pitta-reducing and anti-inflammatory. They are sweet, so they are Vata-reducing and tonifying – especially when sliced, tossed in fresh lemon juice, and sprinkled with cinnamon, as in this recipe. They are also light enough to be good for Kapha, reducing blood sugar and helping you feel full with less, thanks to so much fabulous fiber.

That makes apples tridoshic, meaning they love everyone, so everyone gets to enjoy this super food, super “free”, super pie!

sweetie apple

Be sure you use your favorite apple. Since they aren’t going to be cooked, they will taste in the pie the way they taste in your hand when you eat straight from the fruit basket. I used “Sweetie” apples, but anything fresh, crunchy and sweet will be good.

For the decoration, I wanted some red so used a Fuji, but a crispy green apple would give a lovely color, too.

apple pecan pie

I added a bit of almond butter to make it an extra high protein, high fiber, high nutritional meal I could have for breakfast, or for the kids as a midday snack. The almond butter makes the filling a bit more caramel-y, but if you feel that is too nutty for you, leave it out. It’s still great.

Also, if you are allergic to nuts you can skip the pecans and just make a crust of dates. Yes, just dates. Or, if it’s safe for you, add a tablespoon of coconut oil, and/or toasted sunflower seeds,

If you want it fully raw, skip the pecan toasting. I’ve done it that way and it works, too. But toasting draws the divine essence from pecans, giving golden, nutty grounding to the crisp, sunburst of the apple.

glutenfree apple pie

Easy, No Bake Apple Pecan Pie

Pie Crust:

2 c Pecans
10 Medjool Dates, pits removed
1 T Coconut Oil
A hearty pinch of Himalayan Salt
A pinch of Cinnamon
A dash Nutmeg

Pie Filling:

6 Apples
6 Medjool Dates, seeds removed
1 Lemon, juiced
2 T Almond Butter, optional
1 T Raw Honey, also optional
1 hefty pinch of Himalayan Salt
1 hearty dash of Cinnamon
1 light dusting of Cardamom, optional
1/4 c Chia Seeds

To make the crust:

Toast the pecans until they are very lightly brown. Put them aside. In your electric blender, macerate the dates. Add the coconut oil and spices and mix. Toss in the pecans and pulse lightly three times, just enough to break up and integrate with the dates, but careful not to turn this into pecan butter.

Press the crust into a pie dish (mine is 9.5″). Cover with a plate facing up so the slight bowl of the plate presses into the crust and so that the crust is entirely covered. Place in your refrigerator if you have a few hours before filling, or into your freezer if you don’t.

To make the filling: 

Again, start with the dates. Blend on high speed until they are completely mashed. Juice your lemon and set aside 1 tablespoon for later. Add the lemon juice, almond butter honey and spices to the dates and blend well. Slice your apples and add. Blend until the mixture starts resembling a very chunky apple sauce. Add the chia seeds. Pulse a few times to blend thoroughly. Pour this mixture onto the pie crust. Spread evenly. Cover (I turn the plate that was sitting on the crust over and use to cover) and place in your fridge. Allow to set at least four hours.

apple pie

Garnish: 

This doesn’t need a topping, but if you like the apple rose on top, just core an apple and slice very, very thin. To keep the slices from browning as you slice, put each slice as you cut into a bowl with that remaining lemon juice. Once all the pieces are cut and in the bowl, sprinkle a dash or two of cinnamon and toss. The set each piece, one by one, in an overlapping circle around the outer edge. Continue making smaller circles towards the middle until the pie is covered. Then set a pecan or a few thin slices of lemon rind in the very center.

This is so simple and so quick: apart from the 4 hours in the refrigerator to let the chia seeds do their work, you can make this start-to-finish in 15 minutes.

apple pie

I guess you could call this a trick on a treat, because it seems like dessert, yet it’s delightfully good for you. Let me know if you try it, and any variations you enjoy.

being silly at the bay: napping after a yoga therapy training picnic
being silly at the bay :: protecting from the sun :: napping after a yoga therapy training picnic

What sort of tricks or treats are you doing this hallowed e’en?

Apple Pie

Apple Pie a la creme

For Thanksgiving this year my mother made Aunt Mary’s traditional “The Frost is on the Pumpkin” Pie with spiced, frothy cream. It was light and delicious. My mother is a great cook – and knows how to craft inspiring beauty, so all her creations are like works of art.

But I was taken this year, especially, with the Apple Pie my brother made as it had such a delicious, crispy crust supporting tart, flavorful apples. After such a heavy meal, this pie, with a little creme fraiche, seemed the perfect balance, to both palate and belly.

Of course nothing smells as good as apple pie baking in the oven, or is so reminiscent of our nourishing traditions, or is so fundamentally associated with simpler times. Best of all, it is easy to master and a joy to make. This delicious recipe, adapted from Apple Pie Perfect, by Ken Haedrich (The Harvard Common Press, 2002), replaces white sugar with brown for a somewhat healthier version.

Ingredients:

1 double crust pastry, refrigerated (his book has a recipe for “All-American Double Crust” pastry, you can find your own, or purchase at your Healthy Grocer)
8 cups peeled, cored, and sliced apples
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into little pieces
Glaze
Milk
Granulated sugar

If you haven’t already, prepare the pastry and refrigerate for at least one hour, until firm enough to roll.

On a sheet of lightly floured wax paper, roll the larger portion of pastry into a 13 1/2-inch circle with a floured rolling pin. Invert the pastry over a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Center it, then peel off the paper. Gently tuck the pastry into the pan, without stretching it, and let the overhang drape over the edge of the pan. Refrigerate. Preheat the oven to 400F.

While the pie shell chills, make the filling. Combine the apples, brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl; toss well to mix. Set aside while you roll the top pastry.

On another sheet of lightly floured wax paper, roll the other half of the pastry into an 11 1/2-inch circle. Turn the filling into the refrigerated pie shell, smoothing the apples with your hands. Dot the top of the pie with butter, dropping the pieces here and there over the apples.

Lightly moisten the rim of the pie shell with a wet finger or pastry brush. Invert the top pastry over the filling, center it, then peel off the paper. Press the top and bottom pastries together along the dampened edge. Trim the pastry with scissors or a paring knife, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang all around, then sculpt the overhang into an upstanding ridge. Make several 2-inch-long slits in the top pastry, at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions; the bottom of each slit should just reach the ege of the pie. Lightly brush the top pastry with milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Place the pie directly on the center oven rack and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and place it on a large, dark baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Reduce the oven temperature to 375F. Put the pie on the baking sheet back in the oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes; when the pie is done, you should be able to see the juices bubbling up onto the crust.

Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and let cool for at least an hour before slicing. However, when one doesn’t use any thickener in a pie, the author thinks it’s best to let the pie cool to room temperature before slicing. Many people —those who like a juicy pie—don’t agree on this point!