Autumn and the abundance of apples have my attention right now. Most people have pumpkin on the brain, but because of the amazing variety of apples we’ve been exposed to via our Fresh Boxes, I’ve been thinking a lot about apple dishes. While creeping on some of my favorite cooks’ and chefs’ social media accounts, I’ve noticed a lot of people creating tarts or dumplings and mostly, savory dishes (which is my favorite application of the apple) pairing with pork loin, baked chicken or even potatoes and bacon. 

I’ve shared before that 1) I am a cook, not a baker and 2) I am not into fruity desserts. However, I’ve been trying to learn and grow and part of that is learning how to bake, and trying out new things that I once thought I didn’t like. It’s been an awesome journey. I now love bell peppers, cabbage, dragon fruit, fruity galettes and cranberries! So – in looking to expand my mind and creativity, while also considering particular dietary restrictions or options rather for some of my friends and family, I’ve been focused on vegan and gluten-free options when possible. 

With the influx of apples in our Fresh Boxes, I went out about a week ago and bought frozen gluten-free pie crusts. Making GF pie crust isn’t difficult, I just chose that option as both a time saver and because I am inexperienced and really wanted to figure out pie filling — I’ve only really had success with chocolate pies! So…I looked up recipes for apple pie filling and a crumble topping, made some personal changes to them, created my own recipe and it turned out pretty darn tasty! Here’s what I’ve got as we travel farther into the season of the APPLE!!! Enjoy!

Autumn Skies & Apple Pies

Prep Time:  30 Minutes

Cook Time:  35-45 Minutes

Rest/Set Time: 1-2 Hours (you can refrigerate to speed up the cooling)

Yields: 2 Pies / 12 Servings

Ingredients & Prep Instructions: (bold ingredients found in your Fresh Box or at Jacksonville Fresh Market/Shop this week): 

  • 8 Apples (your choice) – medium to large dice (chunks)
  • 4 TBSP Lemon Juice
  • 1 CUP & ¼ CUP of Brown Sugar (1 CUP for Filling / ¼ CUP for Crumble Topping)
  • 1 ½ STICK of Vegan Butter (cold) – I use Earth Balance
  • 5 CUPS of Water
  • ¾ CUP of Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour
  • ⅔ CUP of Cornstarch
  • 1 TSP Cinnamon
  • ¼ TSP Ground Nutmeg
  • ¼ TSP Ground Ginger
  • 1 Pack of Gluten-Free Pie Crusts (I use Wholly Wholesome frozen 9” pie shells)

The order of things: 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Set Pie Crusts out to thaw (10-20 minutes)
  • Prepare Filling
  • Prepare Topping
  • Assemble Pies and Bake
  • Let Cool and Enjoy!

What you’ll need: 

  • Aluminum Foil
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • 1 Large Saute Pan (or a deeper pot for the filling)
  • 1 Large Baking Sheet
  • 1 Mixing Bowl

Instructions for PREMADE PIE CRUSTS (this doesn’t require a blind bake):  

  1. Set out your frozen pie crusts to thaw for 10-20 minutes. If your preparation of the pie filling and topping end up taking you a bit longer than that, make sure the pie crust is thawed and then put it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to fill.

Instructions for FILLING:                                                 

  1. Sprinkle lemon juice on apple pieces in a bowl, set aside.
  2. On medium heat, in a large saute or sauce pan, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and water…while bringing to a low boil, slowly add in the cornstarch while continuing to stir. Add 4 TBSP of butter to finish once everything is incorporated. Your sauce should be thickening as you incorporate.
  3. Add the apples to the saucepan and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes until the apples have reduced slightly and softened (they should still keep their shape though)
  4. Put your apple pie filling to the side to cool almost completely (this is a good step to do a day ahead or in the morning to leave and then bake your pies in the afternoon/evening time) 

Instructions for TOPPING: 

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine all purpose GF flour, brown sugar and cold chunks of vegan butter. (you can freeze a stick of butter so that when you break it apart into small pieces, it keeps it’s form – your topping will turn out better this way – it’s the same as if you were making a flaky biscuit dough – don’t over mix and try to make sure the butter is as cold as possible when incorporating)

Recipe Notes: 

In the future, I will likely slice my apples and arrange them in a cool pattern for presentation purposes. 

I didn’t peel the skin off my apples – there are a ton of nutrients in the skin and luckily the apples we get in our Fresh Boxes are unwaxed so no worries with invisible and unhealthy additions to our dessert!

This recipe is vegan, nut-free and gluten-free and wowza, does it taste awesome! I wish that the stigma of these kinds of foods wasn’t so negative! There are so many options for everyone – you just have to be open to them. 

It never hurts to try something new…or something old. I’ve had apple pie a few times in my life, but it’s never made my favorite dessert list, or even the list of things I’m looking most forward to eating at the holidays…it’s ALWAYS PECAN PIE or CHOCOLATE anything…BUT – with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, I might just have a piece of apple pie this holiday season! 

Apples are amazing! Remember that apples are some of the best of nature’s candy, they are one of the most portable foods, they are sweet or tart, good for all dietary types, they work as a sweet or savory ingredient and you can use applesauce as an egg substitute! 

A Note from Tawny’s Kitchen:

“Time ripens the substance of a life as the seasons mellow and perfect its fruits. The best apples fall latest and keep longest.” – Amos Bronson Alcott