It’s here, It’s here, It’s finally HERE!!!!
A delicious slice of homemade gluten free apple pie is waiting for you.
Well, actually I didn’t save you a slice….err sorry. BUT you can totally make this recipe yourself. And if you are like me, a tough pie critic with very little knowledge of how to actually bake pies just trust me, if I can do it, you can do it!
Making an apple pie has been on my list forever. And by forever I mean since 8th grade! Allow me to explain.
My grandma was a very skilled pie maker. She always made her own crusts by hand and never followed a recipe for the crust, she knew it by feel and by heart.
The pies I remember her making most frequently were apple, lemon meringue, rhubarb, and pumpkin. Apple was by far my favorite, followed by pumpkin, especially on Thanksgiving. Every family gathering or event the first question I would ask her was, “what kind of pie did you make?”. She would answer with whatever kind of pie it was and sometimes followed with a concern for making a mistake in the baking time or that the dough might be tough, or something. No matter what she said, I always thought her pies were perfect and that they were always out-of-this-world delicious.
My mom always wanted me to learn how to make pies from Grandma Bena. BTW Grandma Bena is short for Rubena. My cousin couldn’t fully pronounce Grandma Rubena when she was little, so Grandma Bena stuck. Anyways, whenever I tried to learn Grandma Bena’s pie baking skills, it was while she was baking a pie for a special occasion, so she was under the pressure to make a good pie. My lessons turned into more of an observation than actually learning anything.
Over 10 years later I can still taste how flaky, buttery and delicate her crusts were. How each bite of baked cinnamon-spiced apple hugged by that flaky crust would almost melt in my mouth. To me, my Grandma’s apple pies were comfort food to the max. They were the taste of holidays – Christmas in Texas with my cousins. Those pies were laced with pure love from my grandma. Each bite was like a hug.
Who knew a pie could do so much?
Obviously I have had apple pies since my grandma passed away, some have come close but none have truly tasted as good as my grandma’s pie. Until now.
Honestly, I am not saying that just because I want you to make this apple pie. I am saying that because I haven’t had an apple pie since my grandma that has made me as happy as this one.
Okay, it wasn’t EXACTLY the same as I remember my grandma’s pies, because I am not her. BUT it was as close as I have had. You guys, I can’t even tell you how amazing it felt to finally set aside the doubts I held for myself and make some apple pie. I think my grandma would be proud.
And to top it all off this apple pie is gluten free!!! To make a flaky, tender pie crust that is gluten free that doesn’t actually taste gluten free is an accomplishment of its own, let alone how the filling tastes.
I can’t take credit for the pie crust. I knew I would never attempt a gluten free apple pie if I tried to create my own gluten free pie crust recipe. So, I adapted the recipe from America’s Test Kitchen. They really know the science behind baking. There are a few unusual ingredients in this crust: rice vinegar which helps to keep the crust tender and sour cream which helps to add richness that holds up to the starchy texture of gluten free flour blends. Seriously, it worked. Thanks America’s Test Kitchen!!!! You rock!
One more note about the crust: the brand of gluten free flour blend you use is really important! I highly recommend Cup4cup Multipurpose Gluten Free Flour. It can be a bit on the pricey side, I have suggestions on where to find the best price in the recipe notes below.
Really, though, how often are you going to make pie? Not often, and when you do you want it to be the amazing pie that gives you all the feels, so it’s worth the splurge.
Trust me, the cup4cup flour makes a huge difference. The first flour blend I used resulted in a tough crust that was pretty disappointing. I mean we still ate the entire pie, but it didn’t give me all the feels.
I used a food processor to cut the butter into my crust because I am lazy. I think my grandma used some sort of old school pastry cutter, I’m not sure how to even describe it. She was legit, you guys. Then again my grandma didn’t even own a microwave. I’m all about the modern conveniences. Make the food processor do the muscle work for me!
This gluten free apple pie recipe is a little different than my most of my recipes. Normally I strive to use refined sugar free sweeteners and healthier, unprocessed flours. BUT this recipe was an exception. My only goal was to make a gluten free apple pie that tasted as close to my grandma’s apple pie as I could get. So, I didn’t change the ingredients of the filling much from the “recipe” my aunt sent me. I say “recipe” because my aunt had several different notes on what she wrote down when she asked my grandma for the recipe. Remember how I said my grandma didn’t write her recipes down?
Anyways, the first time I made the pie I did swap coconut sugar for regular refined sugar. It was good, but the molasses-y, caramel-y flavor from the coconut sugar overpowered the apples. The second time I used organic cane sugar, which allowed the apples to shine like the star they are!
Sorry coconut sugar…but you’re sitting on the bench this time.
For the flour, of course there are coconut flour crust recipes out there, and I have made such things. They’re good, and you should make them. BUT they were never what I truly wanted in a crust. And sometimes you just have to make a recipe to feed your heart and soul.
You guys, I cannot tell you enough how much I LOVE this gluten free apple pie. It seriously filled me with so much joy to make and then eat this gluten free apple pie.
Those tart granny smith apples baked with just enough sugar for the right sweet balance. That warming cinnamon and nutmeg, that flaky, tender, and buttery pie crust…it’s seriously my idea of heaven.
This gluten free apple pie would be the perfect dessert for Thanksgiving or even Christmas, or just when you want some homemade apple pie. The smell of the apple pie baking in your oven will be enough to make you feel all cozy and warm.
I truly hope you enjoy this gluten free apple pie as much as I did, it’s near and dear to my heart. I feel like I had so many things to say about this recipe. Thanks for being here to share these moments with me!
- Gluten Free Pie Crust (for 2 pie shells)
- 5 tablespoons ice cold water (or more as needed)
- 2½ cups all purpose gluten free flour*
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar, or organic cane sugar
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if flour blend you're using already has xanthan gum in it)
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into half inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons full fat sour cream
- rice flour or other inexpensive gluten free flour, for dusting
- 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
- Apple pie filling:
- 6 to 7 cups Granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced (about 6 to 8 large apples)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¾ to 1 cup organic cane sugar**
- Juice of half lemon
- 1½ tablespoons unsalted pats of butter
- Freeze the butter: Place the cubed butter in the freezer for 15 minutes. Don't skip this step, it's really important the butter is super cold.
- Cut the butter into the flour: Place the flour, salt, sugar, and xanthan gum (if using) into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to incorporate the dry ingredients together. Add half of the cold butter cubes into the flour, pulse only a few times. Add the remaining butter and pulse until the butter is about the size of peas.
- Incorporate the wet ingredients: Add the rice vinegar, sour cream, and 3 tablespoons of the ice water to the flour. Pulse a few times until incorporated. Add the remainder of the water and pulse until small crumbs form or a dough ball forms. Take some of the dough and squeeze in in your hands, if the dough sticks together then it's ready, if it looks dry and crumbly add a little more water at a time.
- Wrap and freeze: Turn the flour out onto a floured, flat work surface. It will be a crumbly mess, but that's okay. Use your hands to form the crumbs into a dough ball.. Use rice flour (or other gluten free flour) if it's too sticky or add splashes of ice water if too dry. Divide the dough into two even disks and wrap each one in plastic wrap. Freeze for at least 2 hours before you work with the dough. OR freeze it for up to 6 months. If using the dough the next day then you can keep it in the fridge overnight.
- Make the apple pie filling: preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and pull your dough out of the freezer/fridge to defrost for about 15 minutes. Place all of the ingredients for the pie filling into a large mixing bowl, EXCEPT for the butter. Stir until well combined. Set aside.
- Roll out dough: Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper. Dust your rolling pin and top of the dough with rice flour or other GF flour. Roll from the center out, until you have a nice even crust that is about ¼ inch thick and larger than your 9 inch pie plate. Your dough may crack, that's okay, use your fingers to pinch it back together as best as you can. Use the parchment paper to flip the crust into the pie plate, peel off the parchment paper and adjust the crust as necessary. Cut off excess crust, leaving some extra for crimping. If there are any cracks you can patch them up with the excess dough.
- Fill pie: Transfer the apple filling to the pie plate withthe bottom crust. Scatter the pats of butter on top of the filling. Brush the beaten egg on the edges of the bottom crust (this helps to seal the bottom and top crusts together).
- Roll out the second dough: Follow the same directions for the bottom crust.
- Crimp the edges: Pinch together the top and bottom crusts together and crimp as desired. Cut off any excess dough or fold it under for a thicker crust.
- Egg Wash the crust: Brush a light layer of the beaten egg over the top and edges of the crust, helps the crust to turn golden brown. Use a sharp knife to cut 4 slits in the center of the crust so that steam can escape.
- Bake the pie: Cover the edges of the crust with foil or a pie shield, place the pie on a baking sheet lined with foil to catch any spills. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling up and your house smells amazing!
- Cool: Allow the pie to cool for at least 4 hours. Don't cut into it warm it will fall apart and the juices will run out. It's so worth the wait. Store leftovers, covered at room temp for 2 days. After 2 days transfer to the fridge for a few more days.
I also tested this recipe with King Aruthur's All purpose gluten free flour. It was harder to work with. It yielded a tougher crust than cup4cup. In a pinch it was okay, but I still recommend cup4cup.
If you don't need to make this recipe gluten free then you can use regular all purpose white flour and omit the xanthan gum, sour cream, and rice vinegar and follow the remainder of the recipe as is.
**Normally I use coconut sugar in place of regular sugar but I found the caramel flavor of the coconut sugar to overpower the apples. I preferred the pie made with organic cane sugar. Of course, it was still good with the coconut sugar, if you want to go the refined sugar free route.
Crust recipe is adapted from Just a Pinch, originally adapted from America's Test Kitchen