Apple Harvest Pie
- Gluten-free pie shells from Whole Foods: As with Everything-Whole-Foods, these pie shells are pricey ($7.99 for a package of two shells as of yesterday) BUT in this case, they’re worth the cost. I use both shells to make one pie. (Also, you could buy a Gluten-free pie shell mix, but those are about $5 a package, and you have to do all the work. Believe me, the $7.99 pie shells are worth every penny.)
- 7-8 good-sized apples (if you’re using small apples, throw in an extra three or so)
- 1 lemon (you can use a couple of limes if in a pinch)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup gluten-free flour (I like rice flour best, but a general mix of gluten-free baking flours also works well)
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- a few pads of butter (preferably unsalted, but salted works, too)
- 1 egg yolk
- handful of white sugar
- Turn on oven to 350 degrees.
- Thaw the gluten-free pie shells slightly, but not too long, only about an hour, else it will be hard to get the one out of its shell to use as the cover.
- Peel, core, and cut into thin slices the apples. Put the apple slices in a large bowl and add to them the juice of 1 lemon. Also add finely shredded lemon peel, just a few swipes against the small part of the grater. Add the vanilla. Mix well to coat all the apple slices with lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla. (I ran out of lemons recently but had a bunch of limes. I used three, since they don’t produce much juice, and I skipped the zest part. It worked beautifully.)
- In a separate, larger bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: brown sugar, flour, and spices. The trick to making great apple pie filling is to make sure your dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed before adding them to the apples, which are nice and wet with the lemon juice and vanilla. Add the apples to the mixed dry ingredients. You’ll know you have enough moisture in the apples if you start to see a nice caramely-looking goo appearing as you mix everything together.
- Pour the apple pie filling into one of the pie shells. Make sure you scrape out all of the goo from the bowl. You don’t want your apple filling to be dry. Top the apple filling with four small pads of butter.
- Take the remaining shell and cut away the zig-zag edge. You only need enough crust to cover the pie. Carefully place the second pie crust onto the apple pie. If it breaks, that’s fine. In fact, my saying is, The uglier the crust, the better the pie. Gently press together, as if stitching, the top crust to the edge of the bottom crust. Since the pie crust is sure to break as you’re placing it on top, you won’t need to make vent slits, BUT if you manage to get the top crust on without any breakage, make two or three slits with a knive. I also use the leftover edging from the second crust to make cool designs, or if my pie crust has broken too much, to patch it up. My girls love crust, so the edging always gets used.
- Finally, brush the pie crust with egg yolk, and then sprinkle a handful of sugar over your pie crust. This will make the pie crust turn out nicely browned and gorgeous.
- Bake for about 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the pie filling bubbling. Cool for at least an hour before you dig in.
Note: I adapted the pie filling recipe from Paula Deen’s Food Network site. On the pie crusts, you can also use store-bought shells that are not Gluten-free (and, hence, not expensive). These days the store-bought pie crusts are so good that it’s almost not worth making your crust. (Does that sound sacrilege to the purists out there? If so, Paula Deen’s site includes a link to a homemade pie crust.)
Enjoy your fall apples!
-Related to posts Apples For Sale and Pies Across America.