As fall has arrived, a friend of mine went apple picking to the beautiful Hudson Valley last week. She was kind enough to surprise me with a big bag of apples when she returned to the city. I love apples, but I can only eat a small portion of raw apples. If I eat too much, I get a strange stomachache. At home, I watch over our refined sugar intake, especially as my daughter gets super hyperactive from it. Always tweaking recipes, I came up with the following apple pie. The recipe is made with butter, but I decided to use a substitute – vegan Earth Balance butter, since I have that all the time in my refrigerator.
Feel Good Apple Pie
(Recipe for a 12 inch diameter apple pie, yields 8 pie wedges)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour
¼ cup vegan butter such as Earth Balance
4 tablespoons cold water
4 large apples, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
1 ⅓ cups unrefined apple cider, I bought mine at the local farmers market
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons kudzu, potato starch or arrowroot can be substituted (more on kudzu at the end of this recipe)
- To make the crust, combine salt, pastry flour, and lastly the vegan butter. Mix well. Sprinkle the barley flour over this mixture, mix slightly, and add the cold water to make a thick ball.
- Quickly roll out between two sheets of wax paper.
- Shape the dough into a 12-inch circle and place it into a lightly greased pie pan. Crimp the edges at the top of the pan. With the tons of a fork, prick the bottom and sides of the piecrust - this way, the piecrust won't puff up and it will allow the liquid from the pie filling to soak into it, which makes it super tasty.
- Bake the piecrust for 15 minutes in the hot oven.
- Meanwhile, combine the apples with 1/3 cup of the apple juice and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Then mix-in cinnamon and lemon juice.
- Combine the thickener and remaining 1 cup of apple juice, stir until dissolved. Add mixture to the apples and simmer for about 1 minute or until thickened. Spoon the apples into the crust and pour the thickened mixture over them.
- Bake the pie for 40 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chef's tip: I topped my apple pie with 1 cup of crushed walnuts that were first toasted and caramelized in 3 tablespoons of maple syrup in a skillet over medium-heat setting and then cooled on an oiled plate. They had a dark-brown caramelized color with crunchy texture. In addition, I chopped them with a chef’s knife and then sprinkled them over the apple pie along some fresh pomegranate seeds.
A note on kudzu
Kudzu is an unrefined, gluten free root starch derived from a Japanese tree. Kudzus applications are versatile. It can be used to thicken soups, sauces, stews, etc. In general, it has to be mixed with a cold thin liquid, e.g., water, apple juice, and the like, in order to work.