Monday 29 September 2014

World's Healthiest Apple Pie {Gluten & Sugar Free with a No Butter Crust!}

Pie has always been something that has intimidated me. Especially because most of my desserts feature healthier ingredients.

What healthy ingredient is in pie?! Usually just the fruit. And at the point where the pie becomes, well,  pie then even the fruit retains few of it's health benefits.



Sorry. I usually have your back. But this pie is: Gluten Free? CHECK. Sugar Free? CHECK! Absolutely incredible, fragrant, delicious and warm? CHECK CHECK CHECK!

And with a simple modification, it's Vegan, too!

My house was abuzz with excitement when I proposed Saturday the day that pie shall be made. I had been talking about it for quite some time and knew I had to just jump in.

I was frightened to pieces. I did research and thought long and hard about how I would write the recipe and what I would do and I was incredibly nervous.

People complain that ordinary pie is an arduous task and I was making my first ever pie with a recipe I made up!

But I prayed and I wished and I paced and I think that extra bit of pacing really did the trick!

This is apple pie.

The house smelled like APPLE PIE. I couldn't believe it worked.

But taste is the ultimate test. I gathered around my family after my mom sent my brother to the store for vanilla ice cream. We can't have it without ice cream!

And I served the first slice.

Oh. My. Goodness. Gracious. Oh. Oh. MY.

The crisp crust of the pie is the most delicious thing I have ever tasted. The inside was slightly warm with apples sliding out ever so gently coated in a thick and delicious sweet sauce balanced by the natural and wholesome tartness of the apples.

I have not had pie since I was a little girl. And I really did feel like I could cry while I was eating this. Seeing everyone so happy and so shocked that they were eating a pie made with natural ingredients was really an amazing feeling.

I genuinely hope that you can share this with someone else who has maybe been missing pie for a long time! Or if their pie of choice is pumpkin -- I got you covered right here.

Oh! And I almost forgot! See that beautiful top? I made it by cutting out maple leafs! It is Fall after all and as a true Canadian -- the maple leaf is just as iconic and necessary now as ever! Layer them however you like over your apples and that's it! You can use any shapes you like or stick to a traditional pie top or lattice pattern!

Now I know you are wondering how this mystical healthy pie is made -- so be patient, grab some tea and read ALL INSTRUCTIONS before proceeding. It is super important with pies to know what to expect before hand so you can troubleshoot if problems arise. Never be discouraged and make sure to set aside plenty of time for your pie-making adventure! I promise it's worth it!

World's Healthiest Apple Pie 

Yields 1 9-inch Pie (Double Layer) 


For the Crust

  • 2 cups gluten free all purpose flour (plus extra for rolling)*
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut oil, frozen (for a more luxurious flavour use 2 tablespoons regular or vegan butter instead of the additional 2 tablespoons coconut oil!) 
  • 8-12 tablespoons ice water
  • 8-12 tablespoons cold greek or *non-dairy yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 
  • Optional: 2 - 4 tablespoons sugar of choice (coconut sugar, cane sugar, sweetener) 
  • Optional: 1 egg (adds flakiness and helps with structure) 

Baker's Note: You made need as much as 12-14 spoons of yogurt and water -- EACH! Keep extra handy. It depends on climate and the type of flour you are using. The key is to form a slightly sticky cohesive dough. Use as much or as little as you need to get there!

* Some non-dairy yogurt is TOO gelatinous/gummy for a gluten free flour mixture that already has thickeners.  Greek yogurt works the best but if going dairy-free aim for a dairy free yogurt that is creamy and rich as opposed to gummy!*

For the Pie Filling
  • 5 large firm apples, peeled and sliced (I used Fiji)**
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons gluten free flour
  • 1/4 cup liquid sweetener (honey, agave, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, etc) 
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch of sea salt 
  • 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water or just 1/3 cup non-dairy milk for a vegan wash!
  • Optional : Coarse sugar or sea salt to sprinkle on top of pie 

*My favourite gluten free flour blend can be found over here and  is a 1:1:1:1 ratio of coconut flour, oat flour, brown rice flour and tapioca flour with a pinch of xanthan gum and a pinch of corn starch -- I make large batches ahead of time when I want a very finely milled flour that is similar to 'white' flour 

**Want a pie that is overfilled and has a nice high dome? Use 6 apples instead!


For the Crust 

  1. In a large bowl add flour, sugar (if using) and sea salt and mix gently
  2. Take frozen coconut oil and grate it into the flour mixture gently stirring your dough together (it takes some elbow grease, but grating it makes the rest easier!) and you should get a mixture that looks like sand crumbs -- you can alternatively use a food processor for this if it's strong enough to shred the frozen coconut oil!
  3. Add ice water and yogurt one tablespoon at a time until you have a dough that stays together -- you may need more or less depending on your flour so have extra handy but only add it one tablespoon at a time so your dough does not become too sticky -- if you choose to add an egg you may knead it into the dough gentle at this stage until fully combined
  4. Knead dough into a ball until the dough sticks together 
  5. The consistency you want is closer to 'sticky' then a normal pie crust -- you will let it chill until it's workable and you want a more sticky dough because the flour will be drying and you don't want your dough to break when working with it
  6. Roll dough into a ball and place it in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap or parchment paper while you make the filling
For Filling

  1. In a large bowl add your peeled and sliced apples making sure your apples are all sliced in uniform size so they bake evenly
  2. If peeling apples is taking a while, toss the apples that are already cut and sliced with the lemon juice to keep them from browning too much 
  3. Add all other ingredients and toss gently until your apples are fully combined
  4. Cover your mixture while you roll out your dough

Pie Assembly

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit 
  • Set aside a 9-inch pie plate near your work surface 
  • Take your pie dough from the fridge and roll it out either on a floured surface or between two sheets of parchment paper until you have a thin layer of dough that is around 1/4 inch thick
  • Using your rolling pin that is heavily floured you may choose to roll the dough onto the rolling pin and then unroll it onto your plate 
  • Another option is to place your pie plate as close to the dough as possible and lift it gently onto the plate while it's still on the parchment paper and then peeling the parchment paper off -- when complete,  press dough into the sides of the plate gently and cut off the excess
  • If desired crimp the edges at this stage with a fork and poke a few holes in the bottom of your crust with a fork
  • At this stage you should have half your dough left which you can place in the fridge to keep cool or cover with parchment or a cloth 
  • Place your filling into the crust ensuring the apples lay flat and are layered evenly
  • For the top you can roll it out the same way as for the bottom layer and place on top of pie pressing the edges together with your fingers making a slice on the top for air to escape
  • My option was to roll out the dough and cut out shapes to arrange on the top layer of the pie until the dough was finished
  • The final step is putting on an egg wash with an egg white or whole egg that is whisked
  • If you are vegan feel free to brush on melted coconut oil, vegetable oil or non-dairy milk instead
  • Brush on your egg wash or non-egg wash on the top layer of your pie and at this stage, if desired, sprinkle with coarse sugar or organic cane sugar (just a teaspoon or two  is all it takes!) 
  • Bake pie at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until top is slightly browned
  • After 20 minutes reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cover your pie with aluminum foil and let bake for an additional 40-45 minutes (or longer if necessary)
  • Your pie will be finished when the apple filling begins to bubble and your crust has a beautiful golden brown colour 
  • An additional step (speaking of the bubbling) is to stick a baking sheet on the rack underneath your pie! My filling spilled over and made a little bit of a mess which I then prevented by placing a baking sheet underneath! 

Baker's Notes: Remember pies can be fickle -- never be discouraged! My pie crust cracked when I went to move it but I didn't stress! Just push the rips and tears together et voila! 

If you notice your pie is too sticky add a touch more flour and to prevent it from drying out remember to keep it cold and keep it covered if you aren't using it!

Pie is not for the frantic. Pick a day and time where you can enjoy the process. Em-pie-er state of mind, OK?

Here are some process shots:

How beautiful is that filling? I ate quite a few ... you know...for safety.

You want to roll out your dough evenly, rotating the dough if necessary so you get a large round piece of dough! 

This is what the pie looks like before it's baked! See what a different a bit of a wash over top does to the colour? The pastry is quite light because the mixture of flours I used. I am really loving the mix, actually, and made a very large portion of it the other day. It is a 1:1:1:1 ratio of coconut flour, tapioca flour, oat flour and brown rice flour with a pinch of xanthan gum and corn starch. You can off course use your own favourite gluten free flour blend but I really suggest using the one I suggested because it is my favourite! I did include a note in the recipe but it is my new absolute go-to flour. I just mix everything in a large air tight container so I have it when I need it! It's the most similar to wheat flour, I have found.

Soooo beautiful. I just looked at this pie longingly, for what felt like an eternity.

Something you don't know about me is I sing about everything. I make up songs on a daily basis. Parodies, original ballads, you name it.

I sang many songs about pies and my family found this to be quite entertaining. Or they were horrified. Maybe both.

I really love this picture above. It took a lot of me standing on various objects to get it...but oh my was it ever worth it. It just screams FALL FALL FALL! Mmmmm.

And on a final note, I expect you would like some proof that this is indeed a legitimate and delicious pie from the inside as well.

Did I mention you can not only top it with your favourite ice cream (vegan, dairy free or whichever you prefer!) but you can drizzle it with caramel sauce in cinnamon?

OH I didn't? My bad! Well, you can.


How do you like THEM my pie?

Hopefully you like them A LOT and you make this recipe for a special occasion or just because. Who needs excuses to eat pie?

Plus this recipe makes those pie crust fanatics really happy. Look at all that crust in the middle where the leaves are piled up! OH MY MY APPLE OF MY PIE. Delicious.

Happy Apple Peeling and Pie Making!



  1. Replies
    1. Thank you so much! It was absolutely delicious and the maple leaves just screamed FALL to me!

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