I was actually planning to make mince pies this Christmas season but instead, apple pies popped out of my oven! Don’t worry, this wasn’t some freak accident, it was actually because I kept forgetting to go to the store to get brandy for the mince pies.
If you’re not British, then you’re probably a bit confused and maybe more than a little intrigued by mince pies and why they would have brandy in them. So let me reassure you quickly that a mince pie is most decidedly not a carnivorous dish! The mincemeat that forms the filling of these pies is predominantly made from dried fruits (like raisins) and the peel from oranges and lemons (and also a helping of brandy, of course).
Anyways, back to the apple pie…the difficult part of this was the pastry. It was difficult to get almond flour to exhibit that stretchy texture of gluten-filled pastry, so I added my secret ingredient…
Here’s what it looks like after the wet ingredients are added in.
After kneading the dough for a few minutes, it will form something almost like traditional dough, although it’ll still be rather soft and will break easily. That’s why you have to be very gentle when creating the pie crust.
I took half the dough and placed it between two pieces of parchment paper and rolled it into a large flat circle (big enough to fill up a 9-inch pie pan). This handy pizza roller made rolling out the dough easy (and it’s easy to store since it’s so much smaller than a large rolling pin). Note: the dough can be stickier than traditional dough, so it’s much much easier to roll it out between two pieces of parchment paper!
Then you transfer the pastry carefully into your pie pan. The pastry is prone to breaking, so the easiest way to transfer it is by peeling off the top layer of parchment paper, holding onto the bottom layer of parchment paper, and flipping the pastry into the pan (as pictured below).
After peeling off the parchment paper, press the pastry into the pan carefully. If you end up with any holes in your pastry or if any part of it looks thin, then just use a small piece of dough to fill the gap (the dough is very malleable). Then trim off any excess pastry from the sides of the pan and place in the fridge to harden a bit.
Take the other half of the dough and roll into a rough rectangle and cut it into 8 one-inch wide strips, which will form the lattice on the top of your pie. (Again, roll the dough between two pieces of parchment paper.) Place these strips into the fridge as well.
Now for the apple pie filling! Start by peeling 5 medium-sized apples (I used Honeycrisp apples since I already had them at home, but Granny Smith apples are the typical ones to use).
Then dice the apples so that they will cook quickly and fill the pie easily and evenly.
In a pot, place the coconut oil, honey, and spices, and then add the diced apples. Add 1 tablespoon of coconut flour to thicken the mixture, and once it’s been simmering for 5 minutes, add in the vanilla extract (I used my homemade one) and turn off the heat.
Let the apple pie filling cool for a bit, and then get your pastry out of the fridge. Spoon just the apples and sauce into the pie. Then, place your strips of pastry on top (4 going each direction threading in and out). Using a fork, press down the edges of the strips. Trim off any excess pastry.
Then bake in the oven at 350F for 25 minutes. Enjoy with a cuppa tea.
And here’s a close up….Every time I look at the pie, all I can think is: “I can’t Believe it’s Not Filled with Grains!”