Vegan and gluten-free too! (If you want it to be).
Why do I make tortes and not pies, you ask? Here’s the simple and honest truth: I can’t be bothered to make my own pastry when so many companies (hello, Tenderflake!) do it so well and so cheaply for you already.
So by buying a pastry case, I don’t get the top of the pie (the pastry cover? What is it called?) but this is a second bonus, as my pie is much healthier with less pastry.
ALSO, your pie won’t look nearly as pretty as this one if you have to cover up all the lovely apples with pastry, will it?
And lastly, on this whole pie vs. tart/torte thing – why are pumpkin pies and pecan pies allowed to be called pies and not tarts when they don’t have a pastry topping? But apple pie has to be covered in pastry otherwise it’s an apple tart? Oh the injustice.
Okay, enough of that.
I’m sure you just want the recipe, seeing as all of my friendly neighbours to the south are probably in a mad rush preparing for Thanksgiving.
Well, good news. This pie (can be) gluten-free and is vegan. And it’s delicious, naturally-sweetened and packed with fruit, so it’s not like it’s even that bad for you. Unless you want to load it up with ice cream. Hey, I’m all for a la mode, but calorie-wise, with ice cream the blame is not on me!
*NOTE: I made this particular torte to sell at my church’s Christmas bake sale, so I couldn’t cut into it and photograph a slice for you. Sorry! But hopefully you get a good enough idea from these shots.
Anna’s Almond Apple Torte
INGREDIENTS (makes 1 pie):
1 pie crust (frozen – gluten-free if you are making this for GF eaters)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 large Granny Smith (green) apples
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup sliced, blanched almonds
2 tbsp Sucanat or coconut sugar (optional)
1 tbsp butter/Earth Balance, melted (optional)
1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice
1 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1. Pre-bake the pie crust according to the package’s directions, pricking it with a fork first to allow it to breathe.
2. Spread the applesauce into the base of the pre-baked pie crust. Keep the oven at 375 F.
3. Wash, peel and core the apples, then slice thinly into crescent-shaped slices (like you see on the top of the pie in these pictures).
4. Place all apple slices in a large bowl and toss with lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg until all are fairly evenly coated with spices.
5. Start layering the apples on top of the applesauce. Depending on how deep your pie shell, you may need to do a few layers. For fun and to add something different to the visual, I layer the apple slices in opposite directions on each layer. Then place a few in the middle to cover up the centre.
6. Sprinkle with Sucanat or coconut sugar, if using. If you want to keep it sugar free, do! I like my apples tart (as well as my apple tart…couldn’t resist). If you’re worried the apples may be too tart, you can always use sweeter red apples than Granny Smiths.
6. Sprinkle with the almonds and then brush with the melted butter, if using. Bake for 45 minutes or until the apples are lightly golden and a knife inserted into an apple slice goes through cleanly and easily.
7. Heat on low-medium heat, in a saucepan, the apple juice. Stir in the cornstarch or arrowroot powder with a hand whisk, and continue whisking as you heat it until the glaze is thickened. Don’t stop whisking, otherwise the glaze might go lumpy.
8. Remove from the heat and continue whisking for a few more minutes (it will continue to thicken off the heat). Then use a pastry brush and brush the whole torte with the glaze. Serve and enjoy!
Nutritional information below is per slice if pie serves 8. It also includes using butter but no sugar or sugar but no butter, but not both. If that makes sense :).