Your Thanksgiving Dessert: Almond Apple Torte

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?

Copyright to The Guiltless Life

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.

Copyright to The Guiltless Life

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)

For glaze:
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!

Copyright to The Guiltless Life

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 :).

Nutritional information courtesy of

PS. I’m linking this post up at My Sweet and Savory‘s Meatless Monday link party and Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms‘ Melt in Your Mouth Monday blog party.


  1. Happy Pie Monday!! : )

    I love apple pie, especially with vanilla ice cream or cinnamon ice cream!

    Looks so good and how nice you made it for the christmas bake sale at your church! Whoever gets that will love it !

    Hope you have a great day love! xoxo

  2. Gorgeous, and I am sure delicious 🙂 Apple pie is one of my favorite desserts ever, so this is a rather welcome post!

  3. what a pretty dessert! i just made my first pie ever last week (posting about it later today) and am going to attempt another for Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  4. It sure does look pretty! I hadn’t realized you could get GF pie crusts now. great.

    Where in Vancouver area do you find them… would love to tell my SIL and her daughter.

    • Thanks Elle! I have definitely seen them in Whole Foods (they have pie crusts for a pie the size of this one, but I want them to bring in some gluten-free miniature tartlet crusts so I can make healthier mince pies for Christmas this year…we’ll see!). I went to the Whole Foods in West Van but Whole Foods are pretty good at having the same products at all stores so I’m sure the ones in Kits and on Cambie will have them too.

      I also have seen them in Choices markets before but Choices tend to be a bit different from store to store in terms of what they carry so I don’t want to send someone off on a wild goose chase. Oh, and of course, they are more expensive – they can be close to $10 for a pie crust! So special occasions only for me :).

  5. Looks really yummy and like a healthier option than pastry-topped pies. Would be great with fresh whipped cream!

  6. Kim @ Eat, Live, and Blog says:

    Great apple pie! It looks delicious. 🙂

  7. Oh my gosh…I think I need to go buy apples 😀 Great photos!!

  8. Oh wow, this is beautiful! And looks so yummy! Thanks for the recipe, this will be fabulous for Thanksgiving!

  9. OOOO My Goodness!!!!! Ok, seriously this could be the best darn torte I’ve seen in a long time!! Its White Sugar Free…my heart flutters right now, thank you, dollface!!


    • Absolutely! Everything on my blog is white sugar free (and brown sugar free for that matter) – pinkie swear! Thanks for your sweet comment Kris! xx

  10. This looks delicious! I love the combination of apples and almonds!
    Pie, tarte or torte, whatever it is, I’d go for this!

  11. This looks so delicious (and pretty!!)…it would be a perfect Thanksgiving dessert and could double as a centerpiece. I would skip the turkey and have two slices of cake 😉

  12. Danielle Spinella says:

    Crumb Cake Creations is offering $2 off per order of two or more cakes with coupon code THANKS. Their pumpkin crumb cake is absolutely to die for and has been a part of my Thanksgiving Dessert assortment for a few years now. Check them won’t be disappointed.


  1. […] I posted yesterday, the ideal pumpkin alternative for this year’s Thanksgiving dessert is an apple almond torte (I posted this recipe just yesterday): Copyright to Anna […]

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