Pie is something special, is it not? Fill a fatty crust with just about anything sweet or savory and you’ve got a meal or dessert that fills and warms and could easily be mistaken for a slice of love and nourishment all in one. I’m quite partial to a lard pie crust, of course, but these days butter is the fat of choice around here.
We eat weird food these days, apparently. Last night it was a plate of “dirty rice” and kraut in almost equal proportions. Breakfast is often whatever recipe I’m testing plus fried eggs. It’s not uncommon for a baked sweet potato, beans, and kraut to make up our entire meal. (So if you’re looking for normal people apple pie, might I recommend checking out Tracy’s recipe?)
Speaking of weird, we really don’t eat desserts or treats often – at group gatherings or a couple of times a month in our own home. Part of the reason for this is that some of our family can’t eat wheat or sugar right now. Part of the reason is because sweets are a treat and we try to pass that on to the children, especially since I ate way too many of them in my formative years.
And part of the reason is because we sort of have a no sugar rule. In fact, the only reason we really ever keep it in the house is for kombucha or water kefir. White sugar makes tasty treats, but I have a hard time spending money on something that detracts from the nourishment of our family, instead of adding to it. Thankfully, Stewart agrees… and has more willpower than me anyway, so it works out well.
So honey and the occasional bag of sucanat are pretty much all we use, the latter being fairly rare as well. Yes, these sweeteners are quite a bit more expensive, but that evens way out when you look at how much we actually consume. Everyone’s got to prioritize, right? This is simply how we’ve done it.
(And let’s not pretend I don’t eat dessert at potluck meals, buy dark chocolate from time to time, and try to create a version of one of Stewart’s favorites when the craving hits. We’re weird, remember, not crazy.)
Back to the topic of pie… I’m considering making more of it. Everyone can eat this recipe. It calls for minimal sweeteners. And the beauty of this gluten-free pie crust is that the texture and flavor are still flaky and delicious when I press the crust into a skillet with my fingertips and skip that whole rolling it out thing.
Wait. Yes, as a matter of fact I did say that you simply press the crust into a cast-iron skillet, fill, and top with flattened out bits of crust to form a lattice. It’s rustic, it’s easy, it’s deliciously flaky, and I don’t have to worry about bits of plywood clinging to my pie crust.
Plywood is the new granite in the counter top world, don’t ya know?
Oh, and here’s how I make that pie…
Deep Dish Apple Pie, Gluten-Free and Honey-Sweetened
- 2 cups flour (1/2 cup oat flour, 1/2 cup millet flour, and 1 cup potato starch)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 sticks butter or 1 cup cold lard or a mixture of the two
- 1/4-1/2 cup cold water
- 6-8 medium baking apples, sliced (usually granny smith)
- 1/2 cup honey (I actually usually use a little less)
- 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon, to taste
- 2 tablespoons potato or corn starch
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt with a fork. Cut the cold butter (or lard) into the flour with a pastry cutter or your hands. (I usually start with the former and end with the latter.)
- Now add the water a little bit at a time, starting with 1/4 cup. Mix it in. If it’s still dry and crumbly at all, add the rest of the water. This crust is not going to feel just like a wheat flour crust when all is said and done, so no freaking out.
- Once you’ve gotten the dough to completely stick together, knead a few times to form a large ball, wrap and refrigerate. Or, in our case, leave it in a plate-covered bowl next to the draftiest window overnight until you’re ready to make pie in the morning. Allowing it to sit helps hydrate all of the flours.
- Four or more hours later, prepare to make pie. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. If your crust is really cold, let it sit out a bit before you get started. Get your 10″ cast iron skillet out and make sure it’s clean and seasoned well. Take 70% of your dough ball and start smooshing it into your cast iron skillet. Yes, smooshing is the correct term. Do your best to evenly distribute the dough, which will still be rather sticky. No freaking out.
- Once you have smooshed the dough into the skillet and up the sides ~3/4 of the way, just check to make sure there are no super deep dough corners. Take the other 30% of your dough and set it aside.
- Start slicing your apples thinly into the same bowl you prepared and rested your dough in. Add the cinnamon, honey, and starch or flour, and mix well with a wooden spoon or your hands. Dump this into the bottom portion of the pie crust.
- Dust a dinner plate with GF flour of your choice. Divide your dough into six pieces. Take each piece and roll it into a “snake” and then pat it out on your plate until you have a roughly formed 1.5 inch wide strip of dough that will fit your pan. Place that strip down the middle of the pan. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough, patting them into the correct length for their position in the pan.
- Weave the lattices over and under as needed. Then crimp the edges together and make sure the overlapping dough is sticking together well.
- Now throw that pie into the oven for about 45 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the filling looks done.
- Remove and allow to cool for a couple of hours to set up before slicing. Serve.