Nici Wickes shows us how to master the art of creating a gluten-free apple pie that will be an instant hit with family and friends during the colder months.
Whether it’s an explosively crisp Jazz, a sweet and blushing Pacific Rose or a gorgeously tart Granny Smith or Braeburn, I’ve never met an apple I didn’t like. They’re the fruit that gets us through the cooler months, always available, yet perhaps because of this, apples are often seen as “ordinary”. Not in my household! I adore the way apples bridge both savoury dishes – roast pork with apple and sauerkraut, Waldorf salad, potato and apple latkes, slaw and more – as well as sweet. And who can go past an apple pie? Serve it with whipped or pouring cream, ice cream, custard or yoghurt or a bit of them all. Here’s my go-to apple pie, which I make using a homemade, gluten-free, sweet short pastry.
200g gluten-free plain flour (I use Edmonds GF flour)
50g buckwheat flour
2 tablespoons icing sugar
115g chilled butter, diced
1 small egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon iced water
1 tablespoon of cold black tea (this gives colour)
1. Add the flours, icing sugar and butter into a food processor and pulse until it resembles chunky breadcrumbs.
2. Lightly whisk egg with iced water and tea and add half of it to food processor and pulse, adding more as needed, until it forms a dough ball or until it has clumped together. Reserve the leftover egg mixture for an egg wash.
3. Scrape dough out onto a floured surface and knead it briefly to bring it into a ball. Divide into two portions, flattening each slightly to a disc and wrap in baking paper. Chill for 20 minutes in freezer while you prepare the filling.
6 – 8 medium-large apples, peeled and cored
1⁄2 to ¾ cup coconut, brown or white sugar
3 tablespoons gluten-free flour (can use plain if not avoiding gluten)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
50g butter, grated
Icing sugar for dusting
1. Peeled and core the apples and cut into large bite-sized pieces.
2. Toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
3. Heat oven to 180°C and place an oven tray in to heat. Flour a 20-23cm pie dish.
4. To assemble the pie, dust bench with gluten-free flour and roll out one disc of chilled dough to fit pie dish. Carefully transfer the pastry to line the pie dish, patching any tears or holes – it’s very forgiving so don’t stress! Tumble in the apple mixture, mounding it up in the middle. Brush the pastry edges with egg wash. Roll out second disc to make a lid and drape it over the filling. Seal the edges with a fork or spoon. Make some cuts in the top to let the steam out. Brush egg wash on top.
5. Place pie in the oven on top of the heated tray and bake for 40-50 minutes until golden brown.
6. Once cooked, leave to settle for 10 minutes or so, then dust with icing sugar before serving warm or cold.