Archives for granny smith

Apple Pie with Cinnamon Swirl Crust

For Thanksgiving a few years ago, I offered to do the pies, and cranberry chutney. As part of my duties, I was determined to create an over-the-top, unique apple pie that was also vegan. I wanted to figure out a way to combine apple pie with cinnamon roll cookies.

I know, right!?

Not only did it sound fantastic, I thought it would look really cool too! I pulled it off and it’s so good, I wanted to share it again this holiday season. Sure, this pie crust takes a little more time, but you can make it ahead of time and just bake it the morning of Thanksgiving. Have fun with it!


Apple Pie Filling for 9″ pie:
1/3 c. organic sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
~ 10 cups of thinly sliced and peeled apples (pink lady or granny smith work best)
(Depending on size, the amount of apples varies. If they are small 9 apples, if they are large about 5.)

  1. Peel and thinly slice the apples. Toss in sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

Crust Ingredients for 9″ pie:
2 1/2 c. organic, sprouted spelt flour (can also use gluten-free)
pinch of salt (optional)
1 c. Earth Balance buttery sticks, frozen
1/2 c. very cold water
Cinnamon, as much or as little as you want
2-3 TBSP organic white sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F

Making the Dough

  1. Shave the frozen buttery sticks on a cheese grater, into a bowl
  2. Sprinkle the flour (and salt if using) over the grated buttery sticks. Toss with a fork to coat butter, with flour. Smash down with fork to combine.
  3. Add the 1/2 c. COLD water, and using your hands, smash and knead to combine into a buttery dough ball. (The goal is to still have chunks of butter, not to combine it all until mushy.)
  4. Flatten dough ball and coat with flour and place on a floured surface. Roll out dough until it is about 1/4″ thick.
  5. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
  6. Cut the rolled out dough in half, down the middle, to get the top and bottom crusts.
  7. Roll each half as tight as you can.
  8. Using a sharp knife, cut the cinnamon roll/crust slices about 1/4″ thick for each roll. Keep the two rolls separate to ensure you have enough for both the top and bottom of the pie.


Forming the Crust Bottom

  1. Starting in the center of a 9″ pie dish, place a single slice of cinnamon swirl dough. Forming a flower pattern almost, place up to 10 more swirls around the center slice, ensuring the edges are close and touching. Gently push down and flatten into dish. Continue adding slices until you cover the whole pie dish.
  2. Make sure there are no holes, or the pie filling will ooze through and cause sticking when you slice and remove after baking. Once the entire bottom and sides of the pie dish are covered, add sugar and cinnamon coated apples.

Forming the Crust Top

  1. For the top crust. Tape a pice of parchment paper to your counter, or hold it down with weights so it doesn’t curl. Lay all the slices in a flat, circular layer, with edges slightly overlapping — similar to the bottom crust.
  2. Again, using your hand flatten the pieces into one another. To really flatten and roll it out, place another piece of parchment paper on top of slices. Using a rolling pin, roll over the slices, until they start to meld together and make the crust large enough to cover the pie. The rolled out slices should be about 1/4″ thick or thinner.
  3. Once it is sized correctly. Use the parchment paper that is taped to the counter to help you lift the rolled slices off the counter and quickly flip onto the apple topping.
  4. Pinch the edges of the top layer together with the edges of the bottom layer.
  5. Cut holes in the top layer to vent for steam.
  6. Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes. Be sure to watch the crust closely so it doesn’t get too brown. (NOTE: If you make this ahead of time, cover it with foil before refrigerating. Once you are ready to bake it, let it sit on the counter for about an hour to bake, OR place in the oven while you preheat it. This will allow it to warm up a little before baking.)
  7. Let cool for 30 minutes before serving, if you can. 🙂



Below is a slideshow, if you prefer visuals with your instructions. It was fun and easy, just takes a little time. 🙂

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Homemade Applesauce

apples close-upHomemade applesauce is something you don’t appreciate until you try. Every single person’s reaction is the same when I tell them I make it from scratch, “Why don’t you just buy it?” Well, in short, because it tastes like watered down, bland mush. Homemade applesauce is so flavorful and creamy you will never go back to store-bought again. Growing up, my mom always made homemade applesauce. The whole house would smell of delicious baking apples and every burner on the stove would be used to slow cook the apples. We would have a freezer shelf dedicated to bags of frozen applesauce. It was amazing.

When I grew up and moved out of state – I craved that homemade applesauce. I called my mom and asked her how to do it, and where to get that upside-down pyramid thingy with the holes in it. I never knew what it was called, and neither did she, until I posted this recipe 4 years ago and got a comment from a reader! It is called a chinois, and you can order it on Amazon. Not knowing the name originally, it was a stroke of luck I found the one I did 15 years ago. It was tucked on the top shelf of a kitchen gadget store at the mall, covered in a layer of dust. I’m not even sure the clerk knew they sold it, but it was EXACTLY what I was looking for and the exact tool my mom used growing up.

Beautiful Homemade Applesauce

Beautiful Homemade Applesauce

Literally, the ONLY ingredients in my version of homemade applesauce is apples and a tablespoon of water. I’ve experimented with a variety of apples over the years and the best flavor is a half and half mixture of Granny Smith and a sweet, red-skinned apple. I usually buy whatever looks best or if I know the grocery store has received a good batch, based on ones I’ve recently purchased. For the recipe pictured below, we used 12 Granny Smith and 12 Pink Lady. Be sure to buy organic apples whenever you buy or eat apples, since they are one of the most pesticide ridden fruits on the shelves.


12 organic granny smith apples, washed, cored and sliced into 6 pieces
12 organic pink lady apples, washed, cored and sliced into 6 pieces
A little water

You will also need:
An apple corer/slicer
A chinois


Wash all the apples very thoroughly and remove all stickers. Use an apple slicer to simultaneously remove core and cut apples. Toss into a large stock pot until full. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water and cook on low-med heat, covered for approximately 3 hours. I set a kitchen timer for 20 minutes and stir every 20 minutes to prevent scorching or burning on the bottom. About an hour or so into cooking, you will want to turn the heat down to the lowest setting. If you find that the apples aren’t producing much condensation or juice, you can add another tablespoon of water to speed the process along. Be sure not to add too much water, because you want the apples and juice to produce a flavorful sauce.

Once the apples are extremely mushy and the skins are falling off the pulp, they are ready to rice. I use one large stock pot as the ricer pot and one large stock pot as the mushy apple pot. Simply scoop the mushy mixture into the ricer and push through the tiny holes to remove the bulk of the pulp and all of the skins. That’s it!!

Homemade applesauce freezes great! I’ve also canned it for the pantry successfully too. It’s great to use in baking as a replacement to butter, oil or eggs and great as a snack or side dish. You can add a little cinnamon and/or nutmeg to yours if you’d like. Enjoy nature’s natural dessert!

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