As you all may already know, I don’t like apples. Or pears. The day you see me eat one of these fruits raw is the day that no other edible foods exist for me to eat. I’ll even admit, apple pie has never been my favorite of the fruit pies. When it comes to me and pie: it’s custards or bust. As far as fruit pies go, I mostly like the crust. I’m a bread girl, what can I say? That being said, I simply can’t resist apples or pears in baked dishes or in ciders. I don’t know how or why I make the distinction. Maybe it’s the sugar. Or maybe it’s the pure, mind blowing comfort of delicious pastry dough.
In any case, it’s a little surprising that I decided to make a pie with the two fruits I generally don’t enjoy. But it isn’t for me, really. My brother, Job, has always been an apple pie aficionado. I don’t know anyone else who devours apple pie as much or as efficiently as he does. This Thanksgiving, I’ve decided to do a nice little sisterly thing and make him one. Don’t worry, I won’t blow the surprise — he doesn’t read this blog anyway. My brother isn’t vegan (yet), but this pie will likely make him think twice about ever eating another non-vegan pie again!
This recipe is pretty standard. You can chose to use all apples and so, you don’t have to use pears if you don’t want to. I chose to add them–Comice pears, to be exact–because it seemed fitting and different. And as far as pears go, Comice pears are deliciously soft, sweet, and juicy; the perfect match for tart Granny Smiths. The apricot jam glaze is something I’ve always used to replace the egg glaze used for browning the top of conventional non-vegan pies. You can use another jam if you prefer. I simply chose apricot because it’s lighter in flavor and because grape jam doesn’t lend itself to the aesthetics of this pie.
This recipe is pretty straight-forward and simple, but it will take you some time (most of which is just waiting for ingredients to chill properly). Take it along with you to your Thanksgiving feast (and don’t forget the vegan vanilla ice cream)! When everyone is telling you how delicious it is, remember to tell them it’s totally vegan too! Then follow up with stories of all the other awesome things you eat, wear, and use that don’t contain animal products.
As always: spread the love, share the food, be merry, and stuff your vegan face!
(makes one 9 inch pie)
2 and 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp organic/vegan sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) Earth Balance Butter, chilled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup ice water
4 large Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 large pears (I used Comice pears), cored, peeled, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup organic/vegan sugar
1/4 cup organic/vegan brown sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp Earth Balance Butter
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp allspice
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp apricot jam (or any vegan jelly/jam you like)
1 tbsp raw turbinado sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
First, make the crust. Combine the flour, salt, sugar, and butter in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand. With the processor still running, add the water in a steady stream through the feed tube until the dough just holds together. Add one or two tablespoons more, if necessary. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and roll it into a ball. Divide the ball in half and flatten each half into a small disk. Cover each with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
After the dough has chilled, turn one disk out onto your floured surface and with a rolling pin, roll it into a 12 inch circle. Remember to always roll from the center to the outside and to turn your dough about a 1/4 inch after every roll (this will keep the dough from sticking to your counter top). Place your rolling pin in the center of the circle and gently fold the sides of the circle on top of the rolling pin (as pictured below). This will help you transfer it to the pie dish without breaking it. Gently place the dough in a 9 inch pie pan. Brush off any extra flour and trim and form the edges to fit the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you make the filling.
Next, prepare the crust top. Roll the disk out, as before, into a 12 inch circle. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper and refrigerate until ready to use.
Now, prepare the filling. In a large bowl, gently toss the apples, pears, sugars, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit out at room temperature for an hour. Afterwards, strain the apples and pears over a bowl for about 20 minutes. Once you have about 1/2 cup of the juices in the bowl, transfer them to a small sauce pan. Add the butter, maple syrup, ginger, and allspice and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil, stirring frequently, until the juices have reduced to about 1/3 cup. You’ll notice that as the mixture boils, it will start to thicken and resemble syrup.
Coat the apples and pears with the cornstarch and then pour the sauce over the apples and gently toss to combine. Remove the crusts from the refrigerator and let the top crust sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Pour the apple and pear filling into the chilled pie crust. Moisten the edges of the crust with a little water and place the top crust over the pan. Trim any excess dough off of the edges, leaving about a 1/2 inch of dough hanging off the edges. Tuck the 1/2 inch under the bottom crust and press on the edges to seal the pie. Using a sharp paring knife, cut five 2 inch slits in the center of the pie dough to allow steam to escape.
Place a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil in the bottom half of the oven. This will capture any spilling pie juices and prevent them from sticking to your oven. Preheat the oven to 425 F. While you wait for your oven to heat, make an aluminum foil cover for the pie edges to prevent the edges from over browning — you will use this only for the last 10 minutes of baking. Place the pie on the baking sheet and bake for a total of 45 to 55 minutes. About 30 minutes in, cover the edges with the aluminum foil and continue to bake until the pie is done. You’ll notice the juices starting to boil from the edges and slits in the pie. The pie is done when you can easily pierce the fruit from the center of the pie, but it is not “mushy.”
Shut off the oven and remove the pie. Place the pie on a wire rack and gently brush the top with the apricot jam. Sprinkle the raw sugar and cinnamon on top. Place the pie back in the warm oven for about 6 to 7 more minutes. Then, remove it and let it cool for at least 3 hours before serving — this will allow the sauce filling to thicken. When ready to serve, cut into it with a sharp knife. It will still be warm! Serve to delighted guests with vegan vanilla ice cream, if desired.