Almost-Raw Apple Pie with Grain-Free Crust (Gluten-Free with No Added Sugar)

February 2, 2012 in Dessert, Homemade, Snack, Vegan by Heba

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When I made this delicious raw pumpkin pie recipe a few weeks ago, I got really good feedback about it from friends and family. So I was inspired to make another easy raw dessert recipe: Raw apple pie (with a grain-free crust, of course)! I love to cook, but baking really isn’t my forte. So I’ve always gravitated towards raw desserts, like these chocolate mousse balls (quite honestly, these are better than most conventional desserts). As for this apple pie, I’ll let it speak for itself. For me personally, I find it quite irresistible and arguably more satisfying than the typically greasy and mushy cooked apple pie …

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There’s another reason I’ve been opting for raw desserts lately: For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been experimenting with limiting grains for a few months now. I eat sprouted brown rice now and then, but I’ve cut out all store-bought breads and pastas (and I’ve broken up with cereal and other packaged grain-products for several years now)– a decision that has improved my health and helped me stay lean without much additional effort. I’m also taking  a break from making oatmeal in the morning, which featured heavily in my breakfast routine until about a year ago. Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that I’ve cut out many grains because they’re all bad all the time. However, it’s important to note that in a typical American diet, grains feature heavily – too heavily in fact, because they’re in everything and they’re almost always heavily processed (yup, even your beef burger is affected by grain because all conventional cattle are grain-fed — that’s why you gotta opt for grass-finished if you eat meat). There’s also the argument that  most grains, unless soaked, sprouted or fermentedhave anti-nutrients that make it difficult to digest them because they prevent the absorption of nutrients in other foods. Finally, there’s the fact that grains have a high-glycemic index, and that is bad news for anyone trying to lose weight or stay trim.

I’ll save the long discussion about grains to another post, because I don’t want to get too sidetracked here. Where were we? Oh yes, raw apple pie.

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Ok, I’ll make a small admission: it’s not entirely raw: I like to saute some of the apples (the portion to be pureed) in a little bit of grass-fed ghee to soften the crunch and add a rich flavor — that’s how I prefer it personally. But you can definitely make an all-raw version, a la the Raw Foods Witch, who inspired this recipe. Nourished Kitchen’s Apple-Pear Sauce has been calling my name for a while now, so I decided to marry the two recipes to make a mostly-raw, grain-free and delicious dessert.

Almost-Raw Apple Pie (Grain-Free and Sugar-Free)

by Heba Saleh

Prep Time: 45 min + 1 hr chilling time

Cook Time: 5 min to saute the puree

Ingredients (Serves 8-9)

For the Grain-Free Apple Pie Crust:

  • 2 cups raw walnuts or sliced almonds (I used walnuts – delicious!), soaked overnight in warm water with a little bit of sea salt, then rinsed and toasted in the oven
  • 1/2 cup dried dates, soaked for a few hours to soften
  • 3/4 teaspoon organic ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic cardamom powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon organic ground nutmeg
  • Dash of unrefined mineral salt (I used Himalayan)

For the Almost-Raw Apple Pie Filling:

  • 5 medium organic Gala or Fuji apples (you can certainly use other varieties of apples, but these are the two I’ve tested in this recipe), peeled and chopped. Peel and roughly chop two of the apples to ‘saute’ lightly and puree, and then peel and finely chop the remaining 3 apples into 1/2 inch pieces (sliced thinly, about 3-4 mm thick).
  • 1-2 tablespoons grass-fed ghee, to lightly ‘saute’ the 2 apples to be pureed (you can skip this if you wish to make it vegan and all-raw, but I really do prefer the added flavor that the ghee imparts)
  • 1 cup dates, soaked for a few hours to soften, then drained of its water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste (adjust till amount of desired zest is achieved)
  • 2 teaspoons organic ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic ground cloves

Instructions

(1) Make the grain-free ‘crust’: Blend the soaked and toasted walnuts and soaked dates in a food processor. Add 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and a dash of unrefined mineral salt. Blend well to mix in the spices. Then, distribute the mixture evenly on the bottom of an 8-10-inch pie plate. Make sure to cover all areas of the pie plate evenly and compactly so it can hold together well (the stickiness of the dates does a good job of keeping the crust together anyway).

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(2) Peel and chop 5 apples: For two of the apples, you can chop roughly, since they’ll be pureed anyway. For the other three apples, make sure to thinly slice them to be about 1/2 an inch and no more than a few millimeters thick. You don’t have to be super accurate with this either, but getting the apples to be thin enough is important to give the filling a nice soft crunch that is not too substantial.

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(3) Saute the roughly chopped apples for the ‘sauce’: In a stainless steel pot, add 1-2 tablespoons of grass-fed ghee and saute the two apples you peeled and roughly chopped for about 5 minutes, until they’ve released some of their juice and softened. Squeeze 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice on top.

(4) Add spices and blend: In a food processor or powerful blender, add the lightly sauteed apples, 1 cup of soaked dates (drained from water), 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves. Blend until a smooth consistency is reached and taste for zest. If more lemon is needed, add a teaspoon at a time.

(5) Mix sauce with raw apples: In a bowl, mix the thinly sliced apples with your now complete sauce.

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(6) Add mixture into crust: Spoon out the mixture and add it into your grain-free spiced crust. Use the back of a spoon to level the top and smooth it out. Chill in the fridge for about an hour before serving. Enjoy!

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