As long as the first rain drops start to fall, baking turns into the main activity in my kitchen. Mornings with flavored pumpkin bread and coffee, avocado toast with super seed bread, or a slice of freshly baked no knead bread with rye and nuts in the afternoon after a short walk – all these cozy little things make Autumn beautiful despite the temperature drop and shorter days.
Until I’ll be able to pick the fruits from my own yard, I can set objectives and enjoy the beauty of today by baking a delicious apple pie from scratch, as farmers’ market stalls are abundant of apples of all kind.
I always try to find alternatives for refined sugar and for apples you might say there’s no better fit than a creamy caramel sauce. Well, it actually is – a vegan and refined sugar-free caramel sauce! This recipe is so simple and so delicious that I keep wondering myself why I never got this idea before 🙂
I rarely eat classic caramel because of its high concentration of refined sugar and saturated fats which, except for a few moments of taste buds ecstasy, only have negative effects – stomach burn, acidity, insulin resistance and fatty liver. Why not turn to this creamy, velvety and extra-simple alternative instead? Healthy fats and loads of potassium included!
Since it’s an easy apple pie recipe, keeping things simple applies to the entire recipe. Instead of intensive cooking, I prefer to gently roast the apples in order to reveal their flavor and juices, while still preserving as many of their nutrients as possible.
Most of them are concentrated in the skin so I don’t peel the apples but actually cut them in half, remove the core and seeds and thinly slice them, preserving their shape.
I don’t cook them in caramel sauce or butter, I only add a thin layer of apple sauce and let them steam in their own juices. It’s only a few minutes before removing the tart from the oven that I add the caramel sauce. The result is very light but very very nicely flavored.
Feel like turning the oven on for some more? Here are some of my favorite pie and cake recipes to play with – Tomato Pie with Honey and Feta Cheese, Vegan Carrot Cake or the very simple Vegan Chocolate Cake.
- For the crust
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- ½ cup solid coconut oil
- 5 tbsp ice water
- For the vegan caramel sauce
- 1 cup pitted dates, soaked into water for 1 hour
- ¾ cup full fat coconut milk
- Pinch sea salt
- For the filling
- 6 Gala apples
- 3 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp coconut sugar
- Mix the flours, sugar and salt into a medium bowl, then transfer into the food processor.
- Gradually add the coconut oil and pulse to incorporate until the mixture looks like coarse sand.
- Transfer back into the bowl and gradually add the water, mixing with a spatula until you obtain a ball.
- Cover the dough into plastic foil and refrigerate for 30 mins.
- Drain the dates and transfer them into the blender, together with the coconut milk and salt.
- Process to obtain a smooth, creamy liquid.
- Transfer into a bowl, cover with plastic foil and refrigerate.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface.
- Roll it into a 12 inch circle and transfer it into a pie plate (I use a 9 inch one).
- Preheat the oven to 175C/350F.
- Trim and arrange the dough as you prefer, then chill for 15 mins.
- Cut the apples into halves, remove the core and seeds, and use a very sharp knife to cut each half into thin slices, preserving the shape.
- Spread the apple sauce into an even layer on the pie bottom and top with cinnamon.
- Arrange the sliced apple halves on top, drizzle with lemon juice and top with coconut sugar.
- Bake for 20 mins, then drizzle half of the caramel sauce on top of the apples and bake for 10 more minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.
- Save the rest of the caramel sauce for later use or drizzle more on top of each serving.