Decadent Gluten Free Apple Pie

This pie was judged in the Liberty View Farm apple pie contest by some very distinguished palates !!! It was scrumptious-the crust was absolutely decadent!  

I think all of the tips and tricks that Rose Levy Beranbaum of The Cake Bible, (among her other works) shared during her demo and during the judging apply to the GF crust too – I was gleeful whenever she would mention a tip and it was one that I had used intentionally or by accident. With the pastry part don’t experiment too much, with the rest of it PLAY!


Crust is made from the America’s Test Kitchen gluten free pastry dough recipe – in their book, How Can it be Gluten Free?

Here is the flour blend: the pie dough that follows is also right out of the cook book:

Mix together in a food processor (pulse it three times and you should be good to go)

13 oz of the flour blend (or a good GF multipurpose flour)

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon xanthan gum

and 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Cut up two sticks of butter into about ¼ inch cubes and put into the freezer for about 10 minutes

Mix together

5 tablespoons ice water

3 tablespoons sour cream

1 table spoon rice vinegar

Put the cold butter on top of the flour mix and pulse until butter is pea sized (maybe 10 pulses). DO NOT make it homogeneous – you want peas of butter in the dough.

Put half of the liquid mix on top and pulse three times.

Put the rest on top and pulse six times – if the butter is looking too small STOP.

This is where I wish I used Rose’s knead in the bag trick – very gently knead the dough into a solid mass. You should be able to see butter marbled through the dough. Cut it in half, flatten into two five inch pucks and put in the refrigerator for at least an hour. (This will keep for two days if needed but don’t freeze it.)

APPLE FILLING(modify as you want)

Peel, core and slice about five pounds of apples into ¼ inch slices. (I used Ginger Gold from Liberty View Farm, a mix of apples would be even better but stay away from the really juicy ones – honeycrisp would be a disaster in this crust) I sliced the apples into lemon water to keep them from browning too much – juice of three lemons and a pint of water. (And I drank the water after but I like really tart things)

Toss the apples with about ½- ¾ cup of brown sugar, some lemon zest, a little more lemon juice (maybe a tablespoon) and some cinnamon (I probably used a tablespoon or more but not everyone wants quite that much cinnamon).

Cook the apples over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until they start to soften. Don’t turn them too mush, under-cooking is better, but you want them to release some of the liquid. Put everything in a colander and let cool and drain for at least 30 minutes. Save the liquid for other uses or just drink it.

This can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days. But it will taste fresher if you use the apples shortly after they are cooled.


I was absolutely paranoid about a soggy crust – the GF pastry is very sensitive so I made marzipan and a reduced jam to make a moisture barrier.

I used about 5 oz of marzipan in each pie, this recipe makes about 12 oz.

In your food processor blend:

1.5 cups blanched almond meal/flour (just get the stuff without flecks of the skins in it)

1.5 cups confectioner’s sugar

until it looks mostly uniform.

Add a teaspoon of a good rose water, and two teaspoons of almond extract and pulse until it is combined. (I added ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract because I couldn’t help myself.)

Add one egg white and pulse until the dough comes together. If it is too sticky add more almond flour and sugar.

Make the dough into a log and put in the refrigerator – it can keep for up to a month.You should let this stay in refrigerator for at least an hour before using it.

(I had no idea it was so easy to make marzipan and now I want to experiment with it –other nut meals like hazelnuts, playing with the flavorings…)


Again paranoia about soggy crust… And this is one of those things to really improvise with a lot which is why I couldn’t remember exactly what I did.

Take a cup of a good jam – I used apricot (goes well with both apples and almonds) and cook over low heat until is melts and then sieve out the chunky bits if you want (and eat them). At this point you can just cook it down a bit more until it is thick but not so much that it turns to candy,or add some liqueurs and/or juices for extra flavors and reduce everything down (the alcohol will be gone before you start to thicken the jam). I used some apricot brandy, a little elderflower cordial,and a bit of cranberry syrup and then reduced it until it was a bit thicker than the original jam. This can be kept in the refrigerator too but warm it up a bit before you use it or you won’t be able to spread it without ripping the pie dough or marzipan apart. If this seems like too much trouble you can use jam without doing anything to it.

APPLE CARAMEL (very optional)

This was an accident but then Rose mentioned reducing the juices down to a caramel and well it then became a happy accident.

I made a lot of the starter for this because I had some other uses for it – ½ to ¾cup is all that is needed for a final pie.

Mull and reduce a gallon of a good apple cider down to three cups. It will increase the humidity in your house a lot!

Play with the mulling spices and maybe look at recipes for things like Gluwein,chai, Glogg…

What was in mine in addition to the gallon of cider (and yes this is really silly): a half pint of blackberries, a cup or so apricots (from a local farm),3-4 cinnamon sticks, ¼ cup dried ginger chunks, a vanilla bean, four cardamom pods, a couple of cloves, a table spoon of whole allspice, a teaspoon of whole black pepper, a dash of mace, some anise and fennel seed, orange peel, lemon peel, and probably something else I am forgetting. The reduction took a while and I was doing other things while it went – I think maybe around two hours over a medium heat.) Heavenly scenting the air!

Once it is reduced and cool, strain out the solids; I also added a teaspoon of rosewater. The resulting three cups of a thick cider is pretty tasty.(I will be using it in a punch next month and my brother wants to try it as a glaze)

Take a cup of that and reduce it even more – I should have probably stopped when it was about ¾ cup and still had the layers of flavors. I reduced it to½ cup and it was much more subtle. Let it cool.

Rose suggested using the liquid from the precooked apples to make a caramel.


Preheat the oven to 425F and put a sheet pan in the oven to come up to temperature. Use metal pie plates (do not use the sheet pan if you are using a glass or ceramic pie plate).

Get the pie dough from the refrigerator and let it soften up a little bit (maybe 10 minutes, still keep it somewhere cool and out of the sun). If it is too cold it doesn’t roll out well, if it is too warm it doesn’t work either. Roll it out between two sheets of plastic wrap until it is about 14” in diameter. Do it one at a time and once it is rolled out put it in the refrigerator if you have space.

Take one of the rolled out dough and remove the upper plastic wrap and quickly,gently, and carefully get it into the pie plate. Good luck – I was very jealous when I saw how easily Rose was able to fold and move her dough. Take off the other sheet of plastic wrap.

Roll out the marzipan to form a disk a little larger than the bottom of the pie so it comes up the sides a little. Place in bottom crust.

Put about ½ cup of the thickened jam on the marzipan gently and go up the sides a bit –be very gentle!

Toss the apples with the caramel and a bit more cinnamon (I used maybe another half tablespoon) until the caramel is spread through in little bits. Put the apples in the shell and mound it a little in the center. Sprinkle the top with a teaspoon of lemon juice (or Meyer lemon juice, yum!)

Carefully take the second rolled out dough, take off one side of plastic wrap, place on the pie as close to centered as you can and remove the second piece of plastic wrap. Trim the dough layers to where they extend about an inch beyond the pie plate and then fold them under and inside of the edge over the lip of the pan (the dough sits on top of the pan edge).Make it as pretty as you can but don’t fuss too much at it. Score some holes/slits in the top to let steam out. Brush with a beaten egg white and sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar on top (I used maple sugar –yum!).

Cross your fingers and toes and place the pie plate on the preheated sheet pan (this helps for a crispy crust) and bake for 45-55 minutes (again don’t do this with glass or ceramic pie plates). Turn the pie about half-way through for a more even browning. The pie is done when the upper crust is nice and golden brown and slightly puffed up.

Cool on a wire rack,preferably for two hours. Nora wanted it with ice cream so head out and buy some ice cream while it cools or make some if you are so inclined.

Thank you Karl Boggs for the absolutely fabulous pie and congratulations!