Sugar Free Apple Pie

My friend Charlie called the other day to pick my brain about a dinner party he was planning for some friends.There were some dietary restrictions for a few of the guests, so I was the first call he made when looking for menu suggestions. He knows I enjoy a food challenge and love to cook and bake, so I seemed the likely resource in planning a sugar free, dairy free dinner complete with a double crust apple pie for dessert.

After serving this desert to his guests, Charlie called me to say “That pie was amazing!”

So, I decided to share this recipe. I believe the tenderness of the crust will surprise you, and the best part of this dairy free, low calorie slice is its rich and flaky crust. Yum!

Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese and a dairy free butter alternative instead of the traditional butter and shortening in the crust. This combination of non-dairy products married well with the whole wheat pastry flour (substitution for white flour) to produce great results. These simple changes created the ground work for a reduced calorie pie, while effortlessly provided the dairy free requirement.

For the filling, I chose to use a frozen all natural apple juice concentrate as a sweetener rather than a sugar substitute. This continued to lower the calories but kept the deep rich apple flavor luscious and satisfying. As you can see from the picture, I sliced the apples thinly (I used a mandolin for consistent uniform slices) and the result mirrored the taste in texture and presentation. I know I have drastically reduced the number of calories in this 1/8 of a pie serving, and I will update you on it as soon as I have calculated it. I was so excited about the results I couldn’t wait to share this healthy alternative for your holiday entertaining. Enjoy!

Prepare filling first to allow cooling before filling pastry shell.

Whole Wheat Pie Crust:

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 oz. Non-dairy margarine or vegan buttery substitute
8 oz. Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
4 to 6 Tablespoons cold water

Wisk together dry ingredients. Cut in dairy free Tofutti and butter substitute in small pieces. Add 2 Tablespoons of water and toss lightly with a fork or your hands until dough begins to come together. Add additional water a little at a time, until the pastry holds together when pressed. The dough should feel slightly moister than white pastry dough. Turn the dough out and gently fold and press together.

Be sure not to overwork the dough, this will cause toughness.

Divide dough in half, and pat each half into a disk about a 1/2 inch thick. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes before rolling.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface. If the dough cracks a part, wet both sides of the cracked area and roll back together. Spray the pie pan lightly with a non-stick cooking spray and place the dough carefully overlapping the edge of the dish to form crust. Set aside to come to room temperature.

Pie Filling

3/4 cup or 6 oz. frozen all natural apple juice concentrate
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
6 cups thinly sliced apples (use a combination for best taste and texture)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water

In large sauce pan, heath undiluted apple juice concentrate and spices. Add apple slices; cook on medium heat a few minutes until partly tender. Transfer apple slice to a small bowl keeping liquid in the pan.

In a small bowl, add the cornstarch to the water until you have a smooth mixture. Add cornstarch mixture to juice in sauce pan; cook on a medium heat until thickened. Remove from heat and add apples back to sauce mixture and coat slices evenly.

Allow mixture to cool slightly and fill the unbaked pastry shell. Roll out top crust; fit it over filled pie and trim pastry to 1 inch beyond rim, forming a high fluted edge. Cut several slits in top of pastry (brush lightly with 1 tablespoon of non dairy butter if you like) and bake at 375 degree for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serves 8.

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