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See Recipe Below
My mom has been bugging me for a couple of months now to make an apple pie with walnuts and raisins. It is her absolute favorite apple pie and our local bakery for some reason no longer makes that pie unless it is specially requested. I was not thrilled by the idea of making a pie.
I will tell you right now that pie crust is NOT my thing. Every time I have ever made pie crust I have struggled and I feel like I fail. The crust is either too dry, under baked, over baked or some combination there of. That is even with following pie crust recipes of cutting in hunks of butter (or vegetable oil) and letting the pie dough rest before rolling it out. I have even had trouble rolling out the dough as it can stick to the rolling pin no matter what I do and if I try the saran wrap method I then shred the wrap or have oddly lumpy pie crust.
When I am presented with the thought of making a pie I cringe. I would rather use store bought pie dough but then it is not the buttery flavorful pie dough that we enjoy from the bakery made pies. So I try to avoid making pie at all cost well unless it is a pudding pie with a graham cracker or cookie crust.
That is not to say I don’t make brilliant pie filling. My custard pie fillings are yummy with custard that rarely breaks. My fruit pies are the right balance of softened (not mushy) fruit with the right spices and sweet or tart flavor. My pudding pies are always asked for special occasions (and are my personal favorites for summer get-togethers).
Circle back to last week. I had bought a bag of apples in October to have with caramel sauce but never had the opportunity to make up the homemade sauce. Sadly the apples were beginning to show their age and my mom who normally loves having a fresh apple just had dental work done. Then after watching another Food Network show, I myself was craving apple pie but I refused to make the crust for the obvious reason but also because I am still trying to keep an eye on how much gluten I eat so I decided to make my yummy apple pie filling without the pie part.
It was everything I wanted to be! It had all the yummy fall flavors I was craving and now my mom’s pie craving is satisfied. Score!
Another great thing was that I could use my favorite fall spice combination in this recipe.
Deconstructed Apple Pie
8 small gala or fuji apples
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 tablespoons powdered cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon powdered clove
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon coriander
1 tablespoon of lemon juice (if needed)
3 tablespoons of butter (2 to 3 more tablespoons if needed)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
½ to 1 cup of gently crushed walnuts
¼ cup of raisins
¼ cup of dried cranberries
Other Ingredients for Plating the Dessert
Toasted Oats or a crisp crunchy cereal like rice chex or grape nuts
Vanilla Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt
Peel and dice eight small gala or fuji apples. Place the diced apples in a mixing bowl. Add the brown sugar, sugar and all of the spices to the apples and toss. The apples should provide enough natural juices to let the sugar and spices coat the apple pieces. If the apples won’t easily coat with the sugar and spice mixture then add lemon juice.
In a large skillet melt the 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat and add the apple mixture and vanilla extract. Continue to stir the mixture around in the skillet letting the sugar melt and the apples begin to break down (sweat). Keep checking the crispness of the apples every few minutes. If the syrup forming from the sugar begins to burn (or harden) add more butter to the pan, one tablespoon at a time stirring constantly. After ten to fifteen minutes of cooking the apple mixture over medium heat, add in the walnuts, raisins and cranberries. If your skillet retains its heat well, turn the heat down to low at this time. Cover and let the mixture simmer for another 10 minutes. Check every few minutes to make sure the syrup in the pan is not burning and the raisins and cranberries are plumping up. Once the apples are to your desired tenderness turn off the burner and remove the frying pan from the heat. I personally prefer my apples to still have some crunch to them. Let the apple mixture cool down for a few before plating.
When we plated the apple pie filling we used bowls. First place a scoop of the pie filling in the bowl, add a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt and top with two tablespoons of your favorite crispy crunchy cereal and caramel sauce.
Store any of the remaining pie filling in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.