Crustless, vegan apple pies made with spiced apples and a gluten free, granola-like topping.
First things first: let me explain the title of this recipe.
To be honest, I had no idea what to call this concoction of spiced apples and a crunchy, nutty topping. Deconstructed Apple Pies sounded way too pretentious. And even though it would make sense to serve these desserts in bowl, Apple Pie in a Bowl didn’t have much of a ring to it.
So, Apple Pie in a Glass it was.
Everyone loves apple pie, right? We’ve all heard that phrase ‘as American as apple pie!’. But in the interest of historical accuracy, I have to point out that apple pie was not an American invention. Apple pie actually predates ye old’ US of A.*
From what I can gather, apple pie dates back to the 14th Century – 1381, to be precise – and was created in England, not America. The pie was sugarless and while there was a pastry shell, it was inedible. Oh, and the pastry shell was called a ‘coffin’. Fun.
But the English can’t take all the credit. Pies (in general, not specifically apple pies) apparently go back to the Ancient Greeks.
*Obviously the land mass was there, and inhabited by Native Americans. But you know what I mean, right?
So, in summary: apple pies aren’t American, but they are 100% delicious.
If you feel like making a pie crust, baking a pie, slicing it and serving the slices à la mode, then don’t let me stop you. Few things in life can beat the down home goodness of an authentic apple pie.
But if you’re looking for something much easier (and/or a dessert with minimal sugar, no oil and no butter), then I might have the solution for you.
The main part of these desserts – or breakfasts – are made by cooking some apples, spices and vanilla extract on the stove. I cut my apples into thin slices, but if you’d prefer to chop your apples into cubes, then cubes it is.
The topping is basically a cross between cookie crumbs and granola. It’s made from a mixture of oats and almond meal (i.e. ground almonds – also called almond flour), a small amount of brown sugar, a bit of cinnamon and cloves, and plenty of chopped nuts.
Assembling the desserts really couldn’t be more simple: it’s cooked apples + topping (+ ice cream?).
Even though I called this ‘Apple Pie in a Glass’, I should warn you that if you put hot apples into glasses, the glasses will fog up with steam. Hence why a bowl makes more sense, and why I should really work on my recipe names.
However, if you allow the apples to cool (or have leftover apples and topping), then you can make a delicious breakfast that looks pretty in a glass. Try layering the cooled apples, topping and a (good-tasting) yogurt in a glass. It’s like a creamy apple pie parfait for breakfast. But you really must use a good-tasting yogurt for that – nothing too sour or artificial tasting. No-one wants a sour pie.
In the end it doesn’t matter whether you eat these for dessert, for breakfast, in a bowl, in a glass, or in any other vessel. The point is: they taste like apple pie.
And I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love apple pie – that delicious, not-so-American dish.
- For the topping
- 1 cup (105g) rolled oats
- ¼ cup (25g) almond meal
- 2 tablespoons (20g) brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ cup (25g) sliced almonds
- ¼ cup (35g) chopped nuts
- 2 tablespoons (10g) shredded coconut
- 3 tablespoons (45mL) maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the apple filling
- 2 ½ pounds (1.135kg) sweet apples (about six apples)
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- Pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon blackstrap molasses (optional)
- 2 tablespoons (30mL) water, plus extra if needed
- Ice cream or good-tasting yogurt
- For the topping: Preheat the oven to 340°F (170°C). Line a large baking tray with non-stick paper
- In a large bowl, combine the rolled oats, almond meal, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Mix in the sliced almonds, chopped nuts and shredded coconut.
- Add the maple syrup and vanilla extract, and mix until well combined. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking tray.
- Bake for 18 - 22 minutes (rotating the baking tray halfway through), or until the topping is golden brown. The topping should be relatively crunchy, although it will become a little crunchier as it cools.
- Allow the topping to cool. Ideally, transfer it from the hot baking tray and onto a cooling rack lined with non-stick paper. Store the cooled topping in airtight container until needed.
- For the apple filling: Core the apples, and cut them into slices that are approximately ¼-inch thick.
- Place the apple slices, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, vanilla extract, blackstrap molasses and water in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Cook the mixture for 20 - 25 minutes, stirring often, or until the apple slices have softened and most of the liquid has been absorbed. If the liquid is absorbed before the apples have softened, add more water and turn down the heat. If too much liquid, turn the heat up.
- Divide the apple mixture between 4 - 6 bowls (or glasses). Sprinkle each bowl generously with topping, and serve with a scoop of ice cream.
- Alternatively, allow the apple mixture to cool completely. In 4 - 6 glasses, layer the topping, cooled apple slices and yogurt. Enjoy!