While this fall has been one of the busiest I can recall, I have also been fortunate to be traveling a ton, living life to it’s fullest and doing my best to enjoy each and every moment. While visiting San Diego county a few weeks ago, in the adorable town of Julian, my husband, Mark, and I were walking the Main Street of this quaint old gold mining town. Julian is an enigma of Southern California, experiencing all 4 seasons, even including snow in the winter. It’s unlike any other place I have been out here. It was an instant love-connection for this east coast girl.
We went at the start of the fall season and autumn was already in the air. Crisp cool breezes, chilly nights, the leaves of many of the trees already changing color and the sweet scent of apple pie in the air. This town doesn’t mess around when it comes to apples. After the gold rush was over, the pioneers remained in Julian, as they began farming the rich land. While many crops were planted and animals raised, apples seemed to be their new “gold”. To this day, during apple season, you will find fruit stands filled with fresh organic apples, locally pressed real apple cider and pies galore. Oh the pies! Quite literally, Main Street in Julian is filled with the aroma of this spiced comfort food.
As we strolled the tiny Main Street, Mark was seeking out what he deemed to be “the perfect slice”. I am pretty sure we walked into every single bakery and he looked on as if he was making a major investment purchase. Only a few city blocks long, Main Street had near 10 bakeries, all specializing in their version of this American classic. I was convinced, being gluten-free, I would only be experiencing this as an observer, enjoying the smells and the smile on my husband’s pie-loving face. But alas, I found one amazing bakery, tucked away a bit off the beaten path, Apple Alley Bakery. The only bakery in ALL of Julian offering gluten-free pies. I opted for the Apple Boysenberry Crumb Pie and as soon as my slice was gone, I wanted more.
I bought a 3-lb bag of organic Julian apples on our visit, just in the hopes of recreating this pie. With 90-100ºF temps for much of September, I kept putting it off, avoiding turning the oven on. I finally got a cool morning last week and this pie was first on my list. I have a big 10-lb bag of Otto’s Cassava Flour and it has quickly become my baking staple. I prefer to limit the grains I consume these days, but I tire of the nut flours and coconut flours. While they are a great option, it just isn’t the same as the grain containing flour. The cassava flour is the answer for me, creating a more starchy/flour type consistency, so it was definitely the answer for this pie.
The crust is flakey and chewy. The filling tart and sweet, the apples retaining the perfect amount of crisp. I couldn’t find boysenberries, so I went with a mixed-berry blend of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries and it was perfect. The sweet and crisp crumb topping finishes this beautiful pie off nicely. This pie is delicious served warm, with a dollop of whipped coconut cream or homemade dairy-free ice cream.
[print_this]Grain-free Apple Berry Crumb Pie (Paleo with Vegan and AIP options)
Grain-free Cassava Flour Pie Crust
- 1 1/2 cups cassava flour
- pinch of sea salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, or grass-fed butter, chilled and diced into small cubes(frozen 15 minutes)*
- 1/2 cup ice water (you may need a little more or less)
Apple Berry Filling
- 4 cups apples, cored, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 2 cups fresh or frozen and thawed berries (I went with a mixed blend of blackberries, blueberries and raspberries)
- 2 tablespoons cassava flour
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- pinch ground cloves
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup cassava flour
- 3 tablespoons chilled coconut oil or butter*, cut into cubes
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar or other granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch ground nutmeg
- pinch ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Make the crust: Add the cassava flour, salt and cinnamon to the bowl of your food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Next, add the frozen butter or coconut oil cubes to the flour and pulse a few times until it resembles a coarse corn meal or crumbly sand. Slowly add in the water, a little at a time, until fully incorporated. The amount of water can differ, plus or minus about 1 tablespoon or so. The dough at this point will likely still appear crumbly, but it will be moist and when you press together in your hands, it will hold together well. (this can also be done with a whisk to mix the dry ingredients and a pastry cutter or fork to cut in the coconut oil or butter)
Press the pie crust into a 9-inch pie pan so it is evenly distributed across the bottom and up the sides. If you like to flute or crimp the edges for pretty presentation, please, by all means. It’s just not in this girl’s repertoire.
Prebake the crust for about 10 minutes, until ever so lightly golden brown. Meanwhile make the filling.
Make the filling: In a large bowl add the apple slices, berries and the lemon juice. Add the remaining ingredients, sprinkling the cassava flour overtop of the other ingredients, evenly. Toss well to combine and evenly coat. Once the pie crust has pre-baked, pour the filling into the prepared pie crust.
Make the crump topping: In a medium sized bowl, add all the crumb topping, work together with your fingers until large clumps form. Evenly sprinkle the crumb topping over the filling.
Bake the pie: Bake the pie in the 350ºF over for 35-40 minutes until golden brown on top and the filling slightly bubbling. If the topping begins to brown more than you’d like, you can always cover it with aluminum foil. Let cool 15-20 minutes before serving. Serve with a scoop of whipped coconut cream or homemade dairy-free ice cream. Enjoy!
- you could also use all-vegetable sustainably-sourced palm oil shortening
- to make AIP-friendly, opt for coconut oil or palm oil shortening and skip the nutmeg
- to make vegan, opt for coconut oil or palm oil shortening