[vegan, palm oil-free, refined sugar-free]
The front lawn of my parents’ house is home for three apple trees. One of them is approximately one hundred years old. It was there long before the house my parents built on the lot. The other two trees are later additions. They were planted there two or three years ago. All three have yielded plenty of apples each fall. From one harvest season to another, there have been ripe white transparents, red cinnamon spice apples, and fall apples. The veganized classic apple pie is made with all three varieties.
Apple Blast from the Past
I have adapted the veganized classic apple pie from a recipe that I first tried in the fall of 1993. That’s when Soul Asylum’s “Runaway Train” and Spin Doctors’ “Two Princes” were huge hits. And Whitney Houston’s cover of “I Will Always Love You”, of course. In true grunge fashion, baggy jeans and plaid shirts were all the rage. That’s also when I was an insecure 7th grader. We had just started having home economics, and traditional Finnish apple pie was among the recipes that we made during the first few lessons.
I really enjoyed home economics. Our teacher was a strict, old-fashioned older lady, but she sure knew how to keep us in check. She was also our homeroom teacher and could actually be really nice to the students that were smart enough to be nice to her first. I though of her as fair. And for some reason, I’ve always fared best under the guidance of tough, demanding teachers. We had a Swedish teacher that was like that, and I can honestly say that I owe a lot of my solid command of the language to her. I think it’s about keeping my easily wandering mind from wandering and focused on what’s relevant.
The 7th-grade home economics books had many great recipes that I kept experimenting with at home. I still have the book. I might not be using it as much now, but from time to time, I enjoy veganizing a recipe or two from it. Today’s veganized classic apple pie is an example of those.
Updated & Veganized Classic Apple Pie
The original ingredients list looks like this:
And in case that was a whole lot of pig Latin for you, here’s the list in English:
- 1 heaping cup all-purpose wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla sugar (typical Finnish dry ingredient containing vanilla powder and granulated, white sugar; can be substituted with vanilla extract)
- sour milk (cultured milk sold in the Nordic countries) or sour cream (the kind sold in the Nordic countries)
- 1/3 cup shortening
- 1 egg
- 4–5 apples
- about 1 tsp cinnamon
- about 2 tbsp granulated sugar
For greasing the pie dish:
- margarine (the literal translation would be ‘grease’, but that sounds weird!)
The most substantial difference from the original is veganization, of course. Yes, we are making a vegan classic apple pie. Since both sour milk and sour cream are regular dairy products, I substituted Alpro Plain No Sugars for them. Besides, if you’re located anywhere except in the Nordic countries, you’d be unlikely to find those sour products at grocery stores. Not that it matters, since we’re not doing dairy. I substituted cold-pressed virgin coconut oil for the shortening. Vegan butter would work, too. Finally, I substituted the egg with aquafaba, which is chickpea brine.
Another major change is skipping the refined sugar. Anyone that’s into vegan baking is familiar with the avoidance of white sugar. Historically, sugar has been filtered through bone char to achieve the white color. Needless to say, such sugar would not be vegan. At least in my home country, though, bone char is no longer used in the production of white sugar. But since white sugar isn’t health-promoting, either, vegan bakers and bloggers tend to prefer alternatives that raise blood sugar levels less dramatically. For this recipe, I chose coconut sugar for the batter and maple syrup for the apple filling.
Thirdly, I updated the veganized classic apple pie by adding more filling. The original recipe says to cut the apples into thin slices and to layer them in a round, symmetrical pattern on top of the batter. I made things easier: I simply cut the apples into small cubes, added the maple syrup and the cinnamon, and rolled them in a large bowl.
Because of the amount of filling, veganized classic apple pie is really rich, thick, and moist, with a deliciously chunky texture. There’s enough to eat in a slice for a cup (or two) of coffee. So yes, the updated recipe definitely deserves some major praise. The veganized recipe takes classic apple pie to a whole new level but manages to remain pretty much anyone’s favorite.
If the Darkening Fall Nights Make You Pie Crazy…
…there are other things that might work, too. As far as I’m concerned, late September nights are good for eating pretty much anything sweet.
If you’ve run out of apples, I’d go with these:
- Cookie dough cups – These totally yummy, no-bake goody bites cure all kinds of cravings, and could even mend broken hearts. They’re soooo good!
- Peanut butter cookies – These 3-ingredient cookies are super easy to make, in case you want something sweet right now.
- Inside-out blondies – Nothing can go wrong with soft chocolate batter and amazing Peanut Butter chips. It’s a winning combination!
Veganized Classic Apple Pie
- 1 cup whole wheat or spelt flour or gluten-free light flour blend
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp coconut sugar or regular granulated sugar
- ½ cup + ⅓ cup unsweetened soy or oat yogurt
- ⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
- 3 tbsp aquafaba i.e. chickpea brine
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 10 small apples
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 395°F/200°C. Grease a pie pan with vegan butter or nonstick spray.
- Melt the coconut oil in a hot water bath.
- Slice and chop the apples and add them in a large bowl. Add the cinnamon and maple syrup. Carefully toss the apples in the bowl to get the coating on most of them.
- In another large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and coconut sugar mix well with a wooden fork. Add the soy yogurt, melted coconut oil, aquafaba, and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.
- Pour the dough into the pie pan. Spoon the apple filling on top and spread out evenly, leaving some of the dough visible at the outer edges.
- Bake the pie on the center rack for 30–35 minutes.
- Let the pie cool for 30 minutes before serving. The recipe makes 8 sizable slices. Refrigerate leftovers for up to a week. At room temperature, they will keep for a couple of days.