Before Thanksgiving, someone (a non-vegan) asked me what kind of pies I was making. My first response (pumpkin) received an mmm of approval. My second response (vegan apple, with an olive oil crust) was met with a look of disgusted incomprehension.
I was uneasy about the olive oil too. For a long time, I considered both vegan baking and gluten-free baking to be, well, inferior. Now, I think it’s more appropriate to say they are scary, particularly for someone who has never tried.
Now, pretend I had never mentioned olive oil. Does this pie look any different from your average buttery, lardy pie?
Not really. And while the crust certainly tasted differently, it was still a flaky, crisp, complement to the tart apple filling. To my genuine surprise, at a ten-person Thanksgiving dinner with one vegan in attendance, this was the pie everyone wanted, and it was the only dessert to be eaten in its entirety.
If you have never tried vegan baking, I have a few suggestions.
1) Start simple. Don’t pick the strangest, most tricked-out multi-flavor vegan cheesecake you can find.
2) Find a good recipe. Ask your vegan friends for cookbook recommendations, or find a blog/website that seems reputable. Don’t just pick the first thing you found on Google.
3) Don’t get discouraged. Just because one recipe turns out badly doesn’t mean you should forego all vegan baking. Give yourself some time to figure out what you like and how to use potentially unfamiliar ingredients.
I picked this recipe because I’ve had success with Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero’s recipes, and olive oil is more appetizing to me than vegan shortening and margarine products. I hope you enjoy it!
Vegan Apple Pie
adapted from Vegan Pie in the Sky
makes one 9-inch double crust pie
for the crust:
2.5 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup olive oil (I used a mild tasting oil)
4 to 8 tbsp ice water
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1. An hour before you start, place the olive oil in a plastic container. Freeze until opaque and congealed (like melted sorbet).
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Quickly add the oil by the tbsp, cutting it in with your fingers or a pastry cutter.
3. In a cup, combine the ice water and vinegar. Add 2 tbsp to the flour mixture and stir with a spoon or spatula. Add more water until the dough holds together in a soft ball.
4. Divide the dough into two disks. Between two sheets of wax paper, roll each disc out into a circle. Refrigerate until needed.
for the pie:
1 recipe olive oil crust
6 cups peeled granny smith apples, sliced about 1/4 inch thick (about 3 lbs)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
3 tbsp flour
pinch of salt
for the topping:
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp plain almond milk (or other nondairy milk)
1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Fit half the pie dough into a 9 inch pie pan (I used a metal, disposable pan).
2. Combine all the filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the filling to the prepared pie shell. Cover with the top crust and trim/flute the edges.
3. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar for the topping. Brush the top of the pie with almond milk and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Using a sharp knife, make a few slits in the top of the pie to vent steam.
4. Bake the pie for 25 minutes, then lower the heat to 350F and bake for 30-35 more minutes. If the pie is browning too quickly, loosely cover with foil. When done, it should be well browned and bubbling thickly. Place the pie on a cooling rack and cool for 1.5 hours before serving.