Flaky layers of pie crust filled with tender juicy apples? This amazing gluten free apple pie has it all and no one will know the difference! My husband declares this the best pie he’s ever had and hopefully you will, too 🙂
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Ahhhh, apple pie. The quintessential dessert for fall. Layers upon layers of cinnamon-scented soft apples baked in a flaky crust. We thought we’d never have it again. I’m here to tell you that you can have apple pie again, and it will be the best you’ve ever had!!
You know when you’re told you can’t have something, you all of a sudden want it even more? It’s kinda like dieting. You haven’t eaten sweets in weeks and then you start a diet and that’s all you care about. Am I right? That’s pretty much my life. Since being diagnosed with Celiac over 9 years ago, I think a lot about how much I want things I can’t have. And then I think about how I can make things that I can’t have. Which brings me to this pie right here!
My mom has been making the gluten version of this apple pie as far back as I can remember. It was always a hit in our family. It’s packed with juicy, soft apples (there’s no place in this pie for crunchy apples). But the crust–let me tell you, this crust is HEAVEN!!! Without a good crust, a pie just isn’t a pie. I’m so happy I’ve perfected my gluten free pie crust to make this the best apple pie EVER!!!!
What Apples Make the Best Gluten Free Apple Pie?
Everyone has their theory on what makes the best pie apples. In our house, we like an apple pie with a soft filling that doesn’t crunch when you bite into it. My mom (and her mom before her) always used Rome apples.
Rome apples have a short season, so I make all the pies I possibly can when they’re in season. And they are in season right now, so go get some and bake this pie for Thanksgiving!! I found these cute little bags of Rome apples at Walmart.
If you can’t find Rome, Golden Delicious, Jonathan, Ginger Gold, or Jonagold will also work. If you’re in the majority who think biting into a crunchy apple in your pie is the best, then this pie (or these apples at least) are NOT for you. Rome apples don’t turn into applesauce in the pie (as you can see from the pics), but they are tender enough that there are no crunchy apples, only soft. I almost get over protective of my favorite pie apple when the “experts” say they’re no good for pies!
Freezer Trick to Get Ahead
A while ago I saw a trick I had to try–peeling and cutting the apples and then freezing them. It totally works like a charm so I do this every time Rome apples are in season. I buy way more than I need, share some with my mom, and put the rest in the freezer.
Then when I want an apple pie when it’s not Rome apple season, I pull them out and proceed as normal, plopping them right in the pan from the freezer. You can also freeze the filling ingredients right in with the apples if you’d like!
For the bag above, I used a 2 gallon ziploc bag because all the apples I wanted in my pie wouldn’t fit in a 1 gallon bag. That’s a lotta apples!! Peel and slice the apples like normal, put them in the bag, use a straw to suck as much air out as possible, and put the bag in the freezer.
Pre Cooking the Filling for Gluten Free Apple Pie
I learned this from a class I took on Craftsy from one of my most idolized pastry chefs, Gesine Prado. She’s taught several classes on Craftsy and I’ve taken all of them! I love her teaching style and her sense of humor, but most importantly I love her knowledge.
Pre cooking the filling eliminates the gap between the top crust and the baked apples. I thought it was silly and a step I could skip, but when I tried it on my own apple pie filling, I couldn’t believe it worked! It was the first time EVER I haven’t had that large gap, so guess what I’ll be doing to all of my double crust pies?!?!
Do you absolutely HAVE to precook the filling? Nope, certainly not! It’s not going to taste any different. It will most likely have the gap, but the apple pie will still be delicious.
On to the Crust!
Like I said before, without a great crust a pie just isn’t a pie. One of the things I love the most about double-crust pies is MORE CRUST! The amazing thing about this crust is the bottom stays nice and crisp. No soggy bottoms here 😉
The crust is really so simple to make, even my husband could make it (and he doesn’t bake, haha!). Follow along with my recipe for the best gluten free pie crust (complete with video) and you won’t be disappointed. It doesn’t fall apart and is so flaky and buttery, it may actually be better than gluten-filled crust!
How to Get a Crisp Top Crust
Whenever I make a double-crust pie, I always use a little heavy cream (or whole milk if I don’t have cream) to brush the crust all over, and then I sprinkle it with either granulated sugar, sanding sugar, or turbinado sugar.
Start the oven at a higher temperature and bake the pie for about 15 minutes before turning it down. This allows the crust to get really crisp instead of soggy. Cover the edges with aluminum foil (or a pie crust shield like this one) if they start to get too brown before the pie is done.
Storing Gluten Free Apple Pie
I’ve always been under the belief that storing an apple pie right on the counter is just fine because I like the crust to remain flaky and crisp. If you don’t follow this rule of thinking, then by all means the pie can be stored in the refrigerator. It will keep for no more than a few days (mostly because everyone will eat it before then, ha!).
If you’d like to keep it longer than a few days, you can freeze the entire pie. Wrap well and freeze for up to three months. I prefer, though, to freeze a whole unbaked pie. Then, when thawed and baked, it’s as if I just put the pie together!
If you make no other pies this Thanksgiving, let this be the ONE pie you do make. You won’t believe the crust is really gluten free, and that filling will convince you that Rome apples truly are the BEST apple pie apples 🙂
Gluten Free Apple Pie
For the crust
- 1 recipe Best Gluten Free Pie Crust
For the filling
- 5 lbs Rome apples, peeled and sliced into ½-inch thick slices (Golden Delicious, Jonathan, or Jonagold may be substituted)
- 1 cup (200 g) brown sugar (or granulated sugar)
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ⅓ cup (40 g) tapioca starch (cornstarch may be substituted)
- 4 tbsp butter, plus 1 tbsp for dotting the apples before baking
- 1 tbsp heavy cream or milk for brushing over the crust
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar, turbinado sugar, or sanding sugar, optional
For the crust:
- Follow directions for the Best Gluten Free Pie Crust for double-crust pie.
For the filling:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare the crust as above. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment or foil to catch drippings and set aside.
- *In a large Dutch oven, melt the 4 tbsp butter and add in the sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt over medium heat. When the mixture begins to bubble, add the apples and toss with the sugar mixture. Continuously toss the apples for about 5 minutes, just until they begin to release their juices.
- Remove the apples from the heat. Stir the tapioca starch (or cornstarch) into the apples. To cool them quickly, spread them out onto a baking sheet. Allow to cool completely before filling the pie crust.
- Prepare the bottom crust according to the recipe directions. Pile apples high in the bottom crust. Dot pieces of butter all over the top of the apples. Place top crust on top of apples (carefully wrap around rolling pin and unroll on top of apples). Remove excess crust overhanging on sides (my favorite tool for this is kitchen shears). Tuck the bottom crust into the top crust around the edges. Crimp as desired. Cut slits into the top crust to vent. Use scraps for decorations, if desired. (Scraps can also be wrapped well and stored in the fridge or freezer, to be used for one single-crust pie OR made into pie crust pastries–see below).
- Brush the top crust with heavy cream or milk and sprinkle with sugar, if desired.
- Place on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment (to prevent spills in your oven) and bake at 400° F for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 350° and continue to bake for 1 hour, shielding the edges with a pie crust shield or foil as necessary. If a knife inserted into the center gives no resistance, the pie is done. If there is resistance, continue baking at 10-minute intervals, checking after each, until apples are soft.
- Remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool for about an hour before serving. Enjoy with vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream (or even a slice of cheddar cheese)!.
- Store on the counter for 3-4 days (can also be stored in the fridge for the same time).
This is an update to an original post published in November 2019 with some new pictures, more extensive tips and tricks, and a video.