Gluten free Dutch Apple Pie – with a couple of twists

Prodigal Son

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English recipes for Apple Pie date back at least to 1381, and included pears as well as apples. Whilst in Holland, recipes for Dutch apple pie certainly go as far back as 1514. The basis of the Dutch apple pie is of a pastry shell on the bottom and sides, and traditionally, on top of the apple-based filling is placed either a top of pastry crumbs (fully covering the filling), or a lattice of pastry strips (keeping the filling visible) to hold the filling in place. Crumble was a war time measure when there was not enough sugar and fat to make pastry. The Dutch apple pie may be eaten either hot or cold, on its own, or, with some custard, double cream, or ice cream.

This recipe allows you to bake either variety, and the twists? First, the filling is triple apple: made with apples (although it could also include pears as well), applesauce, and apple butter, as well as the usual flavourings. Secondly, rather than a traditional lattice of pastry strips, the lattice is in the form of feathered leaves layered on the top of the filling randomly, as if the leaves were windblown.

Ingredients (pie shell) (enough for a 9in pie base and lid):
Gluten-free pastry flour mix* 370g
Gum Arabic 2tsp
Salt 1/4tsp
Cane Sugar 55g
Butter 205g (softened, room temp, cut in pieces)
Apple Cider Vinegar 1 1/2tsp (7ml)
Egg (slightly beaten) 100g (approx. 2 extra-large – if necessary add from another egg to make up weight)
Water (cold, if required) 5 – 10ml (1 – 2tsp)
Eggwash (I egg lightly beaten plus a splash of hemp milk)
Filling:
Apple (tart, cooking) 1150g (raw – or a mix of tart and sweet (2:1))
Cane sugar 150g
Cinnamon 2tsp
Lemon juice 2tsp
Vanilla essence 1 1/2tsp
Gluten-free pastry flour mix* 35g
Applesauce 225ml
Apple butter 225ml
Crumb topping (crumble):
Gluten-free flour mix* 175g
Cane sugar 60g
Butter (softened) 100g
Butter (melted) 60g (optional - to pour over top of crumbs on the finished pie)

Method (Pie shell):
Sift flour, add Gum Arabic and mix thoroughly in a bowl
In a mixer bowl cream butter and salt, at a medium speed for ½ – 1min
Scrape down sides and bottom of mixer bowl; add sugar and combine at low speed for ½min
Add 50g flour, and combine at low speed
Add Apple cider vinegar; gradually add slightly beaten eggs, and then 50g flour, beating at a low speed until the mixture comes together
Gradually add rest of the flour, occasionally stopping the machine to scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl, restart and mix until the pastry dough comes together (and if necessary add 1 – 2tsp water, or, more likely, 1 - 3 tbsp of the flour mix (especially during the summer or when it is humid) and allow time to combine) – it may look bitty, then will start to come together and will clean the sides of the bowl, and will look shiny when handled and pressed together.
Lay a piece of cling film/plastic wrap on a pastry board, place the pastry dough on top of it, press into a ½in (13mm) thick rectangle and cover with cling film/plastic wrap
Chill pastry dough in a refrigerator for 30mins minimum, or even overnight (if chilling overnight, when you take the dough out the next day, and before you begin to roll it, tap it a few times with the rolling pin, to begin to loosen it up). The pastry dough will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, or in the freezer for 2 months (if you have frozen it, when you want to use it, take it out and let it rest for 1 hr to come to room temperature)
Wrap a pastry board with parchment paper, dust evenly and lightly with flour, along with dusting the rolling pin
Cut pastry into two pieces, two thirds and one third (place the one third back in the refrigerator); dust hands with flour; then roll the pastry dough three times in one direction, evenly, gently and briskly (ie, confidently); rotate the pastry a ¼ turn (ensuring that the pastry is not stuck to the board (if it is, it means that you are pressing too hard), lift with a spatula and re-flour if necessary); and repeat; and repeat until the pastry dough is 6mm (1/4in) thick and roughly a circle, of at least the diameter of the pie dish plus twice the height of the pie dish plus a little more (say 36cm (14in) for a 9in pie dish) for comfort whilst fitting in the pie dish; ensure that there is enough flour under the rolled pastry dough for it to slide easily (you can make this the day before and put it in the fridge)

Assembly:
Lightly grease the pie dish
Cover top of rolled pastry with a sheet of clingfilm; move pastry dough on the well-floured parchment paper to the pie dish, place centrally over the pie, and with one hand carefully slide the pastry dough off the parchment whilst, with the other hand eases the pastry dough to droop into the pie pan bottom middle (or, simply invert the pie dish over the pastry dough and flip over); working around the circumference, ease the dough into place by gently lifting the clingfilm (or parchment paper) with one hand whilst tapping and pressing the dough into bottom corner; (if pastry dough breaks, use scraps to repair, including, if necessary, to create a thick edge) trim excess dough, leaving approximately 12mm (1/2in) overhang from the lip of the pie dish, tuck overhang inside the pie shell to form a tidy edge and border, blending in at the bottom; to flute the edge, gently ease the dough border in towards the centre (use a paring knife blade), press a finger into the inside pastry dough shell against the other hand’s index finger and thumb to make an even impression; repeat around the circumference to produce a ruffled edge
Place the pie dish in the fridge for 30mins (for the pastry/butter to harden) before baking whilst you make the topping and the filling

Pie top lattice (if using):
Make this before cutting and peeling the apples; take the remaining pastry dough out of the fridge and repeat the above rolling process, this time rolling to a thickness of 4mm (3/16in) – and rolling a rectangular shape is probably better than a circle; using the back tip of a dinner knife, cut leaf shapes out of the dough, and score the central (primary) and lateral (secondary) veins (any scraps left over can be rolled up and re-rolled or added to the existing dough - the pastry dough is very forgiving); put cut dough leaves on a baking tray; and place in fridge to chill

Crumb topping (if using):
Make this before cutting and peeling the apples; in a bowl, using a spoon/hands, mix/rub all the ingredients together, thoroughly, and crumble it up with your hands until it looks like breadcrumbs, or even bigger

Filling:
Peel apples, cut in quarters, and core, and then cut them again so that they are approximately 6mm (1/4in) thick; place in a large mixing bowl, sprinkle cane sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, and vanilla essence over apples, and toss so that the apples are completely covered; add 225ml apple butter and toss again to evenly cover the sliced apples, and leave to infuse
Take the pie dish out of the fridge; with the back of a spoon spread a layer of applesauce over the base (approximately 225ml); add infused apple slices (they may rise above the level of the pie dish, this is OK, especially (preferable) in the centre – as apple slices may sink with baking)

Adding the topping (Pie top lattice):
Take the cut pastry dough leaves out of the fridge and allow them to come towards room temperature (to soften just a little), brush fluted edge with water; in a random, lattice, pattern, layer the leaves over the top of the pie, leaving some spaces where the filling shows through (where the layered leaves touch other parts of the pastry dough (especially at the edges), wet those parts with water (so that they will bind together when baked) and press gently together); brush leaf lattice and pie edge with eggwash

Adding the topping (Crumb topping):
Using your hand to place, sprinkle, cluster, the crumb topping evenly over the apples so that they are completely covered (optional – for a finishing browning touch, drizzle melted butter evenly around the crumb topping)

Baking:
Place a baking tray in the middle of the oven and preheat oven at 200C for 45mins
Place filled and topped pie dish onto the hot baking tray in the oven, and bake for 15mins (this temperature/time combination will help alleviate any possible problems of getting a soggy base (they bake the bottom shell quicker) although it is unlikely to happen with a tart apple filling), before reducing the temperature to 180C and baking for a further 40 – 50mins, or until the mixture is bubbling, and the pie crust is golden brown (at 30mins, make a check, if the crumb top, or lattice top, starts to brown too much, fashion a foil hat for the pie and continue baking).
Remove the baking tray from the oven, move the pie dish to a protected work surface, transfer to a wire cooling rack, and cool for 2 - 3hr

Whichever version you choose to make (or even make both), enjoy!!!

*Gluten-free pastry flour mix
Brown rice flour 290g
Sweet rice flour 150g
Potato starch 75g
Tapioca starch 210g
Arrowroot powder 35g
Total weight 760g

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