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13 March 2014

Getting Ready for Pi Day with Crustless Apple Pies

Tomorrow is Pi Day (3.14...  --> 3/14) and it's such a great excuse to make and eat pie, since pi is about circles, and pie is in the shape of a circle, it's only appropriate. (Although I guess there are other treats shaped like circles, but it's not the same. And apparently January 23rd is always National Pie Day, but we always forget about that one.) So, I'm really excited, we should have a lot of pies tomorrow at the office. (I LOVE my work.)

I'm planning to make apple and rhubarb tarte tatin (which I've wanted to try for a long time) based on this recipe, and I kind of want to try a buttermilk pie, because I have buttermilk in the fridge, and maybe I would add orange zest to it. That sounds good, right? I have my pie crusts made, and I did them differently this time, using this recipe, except I used buttermilk instead of sour cream, because of all the buttermilk in the fridge, so we'll see how that turns out. (Don't worry, I did some research, and there is such a thing as buttermilk pie crust, so it should be fine.)

And tonight, to get ready and share the joy of pi(e), I made these Crustless Apple Pies (because these are circles, too). I changed it up a little, we were feeding a gluten-free person, so no flour and no oats because oats are often processed in the same facilities as flour, and are often contaminated with gluten.

Mini Crustless Apple Pies (I'm calling them mini because the apples were pretty small)

6 granny smith apples, cut in half and cored (or any good type of baking apple)
handful of dried pitted dates
honey (sorry, I didn't measure it, maybe 1/8 cup, possibly even less, honey is super sweet)
1 tsp tapioca flour (you could use cornstarch or flour, but if you can get tapioca flour I recommend it, I use tapioca for thickening all my fruit pies now)
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of cardamom
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
about 1/2 - 3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
2 Tbsp butter, melted

Scoop out the innards of the apple halves with a melon baller - I never would have thought a melon baller would work so well on apples, but it's perfect, it's also just the right size for coring the apple halves - leaving about 1/3" of flesh inside of the peel, set aside the scooped out innards, treat the apple shells and pieces with lemon juice to keep them from browning while you work (I didn't have enough lemon juice so I filled up a bowl with cold water and a little white vinegar and let the cut up apples hang out in it).

Soak the dates in boiling hot water for a few minutes to let them get soft, cut into smallish pieces.

Mix together apple-innard pieces (you might want to cut these a little smaller than melon-baller size) and soaked dates, pour on some honey until it looks good (taste a piece of apple to see if its at a good sweetness level), add the tapioca flour, spices, lemon zest and lemon juice, stir it all together.

Place the hollowed out apple halves on a baking sheet, stuff this delightful mixture into each shell, dividing equally between all of them, it should be a little mounded up, but not overfull in each.

Mix together the sweetened coconut and melted butter (I whizzed the coconut through my spice blender for a few seconds to get it into finer pieces, I don't love the texture of it in long shreds), and divide out spoonfuls on top of each apple half.

Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes, the juices will be going all over, and the coconut topping will be crisp, and the apples shells will be getting soft , but not collapsing. Let cool a little and serve, maybe with ice cream or whipped cream.

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