Pies, cakes, and desserts galore fill the holiday season. We’re all about enjoying treats, but we do love making traditional dishes more Clean-friendly, like these mini apple pies. You can satisfy your sweet tooth without feeling weighed down like some processed desserts might leave you feeling. Plus, this dessert is in bite-sized tarts, so it’s easier to enjoy dessert anytime of day!
An apple (pie) a day
Both Honeycrisp and Granny Smith apples work well in this dessert. Honeycrisp apples are slightly sweeter but still have a tartness to balance them, while granny smith apples are more on the tart side. We’ve kept the skin on our apples for the most nutrient-dense dish, but if you prefer peeled apples, they work in this recipe as well. Apples are one of the fruits labeled the “dirty dozen,” so we recommend buying organic, if you can.
Apples are incredibly nutrient-dense, providing five grams of fiber in one large fruit, minimal impact on blood sugar, and a slew of free-radical fighting polyphenols. A few of the beneficial compounds found in apples are quercetin, catechin, and chlorogenic acid. Quercetin helps fight inflammation in the body and has been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers when regularly consumed. Catechin is a type of antioxidant which fights disease-causing free radicals and improves brain function. It’s the antioxidant that gives green tea its healthful reputation. Chlorogenic acid has been linked to steady, lower blood sugar.
Add some crumble to it
The crumble topping of these mini apple pies not only adds a buttery, crunchy layer but also comes with benefits for the body. We love adding some healthy fats to dessert, in this case in the form of walnuts and ghee (or coconut oil). The fat helps create a sense of satiety. Further, the fat in the walnuts and ghee help slow the release of glucose into the blood, meaning you won’t get a surge of sugar that results in a crash later. This is important for mood stabilization, decreasing the risk for metabolic syndrome, and sustaining you between meals without the need to snack.
2 large Honeycrisp or Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
1 tablespoon gluten-free flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
dash of salt
1 package (14.1 ounces) refrigerated gluten-free, dairy-free pie crusts*
*To make this cleanse-friendly a crust, you can grease cupcake liners, double your crumble topping below, and put a layer of the topping below and on top of apple filling. Bake as otherwise directed.
3 tablespoon coconut palm sugar
2 tablespoons gluten-free flour
2 tablespoons melted ghee or coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons raw walnuts, minced
2 cans full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
1 tablespoon coconut palm nectar or maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Using a wide mouth mason jar or a large, round cookie cutter, cut your pie dough into 12 rounds. Place each round in muffin tin (you will have ~1/4 inch crust going up the side of each muffin tin).
Remove the core of apple and finely chop (we prefer to keep the skin on for added color and texture, but you can remove the skin if you prefer). Toss apples with all filling ingredients. Scoop an even serving of apples into each pastry round.
Melt ghee or coconut oil. Mince walnuts. Combine all topping ingredients together. Place an even dollop of topping over each mini apple pie.
Bake mini pies for 18-20 minutes, or until apples are cooked through and crust is golden brown. Let cool in muffin tin completely before removing.
When ready to serve, whip together the solid portion of coconut cream that sits on top (you can save liquid for smoothies or another recipe), nectar, and vanilla. Serve each pie with a dollop of whipped topping.
Recipe and photography by Kaitlyn Noble
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