You only need 8 ingredients for this entire recipe (+salt & water), as the same ingredients are repeated in both the filling and dough. These are a much healthier take on hand pies, as they are made with pecan butter instead of oil or butter, giving them a wonderful "buttery" depth of flavor and crispy texture.
Cuisine: American, Gluten-free, Vegan
Keyword: apple hand pies, gluten-free apple pie, vegan apple pie
Servings: 10hand pies
Author: Brandi Doming
1/2cup raw pecan butter (SEE DIRECTIONS)
1cup + 2 tablespoons (136g)tapioca starch (other starches do not work here)
1/2cup (80g)white rice flour
7tablespoons (63g)coconut sugar
1/4+ 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
6tablespoonshot water (helps make the rice and tapioca flours become like "gluten")
1granny smith apple, peeled & chopped (you'll need about 1 1/4 cups of 1/2 inch cubes, 130g)
4tablespoons (36g)coconut sugar
1teaspoonapple pie spice (storebought blend, or see note below for sub)
1/4cupchopped pecan pieces
1tablespoonor so of Raw sugar and extra spice for sprinkling
APPLE SPICE BLEND
If you can't find the apple pie spice, then just combine 3/4 teaspoon quality cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
As always, use a scale for accurate results with gluten-free baking, to avoid room for error. I tested these pies with different starches and flours (with many fails!) and this is the best combo. It's crispy, buttery and has good structure. Therefore, I do not recommend subbing whatsoever. Both tapioca and rice flour perform very differently in dough form than other flours and are crucial. The pecan butter is crucial, as it's much more oily than other nut butters, which make it work in this crust. Another nut butter will not yield the same results, I tested.
This pie dough will also work for a full size 9 inch pie for my Best Vegan Pumpkin Pie. Just follow the same steps here for making the dough and after chilling it, roll the dough out in between 2 pieces of parchment paper (see photos above) to about 10-12 inches round, 1/4 inch thick. Peel off the top paper and lift up the bottom piece of parchment and carefully flip over the dough onto a greased 9 inch pie dish. Press the dough into the pie dish smoothly and piece together any cracks. Gently prick the bottom of the pie dough several times with a fork ONLY if needing a fully baked crust like for a no-bake pie, like this Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie, bake at 350°F 15-20 minutes until it is light golden brown on the edges and the bottom looks cooked and dry. If using this dough for my pumpkin pie or another pie that bakes a long time, do not prebake it.
Time saving tips: You can make both the pecan butter and the dough the day before you bake the pies, then it all comes together really fast. You can even make the filling the day before as well and just keep stored in the fridge.
First, make the pecan butter which only takes 10 minutes. Store-bought does not work, it's too oily. Use raw pecans and not roasted, because the roasted are too oily. Add 2 cups raw pecans to a food processor and process into a flour. Scrape down the sides and process for about 10 minutes until it is very, very smooth and creamy. You will need to scrape down the sides a couple of times during. Do not stop processing once it is a paste, you need to keep going until it is very soft and smooth and the consistency of a soft buttercream frosting. It should be smoother than almond butter, more oily. If it's not oily enough, then it won't blend properly with the flours! You will have extra, but will only need 1/2 cup for the dough.
Clean and dry out your food processor before the next step. The pecan butter should be cooled and at room temperature before the next step, so that's why I recommend making it earlier.
Next, make your dough. Add the tapioca starch, rice flour, coconut sugar and salt to a clean/dry food processor. Pulse just to blend together.
Measure out only 1/2 cup of the pecan butter and add to the food processor, with the 6 tablespoons hot water (I warmed my water for 30 sec in the microwave) and vanilla. Process until it all comes together into a really sticky dough, resembling thick peanut butter, a few seconds. Scrape the sides and process once more. It will not be like a traditional pie dough, it will be more sticky, truly like peanut butter, but will firm up a TON in the chilling step. Do not be tempted to add extra flour! Refer to photo for texture.
Scrape out your every bit of dough onto plastic wrap. Wrap it up and form a ball and place in the freezer for 2 hours. The dough will be too sticky to use immediately. If wanting to store the dough overnight, store in the fridge instead of the freezer. Do not remove until ready to use right away.
While the dough is chilling, make your apple pie filling. Add the chopped apples, apple spice blend and coconut sugar into a small pot and stir around to coat all the apples. Add the 1 tablespoon water and stir. Turn the heat to medium. Once it starts to sizzle, immediately turn to the lowest heat, cover and let cook for just 5 minutes, just until the apples have began to soften and looking syrupy. You just want to slightly cook them, so they will be fully cooked after the oven baking step. Let the filling cool off.
Preheat an oven to 350°F (177°C) and line a pan with parchment paper.
Unwrap the chilled dough and use immediately. Place on a large piece of parchment paper, add another piece on top of the dough and roll out into a large round piece at 1/8 inch thick, rolling out from the center of the dough, to the edges. Follow above photo tutorial as a guide. You also don't want the dough too thick, or you won't have enough for 10 pies. Using a round cookie cutter or glass about 3 inches in size, cut out 20 circles. I used a biscuit cutter that is 2.75 inches. Keep re-rolling out the dough until you've made 10 pies.
Place each bottom dough piece onto the parchment lined pan. Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the apple pie filling onto the center of each piece, spread out, leaving a little space to seal the edges. Be careful about overfilling them, or the tops will break and ooze out. Add a few of the pecan pieces as well. Place the tops on gently and press down the edges with your fingers. It sticks very easily together. Use damp fingers if necessary. If any of the dough slightly cracks, just dampen a finger and smooth it back out. For decorative edges, you can crimp them with a fork. Lastly, with a sharp knife, cut a tiny slit opening on the tops of each pie, this will allow a little steam to escape. The slit should only be about 1/4 inch.
Lightly dampen a pastry brush with water and brush the tops of each pie, just to moisten them, so the sugar will stick. Sprinkle extra apple pie spice or cinnamon and raw sugar (or coconut sugar) all over the tops. Don't be shy with the sugar. The pies themselves are mildly sweet, so this is where the nice sweet bite comes from.
Bake for 13-15 minutes, just until the tops are firm and no longer soft. Mine were perfect right at 15 minutes, but your oven may take a minute less or more. Just keep an eye on them and feel the tops for a crisp touch. Transfer to a cooling rack. Eat while warm. These hold up perfectly, just like a gluten-filled pie crust. Keep leftovers in a sealed container. Reheat them in a low heat oven just until warm and crispy again. They will not be crispy if reheated in the microwave, but soft & chewy, but still delicious.