In celebration of Thanksgiving, I attempted to make my first ever Gluten- and Dairy-free ‘MELA PIE’ (Sidebar: Mela is not only Italian for apple, but is coincidentally one of my nicknames. Mela is also a Sanskrit word meaning ‘gathering’ or ‘to meet’ and, therefore, the perfect dessert for a Thanksgiving gathering with family and friends).
Here’s how I tuned a mini-bushel of local organic apples and a handful of ingredients into a delicious homemade MELA PIE:
Gluten-free Pie Crust: I used an El Peto pre-made pie shell that I purchased at the Gluten-Free Expo in Toronto last weekend. Note: the shell is to be pierced, pre-baked for ~15 minutes, and cooled before filling, as per the box (More ambitious bakers: feel free to bake the crust from scratch)Apples (peeled, cored and sliced very thin): I used mildly-sweet and crisp hand-picked local apples from Organics Family Farm, and temporarily placed the cut slices in a water/lemon mixture so they would not ‘brown’ as quickly (thanks to a tip from my Pastry Chef sister)
Apple Filling: I mixed the (strained) thinly sliced apples with 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. I let the mixture sit while I prepared the Crumble Topping (see below), then spooned the apple filling into the cooled pie shell (Note: as the apples ‘shrink’ during baking, I made sure to pile up a bunch of extra apples in a ‘mound’). Crumble Topping: Next I mixed together 3/4 cup of brown sugar, 1.5 cups of Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose GF baking flour, a handful of Hillsview Farms GF/DF organic plain granola, and 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg. Then I ‘forked’ in 1/4 cup of chilled Earth Balance Organic Buttery Flavour Spread until the mixture was crumbly, and placed it on top of the apples.Baking: I covered the edges of the crust with a bit of foil so they did not burn, and baked the pie in the 375 F pre-heated oven for ~40 minutes, until the topping was lightly browned. (Just as one would use a toothpick to test whether a cake was done, I inserted a knife into the middle of the pie, and knew it was done when the knife went through easily. Thanks for the tip, Mom!). And voila! Gluten- and Dairy-free MELA PIE! *Please note: As delicious as the pie looks (and smells!) when fresh out of the oven, make sure to let it cool for ~1 hour before serving. (Sidebar: I’m thinking Good Karma Organic Rice Divine ‘rice cream’ in Very Vanilla would make an awesome sidekick!).
Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!