Pie has always been a classic holiday dessert. But sometimes we want something a bit different for our company. Maybe, right now you are frantically looking for an alternative to pumpkin pie or apple pie; they seem kinda now what you want this Thanksgiving. Look no further, apple pear caramel crumb pie to the rescue!
Fresh tasting, locally sourced fruits are exactly in the spirit of Thanksgiving. The apple is the predominant flavor but the pear adds sweetness and its special flavor. The sugars, spices and lemon peel create a yummy caramely sauce. It is not that really cloyingly sweet caramel of most sauces; just enough sweetness to tease your palate.
This pie is fantastic with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. I even tried a slice with some sharp cheddar in the British pie tradition; it was nice but I really like it best all alone, so the delicate fruit and spices show their winning flavors.
This recipe is a blending of my own pie filling and the pie crust and crumb recipes from Annalise Robert’s cookbook, Gluten-Free Baking Classics. I used less sugar, more fruit, and made a few other changes to create my own special pie using apples and pears. Her cookbook is a fabulous resource and I can’t recommend it enough to anyone trying to bake gluten free for a family member. There is nothing like the classic desserts that we traditionally enjoy at celebrations and feasts to comfort a celiac who can’t eat what they used to.
Angie’s GF Apple Pear Crumb Pie
1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)
2 tbsp sweet rice flour
1 Tbps. granulated sugar
½ tsp xanthan gum
¼ tsp salt
6 Tbps. cold butter cut into 6 chunks
1 lg egg
2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice
Spray 9 inch metal pie pan with cooking spray, dust with white rice flour.
Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer. Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal. Add egg and juice. Mix until it comes together into big chunks. Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes while you chop the peeled and cored fruit into ¼ to 1/3 inch slices. I use my plastic pie bag; sturdy and helps me roll the crust thin in the middle.
5 cups peeled, cored, and thin sliced cooking apples (4 big apples)
2 cups (2 large pears) bosc pears; peeled, cored, and sliced thin – place in medium bowl
Mix the following in a small bowl and pour over the sliced apples and pears:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tbsp. tapioca flour
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. grated or zested lemon peel (I zested)
Roll out pie crust between the two sheets of wax paper; try to get the thickness even, no thick middle! Peel off one side of paper and place in pie pan, centered. Remove other slice of wax paper. Crimp edges all around. Fill with sweetened fruit mix. Sprinkle the lemon peel evenly over top and pour the crumb topping (1 to 1½ cup) evenly over this mixture. The more crumbs the thicker the crust they will form; for a really thick crust use all the crumbs from the recipe below.
If you love your pie really sweet add another ¼ cup granulated sugar to the dry mix part of the filling. I found the pie to be plenty sweet but everyone has their own sweetness level.
Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes with a piece of aluminum foil on top of the pie, then 30 more minutes uncovered until bubbly and the crust is light brown. I put a pie guard underneath my pie while it bakes to catch any drips. Cool at least 2 hours before serving at room temperature.
Note: I bake pies in my bottom heat pizza oven and it gives me a great browned crust. If your oven isn’t bottom heat you might want to pre-bake the crust 10 minutes before filling and topping the fruit.
Put all four ingredients in the same mixing bowl you made the bottom crust in and mix well with mixer paddle until crumbs form.
¾ c brown rice flour mix
½ c granulated sugar
½ tsp xanthan gum
1/3 c cold butter cut into six chunks
Brown Rice Flour Mix (same as King Arthur’s gf flour mix)
2 c brown rice flour
2/3 c potato starch
1/3 c tapioca flour