Saturday, September 17, 2022

Making Mock Apple Pie

Here in the Upper Midwest, September means apple season and all the good things that go along with it.  Apple pie, turnovers, caramel apples, apple crisp—the list goes on and on.  My favorite variety has always been Cortland, followed in close second place by Macintosh, and then anything else that's a bit more tart than sweet. 

So with all the ripe, authentic bounty of the apple orchard, why in the world would I want to make a mock apple pie?  Well, it all comes down to my sensitive digestion (darn it).  I love apples, but they no longer love me. 

You see, apples are a big source of FODMAPs, an acronym for certain types of carbohydrates that IBS sufferers like me have trouble digesting.  I won't bore you with the entire list of delicious foods I've had to break up with, but if you ever need a good cry and want something to tip you over the edge, do an internet search on FODMAPs.

Anyway, as I passed by a loaded apple tree on my walk the other day, I wondered if there was a recipe for mock apple pie that I could eat.  Not the old RITZ cracker mock apple pie (no thanks, gluten) that I remember printed on every box in my youth.  But maybe something made with, say, zucchini?  Zucchini is a low-FODMAP vegetable that I tolerate well and, given its basic blandness, might be amenable to the ruse.  It also happens to be that lucky time of year when gardener friends are desperate to share their overgrown zucchini, the ones that look  like baseball bats.

So I sat down to Google "mock apple pie recipes with zucchini" and's definitely a thing!  

After scanning the ingredient list of a half dozen such recipes, I finally settled on one that had a lower amount of sugar (see the above preference for tart over sweet).  It was this recipe for Zapple Pie.  You're going to want to click that link and save it.  Trust me.

Then I got down to business.  First order of business:  Procure a big-ass zucchini.  Luckily, my sister had just been gifted one and let me have it.  Literally, that is; she didn't bop me with it, although it did resemble a small club.

I substituted my own gluten-free pie crust in this recipe.  I mixed that together and put the pie dough in the refrigerator to chill.

Then I peeled and de-seeded the zucchini and cut it into slices.  The recipe called for 6 cups, but I used 8, thinking it'd cook down (it did somewhat, but surprisingly not that much).  Also, I just like more pie filling.

Next, I simmered the zucchini in lemon juice for 5 minutes, then added in the sugar, spices, and tapioca.  I used tapioca flour in place of the Minute tapioca because that's what I had on hand.  After simmering another 5 minutes or so, it had thickened up nicely and totally looked like apple pie filling!

As that was set aside to cool a bit, I pressed half my gluten-free pie crust into a square glass pan.  My gluten-free crust recipe tends to be crumbly and doesn't always roll out as well as a regular flour crust does, but I've learned that patting it in the pan works out fine.  I patted it in the bottom and about an inch up the sides of the pan.

After the filling was added to the bottom crust, I flattened out the other half of the crust as best I could, then lifted sections of it with a spatula onto the top of the filling.  I proceeded like that, adding sections of crust and fitting them together until the top was covered.

Let's call it rustic.  It sounds nicer than "cobbled together."  By the way, this is the first time I've baked a two-crust pie in a square pan.  I normally use a round pie plate, but I decided to try a slab pie this time.  I may make more pies this way from now on.  Not very pretty, but easier and just as good.

I brushed the top with some almond milk and sprinkled on about a tablespoon or so of coarse granulated sugar, and popped it into the oven.  Pretty soon, the house smelled wonderful!

After it had baked per the directions, I took it out to cool.  I could hardly wait to try it, but I knew it had to cool almost completely before I cut into it.  I went for a long walk.  When I came back it was still a bit warm, but my patience had given out.  I cut a piece and took a bite.

Ding-ding-ding!  It tasted JUST LIKE APPLE PIE!!  Had I not made it myself, I would not believe it wasn't real apple pie!  It hit all the marks for taste, texture, and just the right amount of tangy sweetness.

Yes, yes, yes!  I will definitely make Zapple Pie again!  I know I'm using way too many exclamation points, but I am so stoked that this pie turned out so well.  It's the little things that make me happy!  Except it feels like a BIG win to enjoy a piece of what tastes like real apple pie!

So tell me, have you ever made or eaten mock apple pie?  If you like apples, do you have a favorite kind?



Quilting Babcia said...

I've never had a mock apple pie of any sort, but this one sounds really interesting. And the wor,d is always looking for recipes for those baseball bat size zucchini. When the grands were small we hollowed out some, attached paper "sails" and floated them down the creek.

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

That is amazing, Paulette!!! Looks delicious, too!!!

Pamela Dempsey said...

What a beautiful pie! My husband loves apple 🍎 anything so will have to try this! Thanks for the great post!🥰

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

YUMMMMM I actually canned Zuchinni as apple pie filling this year - of course we had to taste test it and it was amzing!! yours looks so good!!!

Quiltdivajulie said...

I have never made a Mock Apple Pie - I'm blessed to be able to eat the real deal. BUT your recipe sounds SO much better than the one I grew up with on "the box."