A healthier apple pie made with a cinnamon spiced filling, sweetened with brown sugar and a whole grain crust. Your guests won’t even know this pie is a lightened up version.
I love that apple pie doesn’t really have a season. It’s a classic dessert that is perfect for any occasion.
Apple pie for birthday? YES.
Apple pie for America’s Birthday? SURE.
Apple Pie for cookouts? YEP
Apple pie for Thanksgiving? Definitely.
Apple pie for Christmas? You betcha.
And because I am Fit Mitten Kitchen and always looking for ways to lighten up classic dessert recipes, you bet your bottom dollar I created the best healthier apple pie for you all.
Of course the word “healthier” is subjective and some people may or may not agree with that descriptor… But in comparison to a traditional apple pie, my recipe is lightened up, but doesn’t compromise on flavor one bit.
I’m always shocked at the amount of sugar some traditional recipes call for. Especially in fruit desserts where the fruit is already sweet on its own.
Anyways, I felt it was my duty as a “healthy food blogger” to bring you my version of a healthier apple pie – one you can have in your arsenal for any and all occasions.
The Best Healthier Apple Pie
And if you’re new to baking pies… Well, I am not going to lie to you – baking a crust can be a little challenging the first couple of times. So if this is your first pie rodeo, ain’t no shame in buying a pre-made pie crust. Just being honest.
BUT if you’re up for the challenge, it’s fun. Also I’ll share tons of tips and resources I used that helped me so you can feel confident making a pie crust (more on that below).
How to prepare the pie crust
Upon my pie research, I got obsessed with making “the best” pie crust possible. And then I realized I am not trying to win any pie awards here, I just need the recipe to be delicious and approachable for you guys.
With that came a few trial and errors (and frustration) but what I learned in the process is that patience is key.
I used an all butter pie crust recipe, adapted from Bob’s Red Mill. Using all butter produces the flakiest, “best” pie crust according to many sources. But you also have to make sure you keep your ingredients really *really* cold, which means you’re chilling the dough a couple of different times
If dairy-free or vegan you can sub the recipe I share with vegetable shortening. I would be hesitant to use all coconut oil in this particular pie crust because I can’t vouch for the results. My friend Brita, from Food with Feeling, shares a great Coconut Oil Vegan Pie Crust that I think would work here.
What’s great about this apple pie recipe is you don’t need to blind bake the crust. If you’re not familiar with blind baking, it’s when a crust is pre-baked before adding the filling. This technique is mostly used for pies with super wet fillings, like pumpkin.
When I tested blind baking a pie crust for the first time, my sides fell in and I realized my crust had not chilled long enough. But fortunately for this recipe no blind bake is needed… So moving on!
See notes in the recipe page for how to prepare this pie crust in advance.
How to Prepare the Apple Pie Filling
Peeling and cutting the apples is probably the most time-consuming, hands on part of the recipe. But if you have kitchen helpers or an SO that is willing to bake with you, I suggest recruiting them to speed things up.
Or if you’re a solo baker, maybe you find the process therapeutic…
Either way you’re simply peeling the apples, slicing them into about 1/4″ thick slices, and tossing them with sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice and tapioca or cornstarch. I like to let this mixture sit about 20-30 minutes to allow the apples to soften and flavors set in.
You’ll find that some of the juices will remain at the bottom of the bowl. You don’t want to add all of this in, just about two tablespoons worth and drizzled over the top of the apples once you’ve placed them in the pie crust.
TIP: Start by placing the round part of the apple slices out and work your way in, then add layers until you’ve filled the pie dish to the top – it’ll be about 6 cups worth.
How to weave a lattice pie crust design
I promise this is not as tricky as it seems. Mine looked a little rustic pre-oven but once it baked, it was fine.
Because the dough recipe makes two pie crusts, you’ll use the second crust for the top.
Roll out the crust into about 12″ circle, or 12 x 15″ rectangle; use a pizza cutter to make about 1/2″ wide strips.
You lay about the pieces of strips down one way, then start in the middle going the other direction, and alternate every other strip between pulling back and overlapping them. Watch this video for help – it’s really way easier than you think!
For the BEST pie crust: don’t forget the egg wash! It helps get that golden, crunchy crust we all love.
The pie needs to bake for about 45 minutes total – I covered the top of my pie with foil around the 20 minute mark. You just want to make sure you cook the pie long enough to soften the apples, but not burn the crust. If you’re using a shallow pie dish (this one pictured is deep dish) you may want to consider a pie shield – you place it around/on top of the outer crust so it doesn’t burn.
It’s also best to let the pie completely cool at room temperature before slicing, so the juices in the middle set a little bit.
And then of course it’s time for apple pie a la mode…
It’s just necessary.
Let me know if you make this recipe! Leave a comment and review here on the blog, and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram so I can see your creations!
Whole Grain Pie Crust (makes 2 crusts)
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 12 TBSP very cold unsalted butter
- 8–10 tablespoons ice water
- 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
Apple Pie Filling
- 6–7 cups 1/4″ sliced apples (about 7 medium apples, mix of granny smith, jonagold and honeycrisp)
- 1/3 cup + 1 TBSP brown sugar or coconut sugar*
- 2 TBSP tapioca flour or cornstarch
- 1 TBSP ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 TBSP lemon juice
- 1 egg beaten with 1 TBSP milk of choice
Make sure to place butter and/or shortening in freezer for about 1 hour prior to cutting into cubes.
- Prepare the pie crust: Cut frozen butter or shortening into 1/2 ” cubes and set aside. In small bowl, add ice cubes to water; set aside. In large bowl or food processor combine flour and salt. Cut in the extra cold butter and shortening into flour mixture using S-blade of food processor, or dough blender if mixing by hand; combine until small pieces of butter remain. Slowly add about 5 tablespoons of ice water, using wooden spoon or processor to combine. Add apple cider vinegar and continue adding ice water until dough comes together. I used 12 tablespoons of water for the whole wheat pastry flour dough. Shape dough into round disc, then cut in half and reshape into disc; wrap the discs tightly in plastic wrap or parchment paper and place back in fridge for 2 hours before rolling out. You must chill the dough for 2 hours to prevent crust from falling.
- Prepare the apple pie filling: Peel and core apples, cut down half of apple then place flat side down and cut into 1/4″ slices. I stored my peeled apples in a bowl of lemon water, then continued with slicing. You will need about 6 cups of apples. Toss with brown sugar, tapioca flour or cornstarch, cinnamon, vanilla and lemon juice; set aside for 20-3o minutes. Preheat oven to 400ºF while the apples sit.
- Roll out the chilled dough: Sprinkle flour on flat surface and place one disc down and sprinkle top of disc as well. (Leave other disc in fridge for now.) Gently roll out pie dough, doing quarter turns after each roll (sprinkling more flour as necessary) until you have a 12″ circle. Fold the pie dough in half, then again creating a triangle to move the dough to the pie dish. Unfold the dough and press into pie plate and up sides. Crimp sides of dough with knuckle and pinch with forefinger and thumb.
- Add the filling: Take apple slices and start placing round side of apple against edge of pie plate, working your way in with one layer then adding the next layer. Spoon about 2 tablespoon of the leftover juices over filling.
- Make the lattice crust: Roll out second disc on floured surface, using quarter turn method until you get a 12″ circle. Using pizza cutter, slice dough into 1/2″ pieces and start placing on top of pie dish, creating lattice design; tuck or pinch dough together for crust edge. Alternatively you could place entire piece of dough over top of dish, trim edge and crimp together and cut 1″ slits in top (make sure you cut slits to release steam).
- Brush the top of the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired. Place pie dish on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes uncovered at 400ºF. Then cover pie with foil or edges with pie shield, drop oven temperature down to 375ºF and continue baking for 30-35 minutes – crust should be golden and apples look soft.
- Remove pie from oven and allow to cool completely – about 3-4 hours. Pie can be wrapped tightly and stored at room temperature 1 day ahead. Pie crust can be prepared and stored in fridge up to five days ahead. Leftovers are best kept in fridge.
*you can use whichever dry granulated sugar you prefer. See references in blog post for tips and tricks regarding pie crust recipe. You can use vegetable shortening in my pie crust recipe, but see this recipe for all coconut oil version. The crust can be made up to 5 days in advance. Store covered in fridge until filling is being prepared. Pie crust adapted from Bob’s Red Mill. Notes on baking crust from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
- Serving Size: 1/8th
- Calories: 351
- Sugar: 19
- Sodium: 164
- Fat: 18
- Saturated Fat: 11
- Unsaturated Fat: 0
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 47
- Fiber: 5
- Protein: 4
- Cholesterol: 45