Caramel Apple Hand Pies (refined sugar free)
These caramel apple hand pies are made with (mostly) wholesome ingredients, are refined sugar free, but just as decadent and flavorful as their sugary cousins.
Happy Pi(e) Day, friends! To celebrate, I’m showing you how to make these gorgeous refined sugar free caramel apple hand pies. They aren’t made with a true caramel, since the definition of caramel is burnt sugar. But the “caramel sauce” is amazingly lucious and caramel-ly, and made from dates.
And if you missed my last post, Let me recap by telling you that I have been afraid of pie crust my entire life until recently when I came up with the perfect pie crust. And today we’re going to be making a sweetened alteration of that. I use an all-butter version, but you can by all means sub out any or all of the butter for unrefined virgin coconut oil. Just make sure it’s scoopable texture, not too firm, and definitely not melted. It’s the only sub you need to make a decadent, vegan pie.
Let’s talk about apples really quick. You can really use any apples you like, but I like to use an apple with a nice balance of tart and sweet, with a crisp texture before baking so that they’ll hold up to being cooked without turning into mush. I like Gala apples for simplicity’s sake, but sometimes I’ll use a mix of Fuji and Granny Smith for variety in texture and flavor. I don’t bother peeling because I slice them so thin anyway, and the skins are so pretty! Whatever you choose, don’t skip the caramel sauce. And make extra so you can dip extra apples slices into it. Or just eat it with a spoon, it’s that good.
So if you need an excuse to make an easy and fool-proof treat for pi(e) day or any other day, gather these simple ingredients and have fun. It’ll be worth it to make from scratch, I promise you.
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup coconut pal sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 12 tablespoons coconut oil*, butter, or a combination of both, cut into small pieces and chilled
- 1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
- 6~8 tablespoons ice water
- 1 large egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water for egg wash, optional but recommended
- 1.5 cups medjool dates, pitted
- 1/4 cup nut or seed butter (such as almond, tahini, cashew, and pistachio), preferably sprouted or soaked*
- water for soaking dates
- 1 teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar, optional
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- large pinch fine sea salt
- 3~4 large apples, sliced very thin
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Cover the dates in warm water and soak for 4-6 hours. Drain the dates, reserving the soaking liquid.
- In the bowl of a food processor or in a high speed blender, add the soaked dates, nut butter, apple cider vinegar (if using), vanilla bean seeds or vanilla extract, and salt. Run the machine, scraping down sides as needed, until smooth. Add reserved soaking liquid as needed. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, and coconut palm sugar and whisk to combine. Add the oil and/or butter and cut the fat and flour together** until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, with some pea-sized pieces remaining.
- Sprinkle vinegar over the mixture, and add 4 tablespoons of the water. Gently mix together until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. It should hold together when pressed, but not wet. If it seems too dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Do not overmix.
- At this point, if the dough still feels cold, you can roll it out immediately on a floured surface. If it feels warm and too pliable, let it chill in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes. Cut the dough in half and roll out one half into roughly an 12 by 15 inch rectangle. Trim edges and cut into 6 equal rectangles. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
- In a small bowl, toss the apple slices together with the lemon juice.
- Place a rectangle of dough down on your work surface, and lay a few slices of apples on top, leaving about a 1/2 inch border. Dollop 1 heaping tablespoon on top of the apples. Place another rectangle of dough on top of the apples and caramel sauce, Stretching a little bit to fit over and taking care not to squeeze out the filling. Using a fork, press down on the edges to seal. Poke a few holes over the top to vent steam. Repeat with remaining 5 hand pies.
- Brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle with more coconut palm sugar, if desired.
- Bake at 375°F for 25~30 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and let cool to room temperature before serving.
- *to avoid phytic acid and other anti-nutrients, I recommend making your own soaked or sprouted nut or seed butter or buying brands that soak or sprout their nuts and seeds before making butter out of them.