Friday, January 24, 2014

31 Days of Green: Day 24 Green Apple

Apples are a little gift from nature. They are sweet, nutritious, satisfying, and portable. The history of apples is pretty interesting; they aren’t just a gift from nature, but a plant that we’ve had a long history of breeding to perfection. There are lots of varieties of apples and not all of them are sweet. That’s okay though because one of my favorite treats, hard cider, is made from bitter apples. One in between apple is the green apple or sometimes called “granny smith” apple. It is sweet but has a nice tart bite to it, which makes it perfect for desserts. I love pairing the tartness of this apple with sweeter adornments; most apple pies will call for green apples because of this tartness and they also have a firmer texture that bakes well. We love apple pie, my grandmother made the best apple pie, I bet yours does too : )
Unfortunately I only take on the task of making a full apple pie around the holidays, not because its hard, its actually one of the easier desserts to make, but because it’s just the 2 and ¼ of us and we have would eat a whole pie if I cooked it. That doesn’t mean we don’t get our apple pie though; instead I make these mini ‘pies’. This recipe is so quick, delicious, and satisfying. Don’t let the word dessert fool you either; this is great breakfast food too!

Almond Apple Pie

Gluten Free, Vegan*
Serves 2

1 green apple
4 medjool dates, pitted and soaked
2 tablespoons almond butter
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract
coconut oil for the pan
chopped walnuts (optional)
thin slice of cheese (optional)*

Pit the dates and soak in about ½ cup of water until they are soft. At least 30 minutes should do it, but I left mine for several hours. In a small food processor or blender, blend dates, the water they were soaking in, almond butter, cinnamon, and vanilla until it is smooth (or as smooth as you can get it, don’t worry if there is some small chunks of dates). Core and thinly slice the apple. Rub a little coconut oil on the inside of 2 ramekins or cupcake pans. Place a few slices of apple into the bottom of the pans, then do a layer of the almond sauce. Continue doing layers until you reach the top, finishing with an almond sauce layer. Top with chopped walnuts or, if your from the south, a thin slice of cheese. Bake on 350oF for 15 minutes until the top begins to look a little dry. Let it cool for a few minutes and serve warm.

Notes and Substitutions

  • Though I haven’t tried it, you could use other nut/seed butters. I bet cashew butter would taste great.
  • I used a very thin slice of raw local grass-fed cheddar for the cheese. My husband really liked it, and though he’s from the south, he had never heard of apple pie with cheese.
  • You may have a few slices of apple or dip leftover, you can go ahead and eat those while you wait for these to finish baking : )
Make sauce
Make a layer of apple slices

Add a layer of sauce
Continue layering until you reach the top, finishing with the almond sauce

Add any toppings
Bake of 350oF for 15 minutes

What is your favorite way to eat apples?

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