Are you still scheming how to use traditional Thanksgiving flavors with a twist? Enter the Apple Sweet Potato Pie with a flaky, whole-grain crust.
Are You Here For the Food?
Apple Sweet Potato Pie (Whole-Grain & Gluten-Free)
This Apple Sweet Potato Pie is the answer to your holiday baking boredom. It uses the traditional flavors and the warming spices associated with this time of year. Yet, underneath the flaky, whole-grain, gluten-free crust, there’s a mound of apples and sweet potatoes – a surprising plot twist!
The crust for this Apple Sweet Potato Pie is a combination of whole-grain oat and buckwheat flours with white rice flour as a light balance. Don’t let “whole-grain” and “gluten-free” turn you off. This crust is still buttery and flaky and worth the labor of love that is homemade pie crust.
Are You Here For Connection?
Stepping Back With Gratitude
For close to a week, we hosted my boyfriend’s father in our home. He generously agreed to lend his engineering brain and handiness to our camper project (more on that, eventually). Their father-son relationship, like many, has its rough histories, rose-colored memories, and the whole gamut in between.
As I cooked dinner for us one night, I found myself wondering what our life looked like to his dad. Was he happy for his son? Did he see contentment in him? What did he think of our relationship? Our home? Our rhythms and routines?
Thinking about my life through his lens provided an earnest, out-of-body perspective. I wasn’t considering his viewpoint for the sake of his approval. Nor was this a social-media-like scenario in which I was showing a shinier version of my reality for likes. I felt at home that week. His hypothetical viewpoint was more symbolic. He served as a reminder for me to step back, to pause, and to appreciate, and I did.
When I stepped back, I saw two people who treat each other with love and respect. I saw two dogs who add loyalty and silliness to the picture. I saw the fruits of our kitchen labors – the reconfigured layout, the new shelves, and the metallic workbenches that enable us to cook side by side and move around the kitchen like dancers following choreography.
I saw the care and quality we put into our meals, and how rich and nourishing those meals are. I saw the dining room come alive with fall foliage, flickering candles, and the vulnerability that only deep, trusting friendship can bring.
I saw a snapshot of my life, and I felt truly content. I felt my shoulders relax, felt my breath become light, felt time stand still for a moment. I didn’t see perfection, but I could see something real and more meaningful than perfection. I saw that I had everything I needed: safety, love, warmth, nourishment, laughter, and honesty. This unexpected moment filled me with gratitude.
For so long, I have pushed myself toward perfection, toward being and doing better, to more, to achievement. This gift of a moment reminded me of simplicity, of what really matters, and I want to carry that with me as the holidays unfurl before us. I want to pause, freeze time, and choose gratitude, and I wish the same for you.
Serve warm slices of Apple Sweet Potato Pie with homemade pumpkin ice cream (recipe coming soon) or a pint from your favorite local ice cream shop.
Are You Here for the Dogs? (aren’t we all?)
Do you spy Little Maple Le on a hike in West Virginia? She blends like a little deer. We hiked about five miles, but I am fairly convinced she hiked a full marathon. This will be Maple’s first Thanksgiving, so hopefully, she gets some good turkey bites.
Apple Sweet Potato Pie with a Whole-Grain Crust
For the Crust
- 1 cup (160 g) white rice flour
- 1/2 cup (50 g) GF oat flour
- ¾ cup (90 g) buckwheat flour
- 1/2 cup (60 g) cornstarch
- ¼ cup (26 g) tapioca starch/flour
- ¼ cup + 1 Tbsp (30 g) finely ground chia seeds (I grind mine in a Magic Bullet)
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 16 Tbsp (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, chilled
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup ice water
For the Filling:
- 3/4 cup (170g) light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon (4 g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground Chinese five-spice powder
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 medium tart apples (about 2 pounds; 900 g), such as Granny Smith
- 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds; 680 g)
- 1/4 cup (25 g) tapioca starch, such as Bob's Red Mill
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 egg mixed with 2 teaspoons cold water for wash
Make the Dough:
- In a large bowl, combine the rice, oat, buckwheat flour, cornstarch, tapioca flour, ground chia seed, and salt.
- Scatter the butter pieces over the top. Use a pastry blender or your fingers to incorporate the butter until the mixture resembles gravel, with lots of butter chunks the size of large peas.
- Drizzle the apple cider vinegar over the flour mixture, then drizzle the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing the dough with a rubber spatula to moisten evenly. Add just enough water for the dough to hold together when you give it a squeeze, and add it directly to the dry floury bits that like to hang out on the bottom of the bowl; you may need up to 8 tablespoons of water, total.
Use the “fraisage method” to form the dough:
- Dump the dough onto the counter. Grab a handful of dough, place it on the counter, put the heel of your hand on the dough, and push it away from you, scraping it across the surface several inches. Use a bench scraper to scrape the dough off the counter and place it back in the bowl. Repeat with the remaining dough. It should only take a minute or two to complete this process.
- Gather all of the dough, then divide it into two equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball. Wrap each loosely in plastic wrap or a beeswax wrap, and flatten it into a disc shape. Chill the dough until firm, 30-60 minutes.
- Note: If your dough has chilled for a while and cracks when you go to roll it, let it warm up a bit; this will make it easier to work with.
Roll The Dough:
- On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball of chilled dough into a rough square that is about 1/4" thick. Fold it in thirds like you're folding a letter, then in thirds again, so the dough is a small, layered rectangle. Gently press to flatten it slightly, and chill for another 30 minutes.
Shape the Dough:
- Remove one dough ball from the fridge, unwrap, and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a circle. You want the diameter of the circle to be about 2 inches bigger than the diameter of your pie plate. Dust the dough lightly with oat flour as needed, rotating and flipping it to prevent it from sticking.
- Ease the dough into a glass pie plate, fit it into the corners, and trim the overhang. Prick the bottom of the crust all over with the tines of a fork. Chill the crust for 20 minutes, then freeze it for at least 20 minutes, until solid.
For the Filling:
- In a large bowl with a lid (or a plastic container), combine the brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon five-spice powder, ½ teaspoon cardamom, and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.
- Peel, quarter, and core apples. Slice each quarter lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick wedges (you should have about 20 ounces/565g of sliced apples, measuring about 5 rounded cups).
- Add the sliced apples to the glass bowl, seal with the lid, and shake until the apples are evenly coated.
- Macerate at room temperature, shaking the bowl occasionally to distribute the syrup, until apples have lost a third of their volume, at least 3 hours. The apples can macerate for up to 8 hours in the refrigerator.
- Meanwhile, peel then quarter the sweet potatoes lengthwise. Slice each quarter crosswise into 1/2-inch thick wedges (you should have about 20 ounces/565g of sliced sweet potatoes, measuring about 4 rounded cups).
- Place sweet potatoes in a 3-quart saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low to maintain a simmer. Cook until the sweet potatoes are tender enough to be pierced with a knife, but not completely cooked through, about 5 minutes.
- Drain the sweet potatoes and run them under cold water to stop cooking. Set aside to let cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.
- When apples are ready, add sweet potatoes and tapioca starch to the bowl, reseal, and toss to combine.
- Pour the sweet potato and apples, along with the accumulated syrup, into the prepared pie shell, gently pressing the slices into a flattish mound.
- Sprinkle fresh thyme leaves over the mixture, to your desired taste.
- Remove the second dough ball from the fridge, unwrap it, and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough, dusting it lightly with oat flour as needed, rotating and flipping it to prevent it from sticking, until you have a circle big enough to top the pie.
- Carefully transfer the crust to the top of the pie. Press down the edges, then trim any excess dough. Use a fork to further press and crimp the edges.
- Gather and roll any remaining pie dough to use for decorating your crust, then brush the crust generously with the egg wash. Chill the pie until the oven is ready.
- Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 400°F (204°C). Place the pie on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Bake to an internal temperature of around 195°F (91°C) in the very center, about 1 hour 15 minutes. If the crust starts to brown too much, loosely cover the pie with aluminum foil for the remainder of baking time.
- Transfer pie to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Slice and serve.