With the holidays approaching, are you looking for a super easy gluten-free apple pie that is extremely delicious and can be prepared well in advance? I just developed this gluten-free upside down apple pie (or tarte tatin), which is a huge success with my family. Everyone just loves it. And for me, it is perfect if I have guests, because it is so easy to make and the dough can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
So in the morning of the day my guests arrive, I quickly prepare the filling (which usually takes me no longer than 15 minutes) and place the rolled out dough circle on top. And that’s basically it. Then, when needed, up in the oven for about 50 minutes, plus 10 minutes cooling out time. I serve it still warm with whipped cream, creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream. It is incredibly delicious! Enjoy!
For the filling, I am always looking for really tart green apples and I generally find this quality in Granny Smith apples. The tartness of the apples, combined with a little bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice, gives a very nice contrast to the sweetness of the caramel, which is made of sugar and butter.
So far, I find the best flours for a sweet gluten-free pie crust to be a combination of teff flour, whole grain brown rice flour and tapioca starch. Teff flour has a slightly nutty taste and its jelly-like consistency when combined in a dough makes it a very good ingredient for pie crusts in my opinion. Also, it has a less strong distinctive flavor like for example buckwheat flour.
Brown rice flour helps for a more sticky consistency of the dough which helps better process the dough when rolling it out. I could, of course, also use white rice flour, but I like to use a more healthy flour which I find in whole grain brown rice flour.
Tapioca starch is one of my favorite starches as it has a very neutral taste and is a very good binding agent which helps making the dough smoother and therefore better to work with. Also, it helps baked goods become light and fluffy.
As substitutes for the lack of gluten in gluten-free flours I used one tablespoon of psyllium seed husk powder and one teaspoon of locust bean gum powder. Instead of locust bean gum powder you can, of course, also use xanthan powder as binding agent. Also, sugar and a pinch of salt are needed.
Psyllium seed husk powder can bind a lot of water. Because of the moisture kept in the dough it develops a smooth consistency and therefore the dough is much easier to form and roll out. The use of locust bean gum powder adds to this effect as it too has strong swelling and water absorption capacities.
Finally, water, egg and a little bit of apple vinegar as “wet ingredients” are required. The egg is a natural binding agent. And apple cider vinegar as acidic liquid is said to make the dough easier to roll out – and you can not taste it in the end product, which I think is important.
First, I always mix all “dry ingredients”, i.e. teff flour, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, psylliums seed husk powder, locust bean gum powder (optionally xanthan powder), sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Then, I grate the cold butter with a large enough grater directly into the bowl with the mixed dry ingredients.
Now I use my finger tips to quickly work the small butter pieces into the flour-mix to get coarse flour-butter crumbs. Optionally, I could use a pastry blender or a food processor.
Then I quickly whisk the wet dough ingredients and pour them into the bowl with the flour-butter crumbs.
I use a big wooden spoon to quickly combine all ingredients and form a smooth, sticky dough. The psyllium seed husk powder in the dough helps over time to get the excess stickiness out of the dough.
Then I take the dough out of its bowl and put it on a surface dusted with gluten-free flour. I knead the dough a little bit with my hands and add a little bit of flour, if necessary, to bring it into a nice, square shape.
Finally, I wrap the dough in plastic and put it in the refrigerator for at least one hour so that it can rest and harden.
In the meanwhile, I turn on the oven (210 °Celsius/ 410 ° Fahrenheit) and start to prepare the filling. I beginn with the caramel, which I prepare directly in the enameled cast-iron pie dish. Caramel is suprisingly easy to make. You just need to let the butter melt, add sugar and heat it over medium heat. In only a couple of minutes the butter-sugar-mix starts to turn golden-brownish. The only thing that is important to remember is that you need to stir consistently. Otherwise, it can happen that the mixture still looks whitish-yellow on top but is already dark brown at the bottom.
Now it is time to prepare the apples. You just need to peel and quarter them and remove the core. Then place them in the round pie dish (on top of the caramel) and sprinkle them with freshly squeezed lemon juice.
When the dough is ready, I take it out of the refrigerator, remove the plastic wrap and place it on a dusted surface. I put some more flour on top of the dough, take my rolling pin and roll it out in a circle of about 5 mm (≈ 1/4-inch) thickness. Then I cut out a circle which equals the dimension of the pie dish.
I carefully take the dough circle and place it on top of the apples, pressing the edges carefully down so that some kind of plate emerges when you turn the apple pie upside down at the very end.
Now, I put the apple pie in the oven (top rack) and let it bake. After about 50 minutes, I take the apple pie out of the oven. I gently loosen the edge of the pie, put a big plate on top of the pie dish and quickly turn it upside down. Now, the delicious caramelized apples should be on top and the crunchy pie crust at the bottom of the apple pie.
I serve this wonderful, super easy dish still warm with either whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Enjoy your very delicious gluten-free upside down apple pie!
g = gram
ml = milliliter
TBS = tablespoon = 15 ml
tsp. = teaspoon = 5 ml
1 cup = 1 cup [US] = 235 ml = 16 tablespoons (TBS)
1 stick of butter = 1/2 cup = 113 g (= 4 oz. = 8 TBS. = 24 tsp.)
1 inch (in or “) = 2.54 centimeters (cm) = 25.4 millimeters (mm)
1 liter = 1,000 ml = 1.0567 US quarts (liquid)