Gluten-Free Pie Crust and Apple-Of-My-Eye Pie (from Let Them Eat Vegan)

Today I am delighted to share my GLUTEN-FREE APPLE PIE  via a guest post from Livvy Zimmerman.  I first ‘met’ Livvy after she posted about one of my recipes.  Her photos were gorgeous, and she was a sweetheart to connect with. Later, she posted more Recipes from Let Them Eat Vegan – so beautifully and with such high praise.
Before LTEV was even published I have been eager to share the recipe for my Gluten-Free Pie Crust.  I worked through many (many) trials to finally strike gold with this gluten-free pie crust.  Like some of my best and favorite recipes, the testing took a while – but in the end was worth it.  This pie crust was a big hit with my testers, and many people have reported back to me that this crust is now their “go-to” pie crust, vegan or not.  It has a beautiful nutty taste, and is more forgiving than traditional pie pastry dough (surprisingly, as it is gluten-free).  As much as I have wanted to share this recipe, I knew I wouldn’t get the proper space or time to map out a set of step-by-step photos for you to do this recipe justice.  When I approached Livvy about doing a guest post to share a photo tutorial, she enthusiastically accepted.  (And I was ever so appreciative.)

Before launching into the post, here is a little more about this talented, generous, and dynamic woman, Livvy Zimmerman:

I am so excited to be guest-posting on Plant Powered Kitchen today! Beyond excited, actually. You see, Dreena Burton is my Vegan Super Hero. When I decided to go vegan in February of this year, her newest cookbook, Let Them Eat Vegan!, quickly became my go-to resource for a few reasons. For one, her recipes always taste great – they never fail me. Secondly, Dreena focusses on whole foods rather than processed foods. I found that many vegan cookbooks often use processed meat substitutes in the recipes. To me, that defeats the purpose of a plant-powered diet. And lastly, this cookbook contains far more than recipes. From suggested kitchen ware to vegan pantry definitions to Dreena’s helpful side notes, she’s got you covered.

Some of my favorite recipes from Let Them Eat Vegan! are Black Bean, Quinoa, and Sweet Potato Spicy Croquettes with Pumpkin Seed Chipotle Cream (preparation is far less complex than the title), Raisinet” Cookies and Juicy Grilled Portobellos. Most recently, her Apple-of-My-Eye Pie with Gluten-Free Piecrust has joined the ranks.

Gluten-Free Apple Pie! #vegan #glutenfree #dairyfree #soyfree #plantbased #pie #applepie
The rich, nutty flavor and hearty texture of this piecrust will make you forget it’s gluten-free. And the sweet, buttery apple filling is so simple, so pure. I don’t know how or why it has a buttery taste, but I don’t care. I just love it. Even if you don’t require gluten-free, this might just become your new go-to pie crust recipe. It’s that good.
GLUTEN-FREE PIECRUST RECIPE Link for RECIpage to print/share
The cookbook includes ingredient measurements for both a single crust and a double crust. For this pie, you’ll need a double crust.
Note: Ingredients pictured here are measured out for a single piecrust.
1 1/2 cups almond meal
3/4 cup rice flour or sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch flour
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1/4 cup unrefined sugar
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. xanthum gum
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. organic extra-virgin coconut oil, at room temperature
7 1/2 to 8 Tbsp. ice-cold plain nondairy milk
In a food processor, combine everything EXCEPT the coconut oil and milk. Process for a few seconds to mix the ingredients. (Depending on the capacity of your food processor, you may need to do this in a couple of batches.)
Add the coconut oil, and pulse briefly to begin to break up and incorporate.
Add a few tablespoons of the milk, pulsing, and continue to add 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough has just come together and has started to form a ball. (As you can see above, it doesn’t have to be one unified ball – just enough so that it comes together.)
I just noticed that these two balls of dough resemble a pair of knockers 😉  It IS Breast Cancer Awareness Month, after all. Have you done your self-exam?!
Remove the dough from the processor, divide in half and shape into two balls. If the dough has become warm, shape into a flattened disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes.
(You can also refrigerate this dough for a few days before using, and remove from fridge for an hour or two before rolling, long enough for the coconut oil to soften again in the dough.)

When ready to use, you can try rolling/pressing out one ball of dough between a layer of parchment paper and plastic wrap, then transferring the dough to the greased pie plate. However, I found it MUCH EASIER to put the ball directly into the pie plate, and press it all around the bottom and sides of the plate with my hands. Do what works best for you.
Place this bottom crust (in the pie plate) into the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes. No need to pre-bake the crust.
Meanwhile, prepare your top crust by placing the second ball of dough (slightly flattened) on a large piece of parchment paper. Cover with a large sheet of plastic wrap and press dough into a large circle (a little larger than your pie plate) using your hands. You can try using a rolling pin, but I found using my hands was much easier. Set aside.

APPLE-OF-MY-EYE PIE RECIPE Link for RECIpage to print/share

2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
3 Tbsp. tapioca starch flour
1/4 cup unrefined sugar (I like coconut sugar)
1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. sea salt
6 cups peeled, cored, and thinly sliced apples*
1 double piecrust (recipe above)
Splash of nondairy milk, to brush pastry
1 to 2 tsp. unrefined sugar, for sprinkling
Dreena suggests a combination of Fuji and Spartan, or a tart apple combined with a sweeter, crunchier variety such as Gala. I used Fuji and Golden Delicious. My apples were quite large, so I only needed 3 of each. I purchased an apple peeler/slicer/corer gadget for this recipe because the thought of doing this by hand seemed daunting (in reality, it’s probably not that bad). For less than $20, I’d say it’s worth the time you’ll save. Plus it’s kind of fun to use. The only thing is, mine didn’t have the capability to adjust the slicing thickness. I would have preferred the slices to be a little thinner.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a bowl large enough to hold all the apples, combine the lemon juice with the maple syrup and tapioca starch flour, stirring or whisking well to incorporate fully. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt.
Add the apple slices to the mixture and toss to coat.
Transfer the filling to the bottom piecrust.
It can be challenging to transfer the top crust to the pie, so I opted for a faux-lattice top crust design by cutting the crust into about 1″ strips and spacing them out somewhat evenly over the pie filling in one direction, then the opposite direction, and pinching the edges together. (I used a metal ruler to move the strips from the parchment paper to the pie.) If you choose a traditional full top crust, be sure to cut a few slits to allow the steam to exit while baking. Brush top crust with the milk and sprinkle a teaspoon or two of sugar over the top.

Place the pie in the oven (with a baking sheet on the rack underneath to catch any drippings) and bake for 20 minutes. Then lower heat to 350°F and bake for another 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and the juices are thickened and bubbling. Watch that the outer edges don’t brown too fast. To check for doneness, pierce through the pie (where open or vented) with a skewer or sharp knife. If the apples are not tender when pierced, allow to cook for another 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven, transfer to a cooling rack, and allow to cool for an hour or more before serving. This pie is delicious served with vanilla nondairy ice cream!
Makes you want to go apple picking, doesn’t it? Dreena might be Canadian, but she nailed this American tradition, all while keeping it vegan AND gluten-free. Girl’s got skills 😉

If you’re looking for more home runs, be sure to check out my blog, 86 Lemons, where I test all kinds of vegan and sometimes gluten-free recipes, craft/DIY projects and various products – then report back to you on which ones are worth your time. There are just too many ‘lemons’ out there and I’m determined to ’86’ them. If you’re confused by that last sentence, it’s decoded here.  Happy Fall to you!

My sincere thanks to Livvy for that exceptional post.  You are welcome in my plant-powered kitchen anytime Livvy.

You can follow Livvy on twitterfacebook, and Pinterest.  Why not show this savvy lady – and my gluten-free apple pie – some pinterest love?  😀

Thanks to Ricki Heller for including this recipe in her Wellness Weekend – check out the entire line up of healthy vegan recipes!

Have you ever made a gluten-free pie crust?  Perhaps bookmark this one for your upcoming US Thanksgiving!


  1. janyce says

    Hello ~ this recipe looks so good. We are grain-free as I have extensive autoimmune issues. What could we substitute for the rice flour or sorghum flour?

    • Dreena says

      I haven’t tested it grain-free. My inclination would be to use coconut flour, however it is a “thirstier” flour and would likely need some liquid measure adjusting. Not sure if that helps any!

  2. Caitlyn says

    Did you say if there was another nut substitute that could be used besides almond meal? I’m allergic to almonds and dairy so this recipe looked good until I read the almond part.

    • Dreena says

      There might be an option for you – if you grind cashews to a meal like almond meal (I’ve never seen it in stores but have ground it at home in food processor)- this might sub fine. I haven’t tested it so can’t say for sure, but I expect it would work.

  3. Andrea says

    I made this recipe twice last week, the dough is just so so delicious !!! The second time I used gum guar and actually it was better for the texture.
    Thanks for the recipe !!

  4. Rachel Taylor says

    My sister is vegan gluten free and it is really challenging for me to find nice yummy recipes where she doesnt feel left out or eating the same thing every time. Do you have more recoipes or a book please help !

    • Dreena says

      Hi Rachel, so glad to hear that! There are so many more options now for vegans that are also gluten-free. I do have books, you can visit my books info page here: My most recent book, “Let Them Eat Vegan” has many gluten-free recipes (over half), and my Plant-Powered 15 ebook is entirely gluten-free. Enjoy, and thank you. :)

    • Dreena says

      Whoops, sorry Christine, I thought you were asking about a different crust recipe. You could do this one by hand, cutting in the coconut oil, just will take a bit of time.

  5. says

    Do you think this would work for a pecan pie too? Or do you have another crust you like to use for other pies? And, I have sweet rice flour, will that work, or is one specific kind?

    • Dreena says

      Hi Laura, yes, I think using the single crust it would be fine for a pecan pie. I also have another crust, it’s an oat/spelt base, and that one is also in LTEV if you want to check it out. As for the sweet rice flour – think that would work too.

  6. says

    Hi! This is an amazing crust recipe. I did sub a few things because of what I had on hand, but I am anxious to try it straight up!

    I have a question about the oven temperature: Why is it important to bake in a 400F preheated oven and then lower the heat to 350F? Does it depend on the type of pie you are making, and if it has a top crust? If I wanted to make pumpkin pie and the recipe says 325F for 50-60 mins, but I use your crust which temperature should I use?

    Katrina recently posted..Gluten Free Apple CrispMy Profile

    • Dreena says

      Hi Katrina, thanks so much – glad you loved the recipe! For many pies, it helps to set the temp high at first to get the filling ‘going’, ie any thickening needing to take place, it helps to generate enough heat to facilitate those thickeners like arrowroot, cornstarch, etc. If you are using another pie recipe, for the filling, I’d follow the baking instructions for that filling. Hope that helps. :)

  7. Allison says

    I was just wondering if I could freeze this pie and if so do I bake it first and then freeze it? I got carried away at the apple orchard and have lots of apples to use up!

    • Dreena says

      Hi Tracy, I think you asked this on my FB page. I answered there, but will copy here too… ometimes applesauce is a good sub, other times it isn’t. This is one of the “isn’t” times, unfortunately. If you were to sub applesauce, the pie crust would lose it’s texture completely, becoming more of a quick bread/muffin texture. I wouldn’t recommend it, instead I’d opt for an apple crisp or other recipe that isn’t naturally oil-free. If you want to search my blog for oil-free recipes, just hop on to the recipes page – then select “dietary” and you can click oil-free to retrieve a search of all the options… hope that helps!

      • Tracy says

        Thank you Dreena, I’m sorry I missed the FB reply (I’m not the most savvy FB user ;-))
        Thanks for the advice, we’ll try an apple crisp and I love your blog and today will be purchasing ‘Let Them Eat Vegan’ on Amazon, really looking forward to receiving it :-)
        Thanks again!

    • Dreena says

      Hi Kaimia, no in this recipe I wouldn’t substitute coconut flour. I did many tests of this crust with other gf flours, and the only successful run was with the inclusion with almond meal. Coconut flour is a very ‘thirsty’ flour, so it doesn’t always substitute easily. Do you have a nut allergy?

  8. Leah Sadler says

    Looks wonderful but I follow a plant-strong diet and don’t use any processed oils – none. Is there anything I could substitute for the coconut oil in the pie crust that would be non-dairy, non-oil?
    Thank you

    • Dreena says

      Hi Leah, I totally understand. In this case, substituting something like applesauce for oil in this recipe would just not be worth it. Will really alter the recipe too greatly. Many times I can offer subs, but for this one I’d say best to find a different dessert – OR, make the filling and serve it with a banana ice cream – that would be delicious! Also, here are the recipes classified as oil-free on my blog. I *think* I have most of them tagged, may have missed a couple! Here goes: There are quite a few desserts in there, hopefully you will find some others to enjoy. 😀

  9. says

    Hello! I’d like to use this crust recipe for a savory tart, and I think it will work if I leave out the sugar. What do you think?

    What’s the purpose of putting the crust in the freezer after smooshing it into the pie pan? Will all hell break loose if I move it directly from the freezer into a preheated oven? Do I need to bring it back to room temperature after freezing it?

    Thank you for sharing your recipes and wisdom!
    Allison Wunderland recently posted..Inspiration and transformation at Burning Man 2012My Profile

    • Dreena says

      Hi Allison! It should work just fine, you can still add a tiny amount of sugar, about 1 teaspoon, just for some balance – but you can also omit it altogether. I would add another 1-2 tbsp of almond meal to replace the volume of the sugar. The reason you put it in the freezer is to chill the fat in the crust, it is a technique used to make crusts flakier (and also settle the gluten in crusts – but this one has none). So, it is fine if you chill it just 1/2 hr or so, or you can chill overnight… and best not to let it get too warm again before baking. If it’s been in the freezer overnight, you can let it thaw about 10 mins, if it’s only been in about 1/2 hr, go ahead and fill and pop in the oven – that make sense? The dough is more forgiving than gluten-based ones, so just go for it! 😀

      • says

        Thanks for your quick reply as I was gearing up for Thanksgiving cooking. This crust was easy and delicious. It was so tasty that I kept nibbling at the dough while I was working with it. Coconut oil- yum! I left out the sugar, doubled the salt, and added an extra tablespoon of almond meal. I used Livvy’s technique of pressing the dough right into the pan instead of rolling/pressing it between parchment paper and plastic wrap, and it was simple and quick. My glass pie pan went from 30 minutes in the freezer to a preheated oven with no drama.

        This is my go-to pie crust now. I liked it so much that I blogged about it.
        Allison Wunderland recently posted..What do vegans eat? Thanksgiving editionMy Profile

  10. Michelle says

    What might be a substitute for the tapicoa starch (I’m not a big fan of it? More arrowroot? And could I use quinoa or amaranth for the sorghum?


    • Dreena says

      Yes, Michelle, you can use arrowroot for the tapioca if you prefer. I wouldn’t sub quinoa flour as I find the taste is too distinctive and not always pleasant in baked goods. Amaranth has a better flavor I think – I haven’t tested it in the pie, but think it should be a-ok. :)

  11. Susan says

    Can you make this ahead of time : cook, freeze and then defrost & serve?
    Thinking ahead for Thanksgiving.

    • Dreena says

      Hi Susan, sorry, I only just saw your comment – not sure why. It’s a bit late to answer you now! I haven’t frozen it, but you could certainly freeze the crusts ahead of time and then prep the filling and bake. Sorry again…

  12. says

    Just finished making this and all I can say is … WHAT a superb recipe!! I made the dough for one crust, and used it to make a free form apple pie (roll the dough out, pile the apple filling in the middle, and pull the sides up and over the top, leaving an opening at the top that is uncovered from dough).

    The crust took all that handling perfectly, with no tears or pulling apart. Browned beautifully.

    And the taste!! SO very good — the nuttiness of the almonds is just divine!!

    I made a “regular” pie crust for me (hubby is GF, but not me), and quite frankly, this GF crust is WAAAAAY tastier. Similar to what some of your testers have told you, this is going to be my go-to pie crust now!!

    Thank you Dreena, for sharing such a GREAT recipe, and Livvy … the photographs were a huge help, especially the steps involving the food processor, and what the dough should look like at various stages.

    • Dreena says

      Woo-hoo! Thank you Brenda! Yes, I think seeing “gluten-free” and “vegan” in the same pie crust recipe makes one think the dough must be tricky to work with – but it’s just the opposite. Really appreciate you enthusiastic feedback – thank you. :)

    • Dreena says

      Not a fan of apple pie, or pastry pies in general Ricki??? I must admit, they aren’t my favorite thing to make, I enjoy quicker prep desserts – but so nice for a special occasion. Thanks for the note, dear! :)

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