happy pi day!
so it was two years ago today. i volunteered to help with my son’s “pi day” at school.
i stood in the tiny library with a 7-month old strapped to my chest, bouncing back and forth and sweating as only moms do best. hoping beyond hope that my 3-year old would stay entertained for the duration. and here, i listened to almost 100 kids recite pi to various digits in length. and for each digit of pi each kid knew, they received that many skittles.
i counted out a crap-ton of skittles. one kid knew 124 digits of pi. no kidding. 124 digits!! he got an entire box of fruit by the foot. otherwise he would have cleared out half a classroom worth of the skittles. (and fun fact: a guy in china named lu chao recited 67,890 digits of pi in 2005. i mean…)
my son’s 2nd grade class had to memorize 26 digits. and they learned them to the ten little indians song. see, try…
this year, the only pi we are properly celebrating at my house is this pretty one i’m sharing with you today. this grain-free cinnamon roll caramel apple pie.
i first spotted this gorgeous and brilliant idea on adventure’s in cooking instagram account. i was completely unsurprised to see that it was a pie created by linda lomelino and shared in her masterpiece of a cookbook. both of these bloggers are equally talented and ones i admire.
so like i do, i couldn’t stop dreaming of this pie, knew my head wouldn’t rest until i made a grain-free version, and so i did.
i’m a little bit consumed with the concept of also reducing the sugar load while keeping sweetness, so i decided to use swerve in this recipe. i used it in last week’s blood orange poptarts too, with great success! if using this sub makes you ooky, then feel free to use sugar. if you’re on the fence, rest assured that swerve is a natural, non-gmo, gluten-free, non-caloric sweetener that i give a thumbs up to for flavor and function. (click on that poptart link for more info!)
while this pie is little bit of a labor of love, it is nowhere as hard as memorizing 67, 890 digits of pi. or even 100 digits. i promise.
i also promise it will leave your guests, family, and friends SUPER impressed. i promise it is UNBELIEVABLY delicious. (yes. it deserves the caps.) …. and just in time for easter!
Grain-Free Cinnamon Roll Caramel Apple Pie
For 1/2 of Crust:
2 cups almond flour
1 1/4 cups arrowroot starch
1/3 cup Swerve or sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup nonhydrogenated shortening (such as Spectrum)
1/3 cold water
For 1/2 Crust Filling:
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 tablespoons very soft butter
For Pie Filling:
8 apples, peeled, cored, and very thinly sliced (i used Gala, Honeycrisp, & Pink Lady)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons arrowroot starch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Swerve or sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter, cut into smaller pieces
1 teaspoon salt
Egg for egg wash
To make Crust:
Combine almond flour, arrowroot starch, Swerve (or sugar), salt, xanthan gum, and baking soda in a large bowl. Cut in shortening with a spatula or pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse meal or is pea-size. Add cold water and stir together to form a dough.
Place dough between two large pieces of parchment and roll to about a 17- x 10-inch rectangle. Remove top sheet of parchment.
Combine 2 tablespoons cinnamon and 4 tablespoons butter for filling. Spread mixture evenly over all of rectangle. Carefully roll up long side of crust jelly-roll style to yield a 17-inch log of rolled dough. Place in fridge for 4-5 hours or until very cold.
Repeat procedure again to make another log of rolled crust dough. Chill both rolls until very cold (crust may be made the day before).
After dough is chilled, cut one log into 1/8-inch thick slices. Form dough, barely overlapping slices, into a circle a few inches wider than your pie plate on a piece of parchment. (reference image above!) Top with another large piece of parchment and gently roll slices to for a single crust dough. Chill until ready to use.
Repeat procedure with additional roll. Chill both until ready to use.
To make Pie:
Preheat oven to 375°.
Combine Pie Filling ingredients: Combine apples, lemon juice, butter, 3 tablespoons arrowroot starch, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, salt, and vanilla paste. Set aside.
Make Caramel: Combine brown sugar and Swerve (or sugar) in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until sugar melts. (Brush mixture off of sides of pan with a wet pastry brush, if needed.) Cook sugar until fragrant and caramel colored, being careful not to burn it. Remove from heat; add cream carefully and stir (if may pop a bit). Melt in butter and salt.
Remove parchment off the top of one of the pie crust doughs. Flip pie dough carefully into pie plate, removing other parchment, and press against sides of pie plate to fit, leaving a bit of an overhang of crust to ultimately meet with top crust. Add apples on top of pie dough in pan. Press apple gently to pack a little bit. Carefully pour caramel over apples.
Remove parchment off the top of the other pie crust dough. Flip pie dough carefully on top of apples, removing other parchment. Pinch bottom crust overhang with top crust to seal edges of pie. Pierce pie with a skewer to create a few holes to vent. Brush top of pie crust with lightly beaten egg.
Place pie on a jellyroll pan with short sides. Pull out a large enough piece of aluminum foil to reach all of the way around the pie. Fold foil in third lengthwise. Wrap long piece of foil all of the way around the pie to support the crust a bit.
Bake pie at 375° for 60-70 minutes, or until pie is cooked and bottom is lightly browned (if you're using a clear pie crust! :)).
Allow pie to cool. Dig in.