I was supposed to get this post up before Thanksgiving. But...sometimes I have to remind myself that my deadlines, although I'd prefer to meet them, are self-imposed. The house is on the market. My husband is currently living in another state for work. Three kids and all that comes with them. Something had to give. This Apple Date Pie is good anytime, right? 😀
While everyone (including myself) is already in full Christmas mode, there's really no bad time for pie. This Apple Date Pie is a twist on tradition...and you know how much I love to do that. 🙂 Inside the classic, flaky pastry crust are spiced apples paired with the caramel flavors of dates and brown sugar. It's the perfect fall & winter pie.
There's another interesting thing about this pie, aside from the (fabulous) flavors. Apples and dates are both naturally sweet. I couldn't resist adding a touch of sweetness and a little caramel/molasses flavor with some brown sugar. That said, if you're trying to avoid processed sugars, leave it out! While it won't be super sweet, as most pies tend to be, you'll have a natural sweetness with no added sugar.
Aaaaas always, I added a little vanilla bean paste. I love vanilla bean paste! It's soooo tasty without the vanilla bean price tag (and it pretty much stays good forever). If you prefer to substitute, you could use 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. If you'd like to get some vanilla bean paste and you can't find it in your local grocery store (I never can), you can find some here.
I used medjool dates, which are usually available at my local grocery store, especially around the holidays. You can use whatever type of date you prefer. I use as many organic ingredients that I can, so I purchased my dates online here.
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So, while this post is late, I think it was worth the wait. Yes? And while I promise to bring you all the wonderful Christmasy things that I can this December, that doesn't mean that this pie isn't amazing. Anytime!
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Apple Date Pie
- 3 cups flour
- 1¼ cups vegetable shortening, cold and diced
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 7 tablespoon water, cold
- In a large bowl, combine flour and cold, diced vegetable shortening. Using a pastry blender (see note) or fork, cut shortening in until no large pieces remain.
- In a small bowl, combine egg, vinegar, and cold water. Whisk to combine.
- Make wells in the flour mixture, and pour the egg mixture into the wells. Stir until a soft dough is formed. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly into a ball. Cut the ball in half to create two discs.
- Wrap one dough disc and place in the refrigerator. Roll the second disc out on a lightly floured surface large enough to fit the bottom of your pie place. Ensure that you don't stretch the dough (as this will cause it to shrink when baked). Set lined pie plate aside.
- Combine apples, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon in a sauté pan. Over low heat, cook the apples until softened and their juice has been released. (If you prefer a softer apple filling, nearly cook the apples through at this stage. If you prefer more texture/bite to your apple pie, you need only cook them until juices are released.)
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apples to a large bowl, leaving as much juice as possible in the sauté pan.
- Cook juices over medium-low heat until reduced to a syrup.
- Combine dates, water, and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens (10-15 minutes).
- Scrape the date mixture into the bowl with the cooked apples. Toss gently to distribute the dates throughout without breaking the apples apart.
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Transfer the apple/date mixture to the prepared crust. Pour the syrup (from the cooked apples) over the top.
- Roll the second disc of dough out on a lightly floured surface and top the pie as desired, ensuring that if you cover the entire pie that you cut holes for steam to escape while baking.
- Place the pie on a baking sheet (to save your oven in the event any juices bubble over), and bake 45-55 minutes, or until top of the pie is golden. Enjoy!