Apples, cinnamon and sultanas encased in crisp and 'buttery' shortcrust pastry - this traditional vegan apple pie is a crowd pleasing dessert served with vegan ice cream or custard.
Apple pie is such a treat, and all the more so with crisp and sweet homemade shortcrust pastry. This vegan version is every bit as good as an all-butter pie. The pastry is rich, and the apple filling is extra-special, with both cooking and eating apples, sultanas and cinnamon.
If you're a pastry novice, don't panic - shortcrust pastry is a great place to start, and I've included step-by-step photos and some top tips below to help you out.
I love to serve warm apple pie with a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream, or in winter perhaps a good dollop of homemade vegan custard. How will you serve yours?
📝 What you need
- Cooking apples (eg Bramleys)
- Eating apples (eg Braeburns or Granny Smiths)
- Dairy-free block margarine (eg Flora Plant Block or Naturli Block)
- Dairy-free yoghurt
- Dairy-free milk
- Icing sugar
- Soft light brown sugar
- Caster sugar
- Ground cinnamon
- Plain flour
A loose-bottomed or springform tin makes this apple pie really easy to remove from the tin to serve. Mine is this lovely holey one from MasterClass which helps to get the pastry really crispy with no soggy bottoms, but anything similar will do.
🍏 What varieties of apple to use
A great apple pie is all about the apples, and this pie filling is particularly good because it mixes two varieties of apple.
- The cooking apples break down when cooked into a mushy apple sauce
- The eating apples keep their shape and texture to give a delicious crunch
For the cooking apples, my no. 1 recommendation would be Bramleys. They are fairly tart (hence pairing them with sweeter eating apples) with a white, juicy flesh.
For the eating apples, I like to use Braeburn - very crisp and hold their shape when cooked, or Granny Smiths - a lovely, crunchy all-rounder.
The combination of eating and cooking apples was such a winner in my Vegan Apple Crumble recipe that I've used exactly the same filling ratio here, just leaving out the liquid to avoid soggy pastry.
Homemade apple pie is absolutely fine to freeze, either before or after baking, but I would really recommend freezing un-baked for best results.
Make sure you make it in a foil or metal pie dish, (not glass). Then just follow the recipe (even adding the plant milk glaze and sprinkling with caster sugar), then wrap tightly and freeze.
Bake from frozen, but be aware that it will take longer to cook than the recipe states, and therefore you might well have to cover it with foil if the pastry starts to turn golden brown too soon.
🔪 Top Tips: Shortcrust Pastry
The ratio of fat to flour in pastry is what makes a shortcrust pastry 'short' - that is, crumbly. The more fat you add the more deliciously crumbly it becomes, however that also makes it harder to roll out with a less firm structure as it cooks.
So, this pastry is perhaps a little less 'short' than I would prefer, but that means it is easier to roll out much more thinly. And crisp, thin pastry is such a joy with this sweet apple filling, far more so than a thick and claggy crust.
My top tips for making knockout shortcrust pastry are:
- Hands off! Try to touch the ingredients and dough as little as possible. Rub in the 'butter' as little as possible - stop as soon as the last lumps disappear. Work quickly and lightly. You hear a lot of advice about keeping everything very cold - chilling your butter, flour, even chilling your mixing bowl! But actually if you just try to handle everything as little as possible then the temperature doesn't matter so much.
- 'Butter' temperature Your block margarine should be cool but still pliable. Not oily and spreadable, but also not rock hard from the freezer.
- Chill the dough Resting the pastry in the fridge makes it easier to handle.
- Don't panic if your pastry tears You can press it back together in the tin. It is much better to roll it just once and patch it up in the tin than it is to keep re-rolling until it is in one perfect sheet.
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Vegan Apple Pie
For the shortcrust pastry:
- 350 g plain flour
- 210 g dairy-free block margarine (eg Flora Plant Block or Naturli Block)
- 70 g icing sugar
- 3 tablespoon dairy-free yoghurt
- 1-2 teaspoon cold water
For the filling:
- ½ lemon
- 2 cooking apples eg Bramleys
- 2 eating apples
- 40 g soft light brown sugar
- pinch ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- 60 g sultanas
- dairy-free milk to glaze
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar for sprinkling
For the pastry:
- Tip the flour and block margarine into a large bowl and rub together with fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Stir through the icing sugar then vegan yoghurt and bring together into a soft dough. If the dough is a little dry or crumbly, add a little cold water at a time.
- Chill the dough for 30 minutes whilst you make the filling.
For the filling:
- Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a large bowl. Peel and core the apples. Cut the eating apples into thick slices, and the cooking apples into smaller chunks. Put them into the bowl and toss through the lemon juice as you go, to stop them turning brown.
- Stir through the light brown sugar, cinnamon, cornflour and sultanas.
To assemble the pie:
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan) / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
- Tip the chilled pastry dough onto a floured surface and separate about a third of it to set aside for the lid. Roll the remaining two thirds with a rolling pin to roughly the thickness of a £1 coin.
- Grease a loose-bottomed baking tin and line it with the pastry. Leave the edges overhanging for now.
- Tip the apple filling into the pastry case.
- Roll out the remaining pastry to make the lid. Wet the edges of the lid then place it on the top of the pie. Press the edges down firmly to create a seal, and cut a small hole in the top to allow steam to escape.
- Use any leftover pastry to make decorations for the top of the pie - roll these as thinly as you can.
- Brush the pie lid all over with dairy-free milk to glaze.
- Sprinkle with a little caster sugar then bake for 35-45 minutes until golden. Serve warm with vegan ice cream or custard.