Naked Apple-Vanilla Pie: Go crustless or go home

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Even those of us who like to make pie crusts don’t always want to make pie crust. Some days I just want to make a nice bowl of filling, cook that up and eat it with the ice cream topping it was born to uphold. After all, when I make a pie at home, I usually end up giving my outer rim of crust to my husband because he loves it so much more than I do. Yep, I can live without crust.

Several years ago, I came across a couple of references to naked pies. Essentially they are the best parts of the filling held together with a very loose cookie dough type batter. They are quite different from the “miracle” pies that Bisquick made so popular in that the fruit is the star. No heaviness or denseness here, just sweetness and a little crackle around the edges.

Clafouti is pretty close but has a much more eggy batter, like a popover. The concept is the same though. More fruit, less crust. Of course, if you are a crust fiend you don’t have to read any further, you can happily go back to cutting in your butter. We don’t judge. But if you want to try something a little different, let’s make a naked pie.

I’ve made both a naked apple pie and a naked cherry pie. The “batter” stays the same, only the fruit changes. Only use fresh apples or cherries, not canned or dried. That would really change the outcome of the pie. If the cherries have been frozen, be sure to drain them well and pat them dry before using.

Also, this apple pie differs from traditional apple pie in that there are no brown spices in it. No cinnamon, no allspice or clove. Just vanilla. The vanilla makes the pie just different enough so that it doesn’t feel like the same old thing, but is also familiar enough to be part of your comfort food line-up.

So, toss on your favorite baking clothes and let’s make Naked Apple-Vanilla Pie.

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Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9″ pie pan. In a large bowl combine:

2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, light or dark
1/8 teaspoon salt

Whisk until the mixture is well combined and smooth.

Add in 1/2 cup of King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder, whisking until lump-free.

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Use a spatula to fold in:

3 medium apples, peeled and sliced 1/8″ thick
3/4 cup chopped nuts, toasted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fold until all of the apple slices are coated. There will still be a little batter left in the bottom of the bowl, that’s okay.

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Scrape/pour the filling into the prepared pan and pour any leftover batter over the apples.

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Bake the pie for 30 to 35 minutes until a knife tip inserted into the center of the pie comes out clean. The toothpick test won’t work here, you really need something a bit thicker.

As you can see, this pie still needs a little more baking time.   DSCN1221

When the pie is done, the edges will be deep brown, the apple tips will be well browned and the center will be well browned, not pale. Think giant chocolate chip cookie, darker at the edges, but browned all over.

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Serve large, warm slices of pie drizzled with heavy cream or topped with ice cream. The apple and vanilla pair to make a sweet, but not too sweet filling while the nuts bring a little crunch to the party. You still get a bit of brown sugar cookie type crust around the edges, but this pie is truly heaven for those who love filling more than crust.

I didn’t have time to test this recipe out as gluten free, but I think it could work quite easily. The apples provide most of the structure, so swapping out our Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour and perhaps 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum should work out just fine. If you do give it a try, please let us know how it goes.

So, go forth my fellow crust-less bakers and fill up on fruit filling. Dare to eat bare!

Please bake, rate and review our recipe for Naked Apple-Vanilla Pie

Print just the recipe

 

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. Quinn

    I’ll try this before the weekend is out – apple season is in full swing in my kitchen! I never cared for that Bisquik recipe, but this sounds different and delicious – thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We have not done a whole lot of experimenting with sugar substitutes, Ellen. Try substituting half of the sugar with Splenda. Elisabeth

  2. Nancy

    How would this work without the nuts? Or is there something I could use as a replacement? My daughter is allergic to all tree nuts, but I’d love to try this recipe.

    Reply
    1. BWrites

      What about something like pumpkin seeds? They still have a crunch and are nicely fall-y. But I’ve never tried them in baked goods, I’m not sure if they hold up as well.

    2. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      I think those would be excellent sprinkled over the surface of the pie before serving, to keep their crunch. Cinnamon flavored ones would be delish. ~ MJ

    3. Nancy

      Thank you for the tips! It’s in the oven right now. I didn’t use anything to replace the nuts. But I’ll toss on some pumpkin seeds afterwards if it seems to need the crunch.

    4. Danielle D.

      I bet some toasted sunflower seeds, crumbled gingersnaps, or nut-free granola sprinkled over the top before serving would be nice as well. :) Good luck! – Danielle D.

    5. PLynne

      Good question. I am expecting a gaur pest that I was warned prior is terrible allergic to nuts. I read oats as a suggestion and that sounds good but oats might soak up a goodly amount of this ‘custard’ sounding filling. I may put a full 4 cups of sliced apples instead.

  3. Debbie Gates

    I have an abundance of pears, so I’m going to try this using pears instead of apples. It’ sounds wonderful, thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      How about some almond oil or extract added to those pears? My favorite combination. Elisabeth

  4. Bill

    This recipe is almost exactly what my grandmother used to make; she called it Norwegian Apple Pie,
    I was just thinking I need to pull out that recipe this weekend, guess I will save some time and try this one. I am thinking Marcona Almonds would be great in this

    Reply
  5. Judy

    I love seeing all the KA recipes and I use their flour in all my baking. I would LOVE to see the nutritional values posted with each recipe. As people become more aware of what they eat, the values would be a very helpful thing in choosing what to make or pass on. I normally pass on recipes that do not include the nutritional values.

    Reply
  6. Elaine

    This is nearly the same as a recipe I have made since childhood called “Apple Torte”. Ours only uses 1 egg and 3/4 cup of sugar, but then 2 tsps. of baking powder rather than the one tsp. in yours. It is a great recipe for the whole family; the only time it ever failed was when my daughter mis-read the recipe and put in 3 cups of sugar instead of 3/4!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You are asking a nut lover so it is difficult to not be biased in my response, but I will try! Yes, you may omit the nuts with little consequence. How about using some other dried fruit like cranberries, raisin or currents its place? Elisabeth

  7. Sara Schoenwetter

    Could the KAF Gluten-free Baking Mix be substituted for the flour and baking powder? I may want to try this for a holiday dessert for a friend who follows a gluten-free diet but would rather not buy an ingredient (xanthan gum) that I might never use again.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Now that sounds like a really good use for the GF All Purpose Baking Mix. I do not think PJ or anyone else has tried doing this so you may be the first! Also, remember that mix includes salt so leave the salt out. Let us know who it goes! Elisabeth

  8. Bev

    Love this! I usually don’t eat the crust because of the calories (yeah, yeah, I know) so this would be perfect! Thank you King Arthur! I’m doing this tonight!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hmmmm, it may be a challenge to achieve similar results whereby you can slice it like a pie. You may have to use a different thickener such as cornstarch or clear jel in place of the flour for those juicy berries or peaches. Elisabeth

  9. Debbie

    This is very similar to one I used to make years ago call “Norwegian Apple Pie.” I’d completely forgotten about it until you posted this recipe. I’m excited about trying this one!

    Reply
    1. waikikire

      My first generation Norwegian grandmother made an apple cake in a half sheet pan. This recipe reminds me of it. Would you share your recipe??? It may not be the same, but could be a jumping off point. Thanks!

  10. Nancy B

    Just put the “pie” in the oven…it is our dessert for dinner tonight. Well check in later to give our results!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Please sign in with your password as you would normally. Be sure to click on the Recipe page found at the top of the page. Then you should see a little picture of a manilla folder underneath the King Arthur Flour logo in the upper left hand corner. It says, my recipes. Click there and it should bring you to your saved recipes. If you continue to have difficulty, please contact our Customer Service Specialists by calling 1-800-827-6836. Elisabeth

  11. Erika

    What a lovely idea! I don’t care for pie crust — I usually leave it, or force it down if I must to be polite — but I love pie filling. A full cup of sugar for just three cups of apples, though, seems mega-overkill (I probably usually use about 1/4-1/3 cup to 5-6 cups apples in a large pie, depending on the apples). Will the texture of the batter — like a cookie — suffer if I dramatically cut back the sugar? Thanks!

    Reply
  12. plvannest

    Would this work using the traditional cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. spices? Just can’t seem to get my mind around apple and vanilla.

    Reply
  13. Margaret

    Gf version in oven. I was planning on a crisp. This looked like a nice alternative and just as easy. Smelling great in here!

    Reply
  14. Erin R.

    Ooh, very nice! Would you say this pie is suitable for brunch? I have a little Christmas party coming up in a few weeks and need something fruity. Might this be a good candidate or is it more of a straight dessert? Also, due to a nut allergy I would have to skip the chopped nuts. Do you think it would be okay to use oatmeal instead or just leave that part out altogether? Oh, dang, this looks wonderful! I can’t wait to try it out. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I think this would make a wonderful brunch item. You could even make it in individual ramekins which would be kind of fun. Serve some warmed maple syrup with it or a dot of fresh whipped cream. How about using some dried cranberries in place of the nuts? Elisabeth

  15. cindy leigh

    it looks delicious, but it’s too much sugar for me. How much do you think I can reduce it before the structure is affected? (I don’t bake with the artificial stuff so I wouldn’t be swapping for any of that)
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I love to use a variety during apple season when there are plenty available. Grannies, macoun, macs, cortlands, honey crisp are just a few of my favorites! Different textures and flavors are nice to bit into. Get creative! Elisabeth

    2. Danielle D.

      I love to mix Macintosh with Granny Smith. You get the in your face apple flavor from the Macintosh, and the great texture and tartness from the Granny Smith – the best of both worlds! Experiment and try different combo’s to fit your tastes as well – there are so many different varieties that would be wonderful to use! Happy Baking! -Danielle D

  16. Cynthia

    This is still in the oven, but just needed a few more minutes. It looks lovely and smells wonderful. I took the bakers tip and grated a bit of fresh nutmeg over the walnuts once they were toasted.

    Reply
  17. Nancy B

    Well we just finished dinner and had the Naked Apple-Vanilla Pie. My husband and I agree that it was a nice change from the regular apple pie, and we topped it off with a dollop of whipped cream. I used walnuts and would increase the vanilla to two tsps. I will definately try it with pears and a different kind of nut.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      I think you could use Ener-G or other commercial egg replacer. It’s basically like making a cookie dough, so whatever you use there should work well for this pie. ~ MJ

  18. waikikirie

    Hey MJ….I am thinking we are “sisters from a different mister”. I was grocery shopping yesterday and thinking about apple pie but without the crust. Not that I don’t like crust…I LOVE a good pie crust,…..but don’t always feel up to making one. I don’t do it often…So I “struggle’ with it. Then I came home and read the post. Logged on again today and saw 2 people mention “Norwegian Apple Pie”….My grandmother, who was first generation Norwegian, would make an “apple cake”. She made in in a half sheet pan. Had a batter spread and then would insert slices of apple. When she passed, my Mom and I looked for the recipe. I don’t believe we found it…. As a kid, I much preferred her chocolate pie (I think she used instead pudding in a store bought graham cracker pie shell….who could blame her. After making everything else from scratch) As an adult, I long for the apple. Will post later on the baker’s circle and will response to the posters, but if anyone can shed light on this I would SSSSSSSSSSSOOOOOOOOO much appreciate it. My Grandma, (long gone)and Dad is gone but his little brother (my beloved Uncle) is still with us. I would love to be able recreate the recipe………

    Reply
    1. cindy leigh

      my German grandmother used to make something similar to what you describe. I’ll post it on the BC next week, I’m away this weekend.
      It is sort of a stiff, not too sweet cake batter that you spread in a pan and push slices of apples, spaced closely, on top. It comes out thin like a brownie height. Dusted with sugar and powdered sugar. One of my favorite things!

  19. Jo Booth

    Hi this looks so fabulous, but……Do you think this would work with some juicy dried apricots? They aren’t all dried out…but plump and tender?

    Reply
  20. Maryann

    I made a similar recipe with twice the apples, twice the flour, and three eggs in a spring form pan. However it had no baking powder or soda. What do you think the baking powder does for this version, over the one I used?

    Reply
  21. Marcia Gauthier

    I made this recipe using the King Arthur Gluten Free Baking Mix. I just used 1/2 cup of mix and eliminated the baking powder and salt in the recipe. I also added cinnamon and nutmeg just because we like it. It did take a little longer to bake,but it was delicious. We are going to the apple orchard today to pick up more apples, as I can’t wait to make it again.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Great to hear that it worked with the baking mix! We will have to give it a try sometime. Jon@KAF

  22. Alicia

    I also made this using the gluten free baking mix, and we all loved it, even all those who hate the idea of the gluten free. I skipped the baking powder and salt and followed the recipe exactly otherwise, and the result was fantastic. It was such an easy and satisfying dessert for my entire family. I read the blog since the recipe looked fantastic, thinking I would just have to fantasize about eating the pie since gluten is not allowed for me anymore, but when I read the comments about using the gf mix, I practically jumped for joy! I will be making this often, and it will also be my Thanksgiving dessert option. Thanks as always King Arthur Flour!

    Reply
  23. cwcdesign

    I made this the other night for my son who loves apples but doesn’t like fruit pies or cobblers. I didn’t have any nuts and used vanilla bean paste. He loved it! But we both agree there is too much sugar and based on the comments I had already backed off 3/4 oz of brown sugar and a wee bit of white. Will definitely use even less WHEN I make it again. Nice to have a dessert ready in about 10 minutes without having to mess up the mixer!

    Reply
  24. Mary Ellen Riley

    I don’t care for crust either! We make the smooth and spicy KAF pumpkin pie ALL the time with 0% evaporated milk and no crust. Just shorten the baking time and you have a lower calorie, but very tasty, pumpkin pie dessert.

    Reply
  25. Mary Ellen

    Just read some of the comments on the recipe page. Apparently, the definition of “dairy” still alludes some people… ;-)

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We are happy to clear up any confusion! I think the older nutritional pyramids confused a lot of people. The eggs were with the dairy, so odd! Jon@KAF

  26. Sue

    I made this today and it was very good. It did not look anything like the picture(which looks like it has a crust). There was no form to it and we basically scooped it out of the pan with a spoon. But at least it tasted good.=!

    Reply
    1. Amy Trage

      I’m sorry this didn’t work out for you. Did you make any ingredient substitutions or changes to the recipe? ~Amy

  27. Shirley

    I tried this and I loved it.
    I’m thinking of cutting back on the sugar it was a tad bit to sweet. I’m going to cut the sugar in half and see how it taste. Wish me luck

    Reply
  28. Rene

    Tried this last night. Followed the recipe, added about 1/4 t of maple extract. Came out of the oven well browned all over, slightly crisp at the edges. Within half an hour it was soggy all through except the nuts. Thought it was supposed to have a crumbly, baked cookie type texture surrounding the apples, help….? Oven is calibrated, ingredients were weighed and at room temperature.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      This pie really will not retain a crisp texture very long due to the moisture in the apples. It will be crisp if eaten when it is taken out of the oven, but it will have more of a chewy, cake like texture once it cools. Jon@KAF

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