Vegan Apple Pie is the quintessential all American comfort food. It’s hard to beat a buttery, flakey crust, soft cinnamon flavored apples, and a big scoop of vanilla ice cream! (PIN it now!)
Fall brings an abundance of apples…which in turn has me cooking up all kinds of delicious apple treats! In the past month I’ve made Applesauce, Hard Apple Cider Bread, Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding with Apples, and Apple Streusel Muffins! But my very favorite thing to make is my Aunt Betty’s Vegan Apple Pie. It has a perfect buttery, flakey crust, warm apples swimming in cinnamon, and an amazing sugary crumb topping. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and I’m pretty sure that this is what Heaven will be like.
My Aunt Betty was actually not a true blood relative, but she was, for all intents and purposes, a surrogate Grandma to me. She and my Uncle George took my newlywed parents under their wings when they first moved to Boston. They hosted big dinners each week for all of the young 20 somethings from their church, my parents included. I’d like to think that my Aunt Betty might be partly responsible for my mom’s gift of hospitality—my mom can throw quite a party! My Aunt Betty and Uncle George were the very first people to meet me when I was born—they actually drove my mom to the hospital! Each year we would go to their house in Boston for holidays—I have such good memories of driving through the snow at Christmas, seeing the lights of oncoming traffic as my Dad drove through dark back roads in the Boston suburbs, overhearing NPR on the radio, and singing in my head “over the river and through the woods….to Aunt Betty’s house we go!”
My Aunt Betty was an incredible cook. She was Greek, loved garlic, and didn’t believe in “light” anything. Everything she made was the real deal. Including this pie. She first taught me to make this pie one summer when I was maybe 11 or 12? My sister Hannah and I (at the time our family was living in Philadelphia) had flown up to visit Aunt Betty for the week. I still have the recipe card, transcribed in my scribbly junior high writing, more than 25 years later!
^^^ My original copy of her recipe, complete with notes from my mom, who still uses this recipe herself!
It’s true that her original recipe called for lard rather than shortening, but really, who wants lard in a pie? Vegan shortening stands in perfectly well. This pie bakes up in just under an hour, with pretty minimal hands on time. This is a French style apple pie, which I happen to think is a whole lot easier to make. Because the crumb topping is loose, rather than structured like a traditional lattice top, it sits right on top of the apples. As they cook down and shrink, the crumb top goes right down with them, so there’s no ugly gap when you cut into it. However, if you are like Irving, and really prefer a crust on top as well, feel free to double up the crust recipe.
My Aunt Betty passed away nearly 6 years ago now. I think of her often, especially when I’m cooking. I’d like to think that she would be so proud of me and the hobby chef that I’ve become. And I think she’d be really happy that I’m still making her pie all these years later.
Will you join me in making Aunt Betty’s Vegan Apple Pie? While there’s no need for a special occasion to make a pie, this is my go-to for Thanksgiving each year. A little bit less traditional than a pumpkin pie, but even more delicious. Be sure to post a picture to social media so that I can see your gorgeous version of Aunt Betty’s pie! #frieddandelions // @frieddandelions
Aunt Betty’s Vegan Apple Pie
- 2 1/4 cups flour I use all purpose
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons shortening I use Earth Balance, cut into small cubes
- 1/3 cup cold water
- 6 cups peeled and diced cooking apples I like Fuji or Gala
- 1/4 cup flour I use all purpose
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice apple cider vinegar works too
French Crumb Topping
- 1 cup flour I use all purpose
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup vegan butter cubed (I use Earth Balance)
For the crust:
- In the food processor, fitted with the pastry blade, mix flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl (alternately, this can be done by hand).
- Add the shortening. Pulse until in becomes crumbly.
- Add the water and pulse until it becomes a cohesive dough (you want to do this as quickly as you can, with minimal processing).
- Cover with plastic and put in the fridge while you work on the filling.
For the filling:
- Preheat oven to 450°.
- Combine the apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice.
- Roll out the now chilled dough. I use a baking mat with flour to prevent it from sticking. Roll out the dough to be about the size of your pie plate, with about 1" overlap.
- Carefully lift the rolled out crust into the pie plate.
- Fold over the excess dough and pinch around the outside of the dough to make a crimped decorative crust.
- Fill the crust with the apple filling
For the crumb topping:
- Combine flour, sugars, and salt into a bowl.
- Add the cubed butter and mix with your fingers until it resembles coarse crumbs.
- Sprinkle over the apples. There will be plenty of crumb topping—use your hands to lightly pack it down.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes
- Reduce the temperature to 400°.
- Bake for 40 minutes more.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool and let the juices from the apples set before cutting.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream!
^^^ I love my notes at the end of the recipe, complete with smiley face exclamation marks. Desserts have always been very important to me!
icecream on top of apple pie.. just a lovely combination
It’s the best, isn’t it!!!
Do you know about how many apples you needed for this?
I’m sorry, just seeing this message now. I use about 6-7. It depends on the size of the apples!
Mel | avirtualvegan.com says
What a lovely tribute to your Aunt Betty! Fab recipe :O)
Thank you! I miss her, but I’m still glad that we can remember her with fabulous dishes like her famous pie!
Your notes at the bottom of the recipe card are so cute! You REALLY don’t want to forget to serve the apple pie with ice cream or whipped cream. 🙂 I didn’t realize that Earth Balance made shortening. I will have to remember that the next time I’m making a pie!
Ha, yes, I have always taken dessert very seriously! The Earth Balance shortening is in a green box. I think Spectrum also makes a good one?
Becky Striepe says
This pie looks amazing, and I am in awe of your Aunt Betty!
Aw, thank you! She was the best! I miss cooking with her—I feel like I would appreciate it so much more now than I did when I was a kid! And yes, the pie is amazing!!! I wish I could send you one!
What sweet memories! Food always tastes best when it’s accompanied by love and family traditions. And I LOVE that crumbly topping – my favorite way to top a pie.
Yes! I love it too, and it’s so much easier than a lattice top! And I agree, family memories make food taste so much better!
Mary Ellen @ VNutrition says
That is such a nice story! I love hearing how recipes come about especially if they’re passed down. This pie looks so good! Perfect for fall!
Thank you! It is delicious—you’re right—perfect for this time of year!!!
Amy Katz from Veggies Save The Day says
I love this story! Aunt Betty would be so proud of you.
Thank you! That makes me teary eyed just reading that!
Love your vintage photos and I am diving into this pie!
Thank you! It was so much fun to go through all of my old family photos to dig these out!
I love that you still have your aunt’s hand-written recipe card, and I love that you were able to veganize her pie recipe!
It’s actually my hand written card! I copied it from her when I was in middle school! My mom has hung on to it in her recipe binder for years—like at least 25!
Thank you for the recipe, and thank you for correctly writing “for all intents and purposes” instead of for all intensive purposes! I cannot believe how often I see that!
Ha, yes, it doesn’t make any sense the other way! Those things drive me nuts!