Wednesday, November 5, 2008

(Re) Capturing Tradition

Every fall when I was growing up my mom and I would go to our local orchard (Nature's Bounty) to spend an afternoon picking Northern Spy apples. We'd finish off our adventure with a steaming cup of fresh cider (blissfully hot after being blasted by late October and sometimes November chills!) before coming home to warm up in front of a good TV movie. The next day (or weekend), we would wake up early and get into the kitchen to spend the day making apple everything... pie, crisp, squares and sauce. One year after a particularly generous harvest, we made twelve huge apple pies and froze them, defrosting one each month for the next year! It was a major part of what Fall meant to me, and until last year it was a "mom and me" tradition.

When my mom re-married last year, it was my bad luck that her honeymoon took her out of Canada for most of out apple season. This meant no "mom" pies, though I still made plenty of apple goodies (if you recall, I'm an apple freak!). I figured that this year I would continue our tradition on my own (we missed the Spies again - this time because of my schoolwork overload and messed up foot) when it came for me to make stuff for the fundraiser.

This year, instead of one big pie (like this one), I made tartlets in a muffin tin. I also started to play around with my mom's recipe for both crust and filling (cue the anguish gasps from the peanut gallery) to bump up the nutrition and flavour while making it a bit sweeter for the tastebuds of the masses. I don't know why some people prefer their apple pies swimming in sugar (I've seen recipes with up to a cup and a half in the filling alone!) - unsweetened is the only way to go in my opinion, but I grew up that way! My recipe also plays homage to my days out in the orchard with the addition of local apple cider in the filling too... why not double (triple, actually, if you count the AC vinegar!) the apple goodness?

I'm not claiming this as a health food - it's still got sugar and shortening in it (though you could use butter / Earth Balance if you can afford it and stand to work with it - I hate making butter-based pastry!)... however, it's got good stuff in it too! Flaxseed and spelt flour add a delicate nuttiness and all that fibrey goodness to the crust, and I opted to leave the peel on one of the apples too for texture, extra fibre and the extra thickening boost from the natural pectin. I will spread the love though, and send this vegan recipe off to two events: the Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipe Carnival at Fun & Food Cafe, and Egg Replacement Event (Flax Seed Meal) at Eggless Cooking.

Apple Tartlets
Makes 8
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/4 cup boiling water
1 cup spelt flour
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
5 tbsp shortening
3 tablespoons ice water
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 large tart apples, peeled and diced
1 large sweet apple, unpeeled and diced
1 tbsp tapioca starch
1/2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp apple cider
  1. Combine flaxseed and boiling water in a small dish, stirring to combine. Set aside 15 minutes to cool and thicken.
  2. Whisk together flours and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Gently stir in flaxseed mixture.
  5. Combine ice water and vinegar. Stir into the flour mixture until just blended.
  6. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead slightly just to have dough come together.
  7. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate 8-12 hours.
  8. Preheat oven to 345F.
  9. Combine apples, tapioca, spice and apple juice in a bowl, tossing well. Set aside 10 minutes.
  10. Roll out pie dough thinly and cut out 8 rounds large enough to fit into 8 muffin cups.
  11. Place into cups, leaving overhang untrimmed.
  12. Fill each cup with heaping amounts of the apple mixture.
  13. Using the remaining dough, make "lids" for the mini-pies and place over filling, cutting slits into the tops for ventilation.
  14. Bake 35 minutes in the hot oven, rotating pans halfway through baking.
  15. Allow to cool thoroughly before serving.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 227.5
Total Fat: 8.5 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 1.1 mg
Total Carbs: 35.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.6 g
Protein: 3.9 g


  1. wow, that does look really flavorful Sarah! I love apple tartelettes too!! thanks so much for sending them to my Thanksgiving Caarnival:)

  2. Hi Sarah, that's a neat idea of preparing tartelettes in a muffin pan. I also like the fact that you have given the nutritional information. Thanks for sending it to the event.


Thanks for the feedback!