There are still a few days *officially left in summer, but I'm crushing on fall super hard already. The leaves are turning gorgeous yellows and oranges, and on my morning walk today I even kicked up a few just because I can. I love the smell of fall: earthy and melancholic. Summer had its time to shine, and now it's all about getting ready for the stillness of the colder months. And with the colder months, it means my oven is on all the time, full of roast chickens and vegetables, stews and braises, and pies, oh the pies! First one out of the gate is a special pie, made with Splenda® Stevia No Calorie Sweetener.
Someone close to me is majorly cutting back their sugar intake and has requested that I bake them something that they can indulge in at all the fall festivities, like Thanksgiving. Perhaps you're in the same boat too, where someone special who'll be sitting at your dining table this fall can't eat as much sugar as the rest of us, but doesn't want to feel left out or excluded by a sugary sweet dessert. As a host, and a professional baker, I feel it's important to meet people where they're at on the sugar scale, and if this means I forgo sugar and bake with Splenda Stevia once in awhile, I'm totally okay with that.
Splenda Stevia gets its sweetness from the stevia leaf and is sourced from the sweeter, cleaner-tasting part of the stevia leaf so there is no bitter aftertaste. Combined with apples freshly picked from my friend Kim's tree, and loads of warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom, the pie tasted super good, like all of my other pies. Seeing the smile on my loved one's face as they savoured a slice meant the world to me. Splenda Stevia really is a sweet way to reduce sugar in your favourite foods without sacrificing taste.
For the apple pie filling, instead of sugar I used Splenda Stevia Sweetener, Granulated, a new product recently released. It's cool in that you can use it cup-for-cup with sugar. So, I usually add about 1/2 cup sugar into my apple pie filling, and for this recipe I used 1/2 cup Splenda Stevia Sweetener, Granulated instead. Kim's apples were on the tart side, and overall I was really happy with the sweetness here. If you like a sweeter pie, you could add up to 2/3 cup of Splenda Stevia.
Baking a pie doesn’t have to be perfect. Once you take the pressure off yourself, it’s amazing what can happen. Also, don’t be intimidated by the lattice crust. It’s just pieces of pastry woven together, like a basket. If you go under instead of over, don’t fret. You’ve made a pie! I love how the bottom crust is folded over the lattice edges to give a rustic look. It also traps the juices, keeping all that loveliness inside the pie instead of on the bottom of your oven, which we don't want.
As the apple pie baked away in the afternoon, my house smelled amazing. As I pulled the apple pie from my oven I breathed in the scent, and was so happy to see the juices bubbling and the lattice crust golden brown and glorious. The hardest part was waiting for the pie to cool so we could taste a slice, but the wait was worth it. Full of spiced apple flavour, with a hint of vanilla and lemon, the pie pleasantly tasted of fall, with no bitter aftertaste usually associated with stevia. As the days get cooler and cozier, I know there'll be more pies and other baked goods coming out of my oven. It's good to know that if I have to bake for someone who doesn't eat that much sugar, I have an excellent ingredient such as Splenda Stevia to rely on. Happy fall baking, all!
Spiced Apple Pie with Lattice Crust
3 pounds baking apples, peeled and cored
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup - 2/3 cup Splenda Stevia Sweetener, Granulated
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp each ground cloves, nutmeg and cardamom
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 discs of pastry, enough for a deep-dish pie
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. water
1. Toss together the sliced apples, lemon juice, Splenda Stevia, flour, spices and vanilla in a large bowl.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disc of pastry into a 13-inch circle, or thereabouts. Place it in the bottom of a deep-dish 9-inch pie plate, with the pastry overhanging the edges of the pie plate. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry in another 14-inch circle for the top crust. Use a ruler to guide you when cutting the pastry into 8-9 long strips to keep the edges straight. Save the 2 end pieces in case you need to do any patching. I like wide strips, but if you like a thinner look, feel free to cut thin strips of pastry. Weave the pastry strips, going over and under, making sure they connect with the edges of the pie crust, which I've moistened with egg wash. Fold over the edges of the bottom crust, tucking in the lattice ends. This will help to trap the juices and give a rustic look.
3. Preheat the oven to 350F. Brush the top of the pie with the egg wash. Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake it for about 90 minutes, until it’s golden brown and bubbling. Remove the pie from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool.