A classic, winter spiced pie with festive stars

The apples are simply fried in a touch of butter or coconut oil to soften them slightly then sandwiched between a layer of date paste to add some  sweetness.  Don’t be frighted off by the thought of working with pastry, this one can be rolled and placed in a pie dish with smaller pieces used to patch up holes, trust me, mine was a real patchwork of pieces and it still worked out well.  Just call it rustic and anything goes….If ginger is not your thing, then sub with cinnamon!


2 cups cassava flour plus extra for rolling
4 Tbsp coconut sugar
2 Tbsp tapioca flour or arrowroot powder
2 Tbsp coconut flour
2 tsp organic vanilla powder
500g cold butter chopped into squares
2 tsp ground ginger (add more if desired)
2 eggs (plus 1 for brushing the pastry)
650g or roughly there about Bramley or Granny Smith apples – peeled (look for the biggest apples possible)
2 Tbsp butter or coconut oil
6-8 medjool dates
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup warm water


Start by making the pastry.
In a food processor using the S blade, whizz together the dry dough ingredients until mixed.
Add the cold chopped butter and whizz it again until it resembles crumbs.
Add the egg and one last whizz to combine all the ingredients.
Using your hands, remove from the bowl and knead on a piece of baking paper sprinkled with cassava flour. This is to remove any dry spots that may be in the dough.
Knead until everything is well mixed, then wrap in baking paper and leave the rest in the fridge for 1/2 an hour.
Let’s get cracking with the apple filling
In a blender, or nutribullet, blend together dates, vanilla and water and leave to stand.
Cut the apples into quarters then cut out the core of each quarter.
Slice each quarter in smaller slices about 1cm thickness – slicing lengthways from the top to the bottom.
Fry the apples in butter or coconut oil until they start to caramelise. You may need to do this in two batches to allow even heat distribution.
Gently transfer the cooked apple slices to a plate to cool whilst we get the pastry ready.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC
Break off about 1/4 of the pastry and set aside – this will be used the cut the stars.
Using the remainder batch of pastry roll it out on a piece of grease proof paper that has been sprinkled with cassava flour.
If the dough is sticky add flour to the top of it to stop the rolling pin sticking.
Once the dough is about 1cm thick and big enough to line a 20cm pie dish including the sides, take the whole piece of grease proof paper, turn it upside down and gently place the rolled out dough in the pie dish.
Peel off the paper and gently pat the dough into place, filling any holes with smaller patches of dough – don’t worry if it looks rustic that is part of the charm.
Cut off any excess dough around the top edge of the pie dish and pinch the edges down.
Bake for 10min in the oven.
Remove from the oven and start to arrange the apple slices placing them with the round side of the apple following the curve of the pie dish starting from the outside working inwards – do only one layer.
Once the first layer is done then add a layer of date puree then top with the other layer of apples – you may have more layers than me depending on how big your apples were.
Roll out the smaller piece of pastry and cut out as many small stars as possible, re-roll and cut again.
Whip up an egg and brush the outer rim of the pie, start to place the stars around the rim then carry on placing them over the slices of apples.
Brush the stars with egg then bake for 30min.
Remove from the oven and serve warm with cream, coconut cream or ice-cream.

Donna Crous is behind Eighty 20 Nutrition.  She is a recipe developer and a photographer. Her blog features Paleo/low-carb style family recipes and she is a regular contributor to Free-From Heaven and Free-From Gluten magazines. In addition, she is a certified Primal Health Coach and has been awarded UK Paleo Blogger of Year and runner up for Recipe of the Year. Donna is also Glowcation’s go to photographer.

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