Learn how to make a simple and delicious gluten free Dutch apple pie with the kids!
It all started with a little extra time on our hands during Thanksgiving prep day…
Extra time?! With 3 kids in the house? I know, I know, it sounds unheard of, but we started some of the Thanksgiving dishes earlier in the week, so that day before Thanksgiving was pretty flexible. We had already put the pumpkin pie into the oven, and since we were planning on Grandma and Grandpa over for this year’s meal, we decided another pie was definitely warranted (it just isn’t worth all the pie making fuss if you don’t have leftovers to go with your coffee the next day, amiright?!).
No fuss apple pie, and a little West Michigan history
It’s really no secret how deeply rooted the Dutch history is along the coast of West Michigan. We live less than an hour away from literally Holland, Michigan, most of our friends have last names that are a mile long starting with either Vander- or Van-, and we spend first week of every May enjoying Tulip Time celebrations everywhere we look! I actually have 0% Dutch blood running through my veins, but I was born and bred here and have enjoyed learning the culture and traditions. I am definitely not a Dutch history expert, but Dutch apple pie is certainly a staple here, and I absolutely love how low fuss it is to make…you all know baking is not my favorite of things to do.
Ideas for how to include your kids in the process
Because if you can swing it, making them a part of your kitchen happenings when you can is so worth it. Confidence, pride, and ownership…priceless. Truthfully I didn’t know how much of this pie I wanted to make them a part of – I am really fussy about how thin those apples are for apple pie, and we had already done quite a bit in the kitchen together. They ended up being right there from the first apple peel to the last sprinkle of the crumble topping, and I’ve got some tips for you!
- Let them help with the crust! The dough is super forgiving from start to finish. Let the littles press the button the food processor and your bigs and measure the ingredients out. My oldest is able to roll a pie crust out, and with a little help get it into a pie plate. My older girls like crimping the crust too!
- Let them peel! If you have a fancy apple peeler, fantastic! I have never had one, and have found that a simple Y-peeler works just fine. You’ll really only need to peel 5 or 6 apples so goes quick. You can start apple peeling as young as 2 years old. I have found Y-peelers to work the best for them. (Add one to your Christmas list for your littles! Pop it in a sweet little apron – makes a great gift!). My oldest can effectively use a regular peeler now, but Y-peelers are easier to use for littles. ALSO, don’t cut the apples right away – just let them peel all of the apples first so the insides don’t brown once cut.
- Let them cut! Use an apple slicer to get it going, and then your older children or you can make those bigger slices thinner. My 7 and 9 year olds were able to help me with the thin slicing this year and they did better than I expected.
- Let them measure and mix the filling! My 7 year old did this part by herself. The ingredients are so simple, and when you use a larger mixing bowl, there will be less mess. Show them first how to fold the apple slices with the sugar and cinnamon gently so they don’t get crushed, and then let them try.
- Let them sprinkle the crumble topping! This is the fun part! They all enjoyed doing this, and the topping is one of the beauties in a Dutch Apple Pie – lattice tops can be fussy and time consuming to make with little kids let alone as an adult. The crumble topping can be done all by themselves.
What makes it a Dutch Apple Pie?
A buttery pie crust, and a sweet crumble topping instead of pie crust topping is key. Some traditional Dutch apple pies have added golden raisins. It is usually really deep with filling as well – I love the layers and layers of thin apple slices. I have seen the crumble toppings made from anything from walnuts to flour, and we enjoy using flour the best. Usually brown sugar is mixed in with the crumble topping. Since I don’t keep brown sugar around the house (we just don’t use it that often, and it always ends up hard as a rock in my pantry), a mix of sugar and molasses do the trick for this topping – that is all brown sugar is anyway! I like the lightly warm taste of a lighter brown sugar, but you can add more molasses if you like it richer.
Let’s talk about pie plates…
My love affair with pies has more to do with getting to use pretty pie plates versus the actual making of the pie. Well, that and the delicious fillings! It is a small investment for that feeling you get when you pull them out of that very top pantry cupboard you barely use all year. I spend at least a few minutes envisioning the pie in each of my pies before choosing the lucky one. Here are some of my favoirites – treat yourself to one!
- If you like a classic, clean line look to a pie plate, these are more your style.
- If your style is more vintage, take a gander at these gorgeous pieces – I’m swooning!
- I found some really pretty holiday pie plates that I definitely planning on adding to my collection!
- I do love a good glass pie plate as well and get a lot of use out of them.
Make ahead options
Pie making always feels daunting to me, possibly because baking really isn’t my favorite. There’s so many pieces to the puzzle, but if you break it down, you can make it feel like less steps. You can make the pie crust days in advance, and even get it into the pie plate in advance. This can be a nice jump start to any holiday meal when you can’t prep anything else. You can also prep the crumble topping days in advance. Just pop the topping into an airtight container and stash it away in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
How do I serve Dutch Apple Pie?
You mean other than with a big mug of hot coffee the next morning for breakfast?! Ahem…For Thanksgiving, we used the thick and fluffy whipped cream we made for the pumpkin pie, but a big scoop of vanilla ice cream is my favorite!
Gluten Free Dutch Apple Pie
CRUMBLE TOPPING ::
MAKE THE CRUST ::
- Put the flour, sugar, and cold butter into your food processor, and pulse until the butter is pea-sized bits. Add water to the oil stream cup at the top of your food processor and blend to combine until the dough comes together – this takes about 30 seconds to a minute so be patient. Gather the dough, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes – you can make this days ahead of time if you wish as well.
MAKE THE CRUMB TOPPING ::
- Put all of the crumb topping ingredients into a small mixing bowl and either use your fingers or a pastry cutter to combine – there should be small bits of butter crumbs throughout. Put the crumb topping into the fridge until you are ready to use it.
ROLL OUT THE CRUST ::
- When the crust has refrigerated long enough, roll it out and place it into your pie plate, crimping or designing the edges however you like. You can pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees at this point too.
MAKE THE FILLING ::
- Put all of the apple filling ingredients into a medium mixing bowl, stir to combine, and pour into your uncooked pie crust.
- Sprinkle your crumble topping over the apple pie filling, and bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Cool for an hour before slicing. Top with homemade whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!
More real food recipes you might like ::
- GF “Busy Momma” Pumpkin Pie
- GF Apple Breakfast Cookies
- Instant Pot Applesauce
- DIY 3 Ingredient Whipped Cream
- GF Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Muffins
- Fermented Cranberry Soda for Holiday Entertaining