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Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Tart with Gluten-Free Pie Crust

My husband Al loves apple pie!

His mother made apple pie for him for as long as he can remember.

She would often make a Pennsylvania Dutch apple pie, a single-crust pie with the apples cut in halves and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, then dotted with tiny clumps butter that would melt and flow through the whole pie while it baked in the oven.  I remember her pies’ wonderful aroma, texture, and flavor from BGF (Before Gluten-Free) days.  I and everyone else in the family absolutely loved her wonderful creations!

My mother-in-law, Mary, sure knew how to bake a pie that vanished like a magician doing a disappearing act. In fact, Mary told me that it was always the first to go at bake sales, church suppers and the like.

Her mother taught her how to make it when Mary was still a young girl in the mountains of Pennsylvania where the wifely art of baking was held in high regard.  And, bragging rights to baking excellence were a much sought after family treasure.

This recipe was a family tradition … Mary called it a Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Tart… and the secret to its succulent home-made flavor as been passed down from mother to daughter in Al’s family for generations.

It’s still made that way around there, at least the gluten-y version is.  Naturally I had to convert her recipe to gluten-free.  Here it is and I hope you like it!


Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Tart with a Gluten-Free Crust

Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Tart with a Gluten-Free Crust


You’ll need one Gluten-Free Pie Crust, 9-inch, or two 6-inch – See Below for One with Rice & Almond Flours, or Use Your Own Recipe


Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Tart with Gluten-Free Pie Crust

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Makes 6-8 servings


Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Tart Filling:
  • 6 Large Apples, Peeled, or 8, halved – don’t cut smaller yet!
  • 1 Cup Sugar, or evaporated cane sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Sweet Rice Flour, or cornstarch
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter, or margarine (can be casein-free)

Photo shows the smaller tart — this recipe made 2 of that size.

Gluten-free Pie Crust with Rice and Almond Flours:


Filling Instructions:

First prepare a Gluten Free Pie Shell – see below for one with rice and almond flours — or use your own recipe. Prepare the crust first, using two 6-inch pans or one 9-inch pie pan.

When you start peeling the apples, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Peel the apples. Cut them into halves, but don’t cut into smaller pieces yet. You will need a few smaller pieces later to fill in any open spaces.

Combine the sweet rice flour (or cornstarch) and the sugar in a small bowl.

Sprinkle about half the sugar mixture in the bottom crust.

Lay as many apple halves in the crust, cut side down, as will fit. In a standard pie plate, this may be 5 or 6 halves, but depending on the size of the apples it may be more. They should all be flat side down.

You should have some remaining halves. Cut them into smaller pieces to fill in between the halves in the pan. Cut them into wedges and place as needed until the pan is full and you’ve used all your apples.

Sprinkle the rest of the sugar mixture over the apples.

Sprinkle the cinnamon over the apples.

Dot with butter.

Bake at 400 degrees F. for 15 minutes, then at 375 degrees F. until you can see the filling bubbling — probably about another 20 to 25 minutes. In a glass or ceramic pan the pan will take less time to cook.

The crust should be a delicate golden brown by this time. If it isn’t brown enough, bake for a few minutes longer, watching carefully.

If the crust browns TOO fast, cover the edges with a strip of foil to keep them from burning.

Cool on a rack.

Crust Instructions:

Mix flours well with xanthan gum, baking powder and salt.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg and melted butter until thoroughly mixed.

Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture until blended.

Press dough together firmly to form it into a ball.

Without sprinkling extra flour, lay the dough on a square of wax paper, parchment or plastic wrap; cover with another square.

Roll the dough out between the 2 pieces of wax paper until it is the right size and shape for your pan. If you set your empty pan on top of the wax paper, you should be able to see a good inch or so of the crust all the way around the pan; then you’ll know you’ve rolled it to the right size.

Peel off the top layer of wax paper. Pick up 2 corners of the bottom layer of wax paper and lift it carefully, with the pastry sticking to it. Lay it pastry side down on the pie pan, centering over the pan.

Gently press the wax paper and pastry down in the center, working out to the edges of the pan.

Peel the wax paper off gently, pressing the pastry into shape, filling in any gaps and smoothing it to make an even surface. If it breaks or crumbles, just press it back into shape with your fingers. You can’t overwork this pastry like the ones with gluten in them.

Trim and crimp the edge.

Fill as described above. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 15 minutes, then at 375 degrees F. until crust is a delicate golden brown.


I hope you enjoy your Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Tart in a gluten-free pie crust!



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