This healthy apple pie filling is naturally sweetened with dates, completely raw (so it doesn’t need to be cooked) and perfectly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Apples are one of my favorite fruits. They’re portable, versatile, healthy and they come in so many different varieties. Pink Lady and Honey Crisp are the best varieties (in my opinion) but I also like Fuji and any other variety that’s super sweet and crisp. I can do Granny Smith from time to time as well, but I find others like Red Delicious and Gala too soft or mealy. And if there’s one thing I despise, it’s mealy apples. I just can’t do it.
This fall I’ve been playing around with a bunch of apple recipes. One apple recipe I came up with while experimenting was an apple pie filling of sorts… without any thickeners or processed sugar — just raw chopped apples, date puree and spices.
It turned out to be absolutely delicious! The date puree gives the filling a lovely sweet, caramel flavor and the apples stay nice and crunchy (just the way I like them)! I hadn’t ever used date puree as a sweetener before, but after this recipe I realized that I really like the flavor and I’ve already started experimenting with a couple different ideas (like these almond flour muffins).
This recipe is a real food version of traditional apple pie filling that you’d typically find in a can. No butter, flour or white sugar needed! Ready to see the ingredient list comparison?
Traditional apple pie filling ingredients: apples, (a lot of) sugar, lemon, butter, all-purpose flour, cinnamon, spices and more sugar.
Healthy apple pie filling ingredients: apples, dates, a little water and spices!
Start by soaking the pitted dates by placing them in a small bowl and covering with water. Allow them to sit for 10-15 minutes.
While the dates are soaking, prep your apples by cutting them and chopping into tiny chunks. If you want your filling to have a smoother texture, I recommend peeling your apples.
When the dates are finished soaking, drain and discard the water. Add the dates, fresh water, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg into a high powered blender and blend until smooth. Add more water to thin out the filling if needed. It should be thick but pourable – similar to syrup.
Pour the date puree over the prepped apples and stir to combine.
While I haven’t used this healthy apple pie filling for a proper apple pie, I have used it for a variety of other things! Here’s a little list to get you started. The options are endless!
As I mentioned above, I haven’t used this apple pie filling for an actual apple pie just yet. I need to test it because I’m thinking I might need to add additional ingredients (some sort of thickener for it to work, but I’ll keep you posted when I try it.