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 for a project I’m working on with Free People.
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.
To make a batch of this apple filling you’ll need a few fresh apples, a little time to soak your dates, some spices and a blender. And that’s it. It really couldn’t be easier!
So what do you do with this filling?
Well, I deem it totally acceptable to eat the filling by itself with a spoon, but I also thought of a million (okay maybe 10) different ways this stuff could be used — as a topping for ice cream, stuffed into crepes, as a base for an apple crumble, served in a bowl topped with coconut milk whipped cream (omg!), as a topping for oatmeal, served over pancakes, as a parfait filling, blended into an apple pie smoothie/milkshake or served over yogurt with granola. I’m pretty sure you could also use it as pie filling for traditional apple pie but I haven’t tested this yet… it may need some sort of thickener?
I’ll be sharing at least one recipe using the filling soon — it’s an adorable dessert recipe that’s completely raw! In the meantime, I highly recommend making a batch right now and using it however you see fit.
Healthy Raw Apple Pie Filling with Dates
- 3 medium apples, (I used Honey Crisp + Granny Smith)
- 1 cup mejdool dates, pitted
- 3/4-1 cup water, plus additional water for soaking the dates
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
- pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- Soak the dates by placing in a small bowl with just enough water to cover them.
- Allow them to sit for about 10-15 minutes.
- Prepare apples while the dates are soaking by coring and chopping into tiny chunks. Place in a bowl and set aside.
- When the dates are finished soaking, drain and discard the water. Add the dates, fresh water (start with ¾ cup), cinnamon, salt and nutmeg into a high powered blender and blend until smooth.
- Add more water to thin the filling out if needed. The consistency should be thick but pourable
- like syrup.
- Pour the date puree over the bowl of apples and stir to combine.