Russian Apple Pie - Gluten-free Sharlotka

Russian Apple Pie - Gluten-free Sharlotka

Inside: easy-peasy gluten-free Russian apple pie. This is a recipe that your kids will enjoy making, baking and eating.


Physics, geometry, and chemistry were not the only subjects taken seriously in Soviet times. In my public high school, we were also required to take a class named Trudovoe Obuchenie, or Trud, the name that I can only translate as Home Economics

 

For two hours each week, the girls baked and sewed, while boys hammered and soldered. Sometimes I dreamed of switching places with the boys, especially on the days when we were sewing yet another boring apron for mother’s day, while boys were making wooden planters outside. 

 

However, I was very content with being where I was when it was a cooking rotation. We got to eat everything we cooked and as actively growing kids we were always hungry. Those were the days when boys whispered and giggled outside the girls’ classroom inhaling the delicate aromas drifting from the four cooking ovens. Ok, I take back the “delicate aroma” because we were known to burn things on a regular basis. 

 

In measured intervals boys worked up the courage to stick their heads in to inquire half-pleadingly, “you will be sharing with us, right?” They were always hungry too.

Traditional Russian Apple pie, gluten-free and delicious. Easy to make. Fun to eat. Healthy never tasted so good!
 

Russian Apple Pie or Sharlotka

 
The quintessential Sharlotka or Russian apple pie was the crown of each year’s baking curriculum. We baked our pies in groups of 3-4 and were graded on the results mercilessly (too brown, too rough, too tall, too tough).  The grade of “5” (equivalent of an American “A”) was reserved for a perfect pie, “4” (or “B”) was given to the ones with minor imperfections, “2” (or “F”) went to the pies that even hungry boys out in the hallway refused to eat (they ate almost everything even that pie that we dropped on a floor and accidentally stepped on. Don’t ask).  
 
Now that I’ve baked my share of difficult and easy desserts I understand why our teacher picked an apple pie. It’s one of those things that almost impossible to mess up. You cut the apples and throw them in the pan. Mix eggs, sugar, and flour and dump it over apples. Bake.
 
I have improved the classical Russian recipe by making it gluten-free. My choice was a mix of hazelnut flour (which is just grounded hazelnuts) for protein and gluten-free baking flour.   
 
If you are used to very sweet, store-bought desserts you might find one cup of sugar insufficient, especially if you use tart apples like Granny Smith and Honey Crisp. You have an option of either increasing the amount of sugar or sprinkling powdered sugar on a baked pie before eating. 
 
And another bonus, this dessert requires very little prep work, about 10 minutes, if like us you skip peeling apples. The skin packs most of the vitamins and fiber! 
 
I love apple pie with raisins. I eat this 2lb bag every month. But my kids don’t like raisins in an apple pie. If you are adding raisins, let them soak in hot water for 5-7 minutes (or go crazy and so soak those raisins in warmed up brandy or cognac…), squeeze raisins out after soaking by wrapping them in a clean towel and twisting it, now add them to sliced apples and mix well (or not so well, makes no difference).
 
Traditional Russian Apple pie, gluten-free and delicious. Easy to make. Fun to eat. Healthy never tasted so good!

Ingredients

5 apples
4 eggs
1 cup coconut palm sugar (see note below *)
Juice of one lemon (about 1 Tbsp)
½ cup hazelnut meal/flour
½ cup gluten-free flour
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp arrowroot powder (divided)
Butter for pan
Raisins (optional)
Powdered sugar (for decorating, optional)
 
* Note on sugar: you will get fluffier dessert with regular white sugar. I prefer using organic Coconut Palm sugar whenever I have it. It makes me feel a little bit better about giving my kids dessert.

Equipment

9-inch Springform pan
 

What to do

1.  Preheat oven to 350F.
2.  Cut apples in half. Remove the core. Then cut into slices. If your kids are practicing their knife skills let them give it a try (with adult supervision and using proper cutting techniques, of course). Instead of slices, they can cut apples into any shapes. The only thing to keep in mind is that pieces of significantly different sizes would cook at a different rate. And you don’t want to end up with some apples uncooked and others overcooked.
 
Traditional Russian Apple pie, gluten-free and delicious. Easy to make. Fun to eat. Healthy never tasted so good!
 
3.  Add cinnamon and lemon juice to apple slices. Kids can mix it all up. 
4.  Line a bottom of the springform pan with parchment paper. Let kids butter the sides and the parchment paper generously with their (clean) bare hands.
 

I like to sprinkle about ½ teaspoon of arrowroot powder inside the springform. 

 
5.  Beat eggs for 2 minutes in a food processor or with a fork in a bowl. Add sugar and beat for another two minutes. If you use regular sugar, the mixture should double in size.   

6.  In a medium bowl mix hazelnut flour, gluten-free flour and ½ tsp arrowroot powder. Add it to the egg-sugar mixture with a spoon just until combined.

Traditional Russian Apple pie, gluten-free and delicious. Easy to make. Fun to eat. Healthy never tasted so good!
7.  Decide with kids which side of the pie is going to be your top side. If you are planning on flipping the form then put a few apple slices on the bottom of a springform in an attractive shape. Otherwise, dump most of the apples into the pan and then arrange the top layer in a pretty pattern. Or skip the pretty, if you are in a rush or kids are not in the mood. Just dump all the apples in there and call it a day. 
 
Traditional Russian Apple pie, gluten-free and delicious. Easy to make. Fun to eat. Healthy never tasted so good!
 
8.  Pour flour-egg mixture over apples. Use a spatula to spread the butter so that it covers all exposed apples and to push some apples down to prevent some pieces from sticking out too much. 
 
Traditional Russian Apple pie, gluten-free and delicious. Easy to make. Fun to eat. Healthy never tasted so good!
 
9.  Bake for 40-50 minutes depending on how thick you cut the apples. You might need to cover the pie for the last 10 minutes of baking with aluminum foil to avoid over-browning. Just have a pick and see what color is your pie.
 

Is it ready yet?

When checking for readiness test with a toothpick. If it comes out without clumps stuck to it, it’s ready. Cool the pie for a bit, then flip out onto a plate, peel off the parchment paper and dust with powdered sugar (if you wish). You might need to run a spatula around the edges to loosen the pie off the walls. If the presentation is not of the importance and you just want to start eating the pie right away, don’t even bother flipping it over. Just sprinkle some powdered sugar and eat away.
 
Traditional Russian Apple pie, gluten-free and delicious. Easy to make. Fun to eat. Healthy never tasted so good!
 
I like to eat my Sharlotka still warm so that sprinkled powdered sugar on top slowly melts in front of my eyes.
 
Traditional Russian Apple pie, gluten-free and delicious. Easy to make. Fun to eat. Healthy never tasted so good!
Disclaimer: this post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my links, I will get a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for your help in keeping this blog going. 
 
 
Sharlotka tastes best with a cup of hot Russian tea. 
 
What’s your favorite apple pie recipe? 

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