This delectable gluten-free dessert features Yes! Apples prepared three ways to perfectly capture the taste and essence of a caramel apple.
Makes 8 servings and as prepared, is gluten-free and refined sugar-free.
1 - 11" round almond flour shortbread crust (recipe below)
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup homemade unsweetened applesauce (recipe below)
1 cup apple chips (recipe below)
1-2 cups diced fresh apples
Caramel (recipe below)
Chopped, unsalted peanuts
Flaky sea salt
RECIPES AND INSTRUCTIONS
APPLE CHIPS (Best to prepare a day in advance)
1 apple (I used Snapdragon)
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
2. Thinly slice the apple using a sharp knife or mandolin. The thinner the better but at least 1/16 inch thick. Spread apple slices on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 2-3 hours (or more, to reach desired crispness). Turn slices every hour. When done, set aside until ready to use or place in a sealed container overnight. Store in a cool, dry place.
2-3 apples (I used 1 Pink Lady and 2 small Evercrisp)
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1. Coarsely chop apples. Place in a medium pot with the water and heat to boil. Stir well then cover and reduce heat to medium and cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Add additional water if necessary if it looks like the water has cooked out or evaporated. You just want to make sure that there is a little bit of water in the pot during the entire cooking process so the apples don't dry out or stick.
2. Turn off heat and remove pot from burner. Let cool. Place in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. Place in a bowl and squeeze a little lemon juice over the applesauce and stir. Set aside.
ALMOND FLOUR SHORTBREAD CRUST
1-1/2 cups almond flour, tightly packed (SEE NOTES)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted (SEE NOTES)
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Add almond flour to a bowl. Sprinkle in salt then pour in coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Stir well until ingredients start to bind. Then use hands to knead and combine dough until ball forms. Dough will be slightly sticky. Set aside.
3. Line a 12 inch round cookie sheet with parchment paper then place dough in center of pan and start pressing it out with your hands. You can lightly grease your hands with a little of any residual coconut oil in the spoon to keep your hands from sticking. Press out dough to within 1/2 inch of cookie sheet. Dough should be about 1/8 inch thick.
4. Pre-slice dough into 8 equal slices then bake for 15 minutes or until center is firm. Set aside to cool.
VEGAN PEANUT BUTTER CARAMEL (SEE NOTES)
Start with equal parts natural (unsweetened) peanut butter and maple syrup (about 2 Tablespoons each) and a pinch of salt. Stir well and taste. If you want it sweeter, add additional maple syrup to reach desired sweetness level. Stir again then add enough hot water to reach desired consistency. You want it thin enough that it will easily drizzle.
TO ASSEMBLE (or watch how-to video):
Dice 1-2 fresh apples with skin on (I used Pink Lady). Place in a small bowl and sprinkle with a little lemon juice. Stir to make sure lemon juice gets on all of the apples. Set aside until ready to use.
Start with about 1/2 cup of the homemade apple sauce and spread thinly and evenly over the crust. Add a little bit more if desired, but be careful not too add too much or the crust may get a little soggy (but still delicious!)
Add the chopped fresh apples, then layer the apple chips next. Drizzle the caramel over the top then add chopped, unsalted peanuts (see notes) and finally, a big pinch of flaky sea salt.
Serve immediately. Due to the fresh apples and applesauce, it is best to enjoy the entire pizza with friends or family within a few minutes of preparation or the pizza may get softer and a little soggy. It will morph into more of shortcake type of dessert that is still very delicious and will need to be eaten with a fork or spoon!
1. This pizza is completely customizable and you can use any combination of apples you desire. Just be sure to use a tarter apple for the fresh diced apples to re-create the traditional caramel apple flavor.
2. For nut allergy for the crust, you can use a traditional shortbread cookie recipe with regular or gluten-free flour instead of the almond flour.
3. If you do not like coconut oil or have an allergy, you can substitute vegan butter.
5. For peanut allergy, omit chopped peanuts or use another nut if not allergic.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below!