Healthy Snack Ideas

This Effortless Cashew Butter Cherry Pie Tastes Like Peak Summer (and It’s Packed With Protein)

Photo: Stocksy/ Luke Mattson
Consider this your guide to healthier baking. Chef Mia Rigden and Jenny Dorsey team up to show you how to revamp some of your favorite baked goods to make them healthier and loaded with better-for-you ingredients—without skimping on flavor. See All

When the summer state fair rolls around, there are a few activities you have no choice but to complete in order to fulfill your annual carnival duties. First step: Spend entirely too long attempting the dreaded ring toss to win the biggest and fluffiest stuffed animal you’ve ever seen. Next up, devote a nauseating amount of time (literally) to the Tilt-A-Whirl until you start seeing double. Lastly, the highlight of the day, which always comes down to the food. Obviously this means pie.

On the latest episode of Alt-Baking Bootcamp, nutrition coach and baker Sashah Handal shares her go-to gluten-free, vegan, and super easy cherry pie recipe that’s delicious enough to win the content at the state fair (not to put ideas in your head or anything). A little sweet, a little tart, and majorly low-lift, this simple recipe requires minimal time spent in the kitchen and no laborious kneading—it really is, as the saying goes, easy as pie. Not to mention the fact that Handal says this recipe tastes just like a cherry-flavored Pop-Tart (...enough said, we're sold).

Ready to get pitted? You can find the easy cherry pie recipe below—and be sure to watch the full episode to see exactly how it's done.

Why this easy cherry pie recipe would win first place at any pie-making contest

This easy cherry pie recipe checks off all of the boxes when it comes to nailing the perfect pie anatomy. It has a thick crust filled with a tart and sweet fruity filling, and it’s entirely plant-based—which is an automatic win in my book.

Handal clearly knows a thing or two when it comes to making an award-worthy pie that's allergy-friendly and packed with health benefits. With a few easy ingredient swaps, she turns a classic cherry dessert into a vegan and gluten-free treat for everyone to enjoy. Unlike most pie crust recipes that call for tons of butter or vegetable shortening, this version uses cashew butter to bind the ingredients together with a healthier, high-protein source of fat. Cashew butter is not only a great vegan butter alternative for baking, but it’s also high in essential nutrients like copper, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, and zinc.

As for the rest of the crust mixture, Handal combines oat and white rice flour instead of regular all-purpose flour, which gives it a deliciously toothsome texture. And to flavor things up, she uses maple syrup in place of refined sugar, and adds a dash of vanilla and almond extract for a hint of nutty sweetness.

Aside from the perfect combination of ingredients, Handal also shares how to nail the crust’s consistency (the most challenging part, IMO) with a few genius baking tips, including using a food processor instead of kneading the dough and rolling it once—and only once—it’s been chilled. Her go-to crust-making tips really prove that making pie crust from scratch should really be no big deal.

Now, like true love (it’s what’s on the inside that counts), cue the star of the show: the antioxidant-rich cherry filling. With cherry season in full swing, this fruity filling is balanced with a mixture of lemon, cinnamon, and maple syrup for what Handal says tastes just like a cherry-flavored Pop-Tart. “It’s sweet but tart and so fruity,” she gushes as she takes the first bite. When analyzing the cross-section of a perfect slice of this pie, she shows the gooey, bright red cherry filling that oozes like jam and a beautiful lattice crust that covers the top of the dessert that’ll make your guests ooh and ahh with every bite. Seriously, it’s divine.

Gluten-free and vegan cherry pie recipe

Yields 8 slices

Ingredients

For the pie crust:
2/3 cup oat flour
1/4 cup white rice flour
1/3 cup cashew butter
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp almond extract (optional)

For the filling:
3 Tbsp maple syrup
3 Tbsp tapioca starch
1 3/4 cup thawed frozen cherries
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp sugar

1. For the crust, combine all of the crust ingredients together in a food processor and pulse until a sticky ball forms. Then, place the dough in the fridge while you make the filling for at least 15 minutes.

2. For the filling, combine the maple syrup and tapioca starch in a medium mixing bowl until smooth. Next, add the remaining ingredients and stir.

3. Remove the dough from the fridge and cut it in half. Roll out the first half into a half-inch layer on a floured parchment paper and line the pan with the crust.

4. Next, pour the filling into the crust and make sure it is an even, flat layer.

5. Roll out the remaining half of the dough and use a sharp knife to slice one-inch lattice panels to cross-weave on top of the filling.

6. Bake for approximately 40-45 mins, until edges are golden and crispy and filling bubbles. Allow to cool on a cooling rack or enjoy while warm.

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