Apple pie is a staple American dessert. It’s the perfect sweet course to impress your dinner guests or treat yourself to. Yet, did you know you can make apple pie without apples?
You read that right! Mock apple pie is a twist on the classic pie recipe using crackers. This way, you’ll get to satisfy your sweet tooth even if you don’t have apples.
In this article, we’ve explained how crackers make a pie that tastes indistinguishable from real apple pie. Let’s dive in!
What Is Mock Apple Pie?
As its name suggests, mock apple pie is a pie that contains no apples at all. Instead, you use crackers, sugar, and spices.
The best part about mock apple pie is that you can basically use any type of cracker for the pie filling. As long as you use the correct spices, it’ll taste just like the real mock apple pie!
Furthermore, you can’t mess up the texture of mock apple pie. That’s because, unlike apples, the crackers can’t get too mushy while baking.
You might think adding sugar to crackers will just lead to crystallizing, especially since there’s no liquid in the filling. Yet, cream of tartar keeps the copious amount of sugar in this pie stable.
To add, you don’t need to wait for the apples to cook down. So, this is an excellent quick dessert you can whip up in minutes.
Where Did Mock Apple Pie Originate?
Using crackers as pie filling has been a popular baking hack since the mid-1800s. However, mock apple pies took off in the 1930s, with the introduction of Ritz crackers.
If you’ve ever bought Ritz crackers, you’ve probably seen the mock apple pie recipe on the box. Well, this clever recipe led to the popularity of mock apple pies.
Furthermore, this recipe originated during the Great Depression. At the time, many fruits, including apples, were scarce. Even if they were available, they were pretty expensive.
For this reason, many American homes started replicating the beloved dessert using Ritz crackers and some spices!
Until today, mock apple pies remain a staple dessert, especially since you can make it with ingredients you already have in your kitchen and it only takes minutes.
Why Does Mock Apple Pie Taste Like Real Apple Pie?
Mock pies can taste indistinguishable from the real thing even though the main ingredient is missing. Instead of apples, you add crackers!
You should note that mock apple pie doesn’t taste like salty crackers at all. The reason is that the other flavorful ingredients in the recipe completely mask the crackers’ salty taste.
Well, the reason behind the authentic apple pie taste is the spices. Mock apple pie contains the same spices which give real apple pies their distinct taste.
Other than cinnamon and nutmeg, mock apple pie also includes a small amount of vanilla. This gives the pie the tangy flavor of apples.
Additionally, most mock apple pie recipes include a lot of sugar. Since there are no sweet apples in this recipe, sugar is crucial. It also helps sweeten up the crackers.
How to Make Apple Pie Without Apples
Now that you know you can make an “apple pie” even if you don’t have any apples around, here is the simplest, yet tastiest recipe for mock apple pie.
To make things quicker, you can use a store-bought pie crust instead of making one from scratch.
Even though this recipe includes Ritz crackers, you can use any type you have around. Just make sure they’re not overly salty.
For the filling:
- 3 cups white sugar
- 3 tablespoons cream of tartar
- 2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
- 1 sleeve of Ritz crackers
For the pie crust
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup cold, unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 400 ℉.
- To make the pie crust, add the flour, salt, and ¼ cup of butter in a food processor, then gradually add in more butter until mixed.
- Transfer the dough to a bowl, then knead while gradually adding cold water until you reach a cohesive consistency.
- Let the dough refrigerate for one hour or overnight.
- When you’re ready to bake, roll out half of the dough into the pie plate, and pierce its bottom with a toothpick multiple times.
- Add foil and pie weights, then bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
- For the filling, add the sugar, cream of tartar, and water to a saucepan, then heat the mixture until reduced into a thick syrup, or about one cup.
- After that, add the lemon juice and vanilla extract, and let the mixture cool for about 30 minutes.
- In a bowl, break the crackers, then toss them with the cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Add the crackers to the pie dish, then pour the cool mixture on top, and add the cold butter.
- Roll out the rest of the crust dough on top of the filling, flute the edges, and slit the top, then bake for 15 minutes or until the crust is golden.
Other Ways to Make an Apple Pie Without Apples
While mock apple pie can satisfy your sweet tooth, it might not satiate your fruit craving. Luckily, if you don’t have any apples around, you can substitute them for other delicious fruit.
Pears are the perfect apple substitute. If you close your eyes, they practically taste the same!
In fact, you can use both pears and apples in a pie as they make a great flavor combination. Still, using pears on their own will yield an incredibly tasty pie.
The great part about this is that you don’t need to adjust your apple pie recipe at all. The reason is how similar the two fruits are in terms of texture and flavor.
If you have peaches around, make sure to try making a pie with them! Though their texture isn’t similar to apples when they’re fresh, once they’re cooked down the texture is pretty much the same.
While you’ll get an extremely tasty pie when you use peaches, there are some changes you need to make to your traditional apple pie recipe.
First, you should leave out the nutmeg from your peach pie as it has a completely different flavor profile. Furthermore, peaches are already incredibly sweet, so you won’t need as much sugar.
You can also cook an appetizing pie using applesauce filling. This cuts down on your prepping time since you won’t need to cut the apples or cook them beforehand.
Moreover, this pie requires only two ingredients, applesauce and pie crusts. There’s no sugar or spices needed, though you can add a pinch of cinnamon if you prefer.
The only downside to applesauce pie is that you’ll need to bake it for a couple of extra minutes. This way, all the water from the sauce evaporates.
If you want to make apple pie without apples, using Ritz crackers is a tried and true method to make the classic dessert.
Crackers give you an identical texture to apples, and the sugar and spices in the mock pie are the same as in real apple pie. In fact, no one would be able to tell that your recipe doesn’t include apples!
Still, if you want a more fruity taste in your pie, you can substitute the apples for applesauce, pears, or even peaches.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.