Hi, I'm Dr. Bianca!


I’m a menopausal woman. I write about what it's like to get through the hormonal transition we’ve come to know as menopause. My intent is to help us all age together in the best and healthiest way possible. Let’s not suffer in silence. Let’s normalize the conversation. 


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This gluten-free apple pie recipe returns me to my Polish roots and my "little nana."

Little nana was my great-grandmother, and it was in the early 1900s when she made her way to Ellis Island from Poland. 

She came to America to marry my grandfather, a NYC chef. 

Sadly, he died shortly after she arrived, leaving her with two small children.

Little Nana the Apple Pie Maker

With horse, buggy, and kids in tow, she traveled to southern New Jersey to buy a farm.

She didn't grow up on a farm.

Nonetheless, she sure did learn how to work one!

My great-grandfather taught her how to bake in the limited time they had together. 

Making a living by baking and selling all types of pies eventually became her passion.

But, most importantly, it became her primary means of supporting herself, her children, and her grandchildren. 

Subsequently, her homemade apple pie would sell for .75 cents and, at the time, and they were known as "the best apple pie" in all of Griggstown, NJ.

Gluten-Free Apple Pie Recipe (Little Nana's Way!)

Little nana stood a whopping 4 feet 11 inches tall.

Despite her small stature, she learned how to manage a farm, raise children and become a female entrepreneur well before its time for women of this country.

Because it was the early 1900s, there was no talk of gluten, insulin resistance, and certainly no conversations on menopause.

Little nana just took her dry ingredients, juicy apples, and cubed butter that she churned herself and made the best classic apple pie of her time despite any talk of hot flashes or fatigue.

Present day: Why Gluten-Free or Reduced gluten?

Hot flashes, joint pain, and irritability can worsen as women age

Most importantly, for those with severe hormonal fluctuations, undiagnosed Celiac disease, and gluten sensitivity, symptoms can feel like they are  overwhelmingly impossible to manage. 

As a result, leaving the gut inflamed. 

Which can further cause dehydration and mineral imbalances making gluten sensitivity worse.

Like a vicious circle.

In addition, as per a research paper written in 2018, reducing gluten might have some health benefits if you have gluten sensitivity, Fibromyalgia, IBS, or a confirmed Celiac diagnosis.

Regardless of the lack of gluten, this delicious apple pie recipe is an homage to my little nana!


Gluten is a protein in many grains, such as wheat, barley, and rye. 

It acts like glue, therefore giving bread and pie dough a chewy and elastic feel and texture.

The proteins found in these grains naturally occur and help plants store nutrients. 

Unfortunately, some people can be sensitive to gluten or suffer from symptoms of Celiac disease. 

This auto-immune disorder causes intense inflammation of the intestines

study revealed that beginning a gluten-free diet 10 years before menopause prolonged the fertile lifespan of women with Celiac disease. 

Stress, childbirth, and aging have a direct fluctuating effect on our hormones

In other words, as reproductive hormones decline from the 40s - 50s, women become more sensitive to gluten.


When making a gluten-free apple pie, you must find the best gluten-free mixture that handles and bakes like traditional flour.

Years ago, gluten free options were sparse. Subsequently, there are quite a few on the market today.

A traditional recipe typically calls for baking flour.

As an alternative, these gluten-free blends can work at a 1:1 ratio, as a result, there is no need for complicated math skills in the kitchen!

Brands that I use:

cup 4 cup gluten free flour

Cup 4 Cup

measure for measure gluten free flour

King Arthur

1 to 1 gluten free flour

Bob's Red Mill

namaste gluten free flour



Before you get nervous when you see the word "nut" (nuts are naturally gluten-free), the Tiger Nut is not a nut

It is a tuber, a small root vegetable from North Africa and the Mediterranean.

I stumbled upon this flour many years ago and have been baking with it ever since. 

It is naturally gluten-free and gives almost a nutty, slightly grainy texture to your gluten-free dough. 

In short, tiger nut flour is an easy swap-out for traditional flour and, in my opinion, makes the most delicious gluten-free apple pie crust ever!

Health Benefits of Tiger Nut Flour

There are some wonderful benefits of Tiger Nut flour. 

Here are some reasons for instance why you might want to add this to your baking pantry:

  • It is known as a superfood
  • Tiger Nut flour contains 1/10th the net carbs of whole wheat flour (great for Paleo and Keto baking)
  • It is high in insoluble dietary fiber (great for diabetics and improving bowel movements)
  • Tiger Nut is considered an alkaline food
Tiger Nut Flour Benefits


For me, baking a buttery crust means making it from scratch.

I like to make a little extra dough so the bottom crust and top crust are a little bit thicker.

However, if you want to skip this step and prefer to purchase a pre-made pie shell, for instance, here are some options, saving you on time.

Brands that I use:

Wholly Wholesome Gluten Free Pie Crust

Wholly Wholesome Gluten Free Pie Crust

Gillians Gluten Free Pie Crust

Gillians Gluten Free Pie Crust

Gluten Free Apple Pie Ingredient 

  1. Your chosen gluten free flour mixture ( I use 3 cups of Cup4Cup and 1 cup TigerNut flour)
  2. A pastry blender (I use a KitchenAid mixer at home but I made this pie at my mother's house so I used her Cuisinart stand mixer)
  3. I use 2 TB of beet sugar in my traditional apple pie recipe vs the common use of coconut sugar or brown sugar found in other gluten-free recipes (just because I like the earthy taste)
  4. 2 sticks of organic unsalted cold butter, but cut up into cubes
  5. 1/2 cup of organic buttermilk
  6. 1 large egg
  7. 2 TB of very cold water

How To combine The Apple Pie Ingredients

  • Place all of the dried ingredients into the bowl of the stand mixer. 
  • Attach the dough hook to the mixer and turn it on at medium speed.
  • Add the butter cubes to the dry mixture and let it mix until it reaches a crumbly consistency.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients and whisk them together.
  • Most importantly, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until it combines into a large ball.
  • Separate the ball into 2 halves and wrap them in parchment paper.
  • Afterwards, place the covered dough into the refrigerator for 30 min to 1 hour. 


If you've gone apple picking, grab your best apples, a large mixing bowl, and a mandolin slicer! After that, get peeling, slicing, and layering!

Certainly, the best apple pie calls for mixing sweet and tart apples; therefore adding some Honey Crips and Pink Ladies can round out the apple flavor.

Granny smith apples, for example, are the best type of tart apples to offset the pie's sweetness, making for the best results.

Gluten Free Apple Filling Ingredients 

  1. Firstly, you will need about 7-8 pounds of apples. Secondly, clean them, peel them and use the mandolin to make apple slices as thick or thin as you prefer.
  2. In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup of beet sugar and 2 TB of gluten-free flour.
  3. Together, combine 1/4 tsp of Himalayan sea salt, 1 tsp of organic ground cinnamon, and 2 tsp of organic vanilla extract 
  4. Squeeze in 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  5. Warm up 1/2 cup of apple cider or make your own apple cider
  6. Lastly, mix it all up! 


1. Cut up 3 apples and place them into a saucepan.

2. Cover the apples fully with water and most importantly, let the liquid come to a boil until the water gets thick.

3. Add in 1/4 cup of organic maple syrup

4. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of organic cinnamon powder

5. Mash the apples and liquid together

6. Turn off the flame and strain the apples through a strainer, using the liquid as your apple cider.

7. Store the mashed apples as apple sauce for future use.


  • First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Then, butter the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan and lightly dust it with gluten-free flour  
  • As soon as you roll out one of the dough balls,  using the rolling pin, press it into the pie pan.
  • Add in the pie filling mixture and pile it high and deep over the edges of the pie crust.
  • Roll out the second dough ball over the pie filling and after that, press the sides down and make them touch the bottom pie crust
  • Place a few pats of butter on top of the dough or use a pastry brush to spread an egg wash over the top to give it a glaze when it's done cooking.
  • Importantly, cut a few slivers into the top of the pie using a small knife to allow air to escape while it's cooking.
  • Before you put the pie in the oven, line a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper and place the pie dish on top (to help catch any spillover)
  • Bake the pie for 45 min - 1 hour on the center rack of your oven

Apple Pie A La Mode

Serving an apple pie warm a la mode with some vanilla ice cream cannot get any more traditional. It's downright YUMMY!

On the other hand, if dairy is something that you prefer to do without or you are going light on it because of tummy troubles, try a substitute that is just as delicious! 

Certainly, this doesn't have to be just a Thanksgiving dessert as long as you have apples on the shelves, this could become a household favorite!

Brands that I use:

Oatly Vanilla Dairy Free Ice Cream

Oatly Vanilla Dairy Free 

So Delicious Vanilla Ice Cream

So Delicious Vanilla 

So Delicious Coconut Whip Cream

So Delicious Coconut Cream

In Conclusion: MAKING Magic Happen

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Healthy Gluten Free Apple Pie Recipe

Gluten Free Apple Pie Recipe (Little Nana’s Way!)

  • Author: Dr. Bianca Beldini
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 8 slices 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


My little nana came from Poland in the early 1900s. She brought a love of baking and sold her “famous” apple pies to her neighbors for .75 cents near the farm where she raised her children. This is a healthy gluten-free apple pie recipe homage to my “little nana.”


Units Scale

Gluten-Free Pie Crust:

Gluten Free Paleo Apple Pie Crust

Gluten-Free Apple Pie Filling:

Gluten Free Paleo Apple Pie Filling

Homemade Apple Cider Liquid:

Homemade apple cider liquid



Gluten-Free Pie Crust: 

  1. Place all of the dried ingredients into the bowl of the stand mixer.
  2. Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer and turn it on at medium speed.
  3. Slowly add the butter cubes to the dry mixture and let it mix until it reaches a crumbly consistency.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients and whisk them together.
  5. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until it combines into a large ball.
  6. Separate the ball into 2 halves and wrap them in parchment paper.
  7. Place the covered dough into the refrigerator for 30 min to 1 hour.

Tiger Nut Flour Apple Pie Crust

Apple Pie Filling:

  1. Peel all of the apples and slice them with the mandolin about 1/4 inch thick or less, to your preference, into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix the sugar, flour, sea salt, cinnamon, and vanilla extract in a separate bowl.
  3. Combine the mixed dried ingredients in the bowl, covering the apple slices.
  4. Warm up the apple cider or apple juice and pour it over the apples and dried mix.

Gluten Free Paleo Apple Pie Filling

Homemade Apple Cider Mixture: 

If you do not have premade apple cider or apple juice, you can make quick homemade cider in a small pot on the stove.

  1. Core and slice up 2-3 apples in big chunks and place them into a pot on the stove.
  2. Add 1/4 cup of Maple syrup.
  3. Add 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon or 3 cinnamon sticks.
  4. Cover the mixture with water and bring the liquid to a boil.
  5. Turn off the flame until the liquid boils down to about 1 cup of liquid left.
  6. Strain the apples through a strainer and separate the liquid.
  7. Let the liquid come to room temperature and pour it over the sliced apples and dry mixture.


Baking Little Nana’s Pie:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Butter the bottom of the pie pan and lightly dust with the gluten-free flour.
  3. Roll out one of the dough balls and press it into the pie pan.
  4. Add in the pie filling mixture and pile it high and deep!
  5. Roll out the second dough ball over the pie filling and press the sides down
  6. Place a few pats of butter on top of the dough.
  7. Cut a few slivers into the top of the pie using a small knife.
  8. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place the pie dish on top (to help catch any spillover)
  9. Bake the pie for 45 min – 1 hour

Mom and Me Holding Little Nanas Apple Pie




The pie crust dough can be placed in the freezer for up to 3 days before using it.

In my opinion, Tigernut is the hidden gem of baking flour. It is not a NUT, so don’t be worried if you or a loved one has a nut allergy! This Mediterranean tuber has a slightly crunchy texture and is a bit nutty in taste.  In addition to its promotion of prebiotic growth and support of the GI tract, research reveals that it can help to lower blood glucose levels and improves insulin sensitivity.

The pie crust comes out tasting a bit like a softer shortbread cookie!

You might be wondering where are the nutmeg and allspice….by all means, go nutmeg crazy! My family and friends know my aversion to both of these tastes, so I just don’t add them to my recipes. I can hear them all laughing now…

  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: dessert, pie
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: gluten-free apple pie crust, paleo apple pie crust, tiger nut flour pie crust, healthy apple pie, gluten-free apple pie

Apple Pie Baking Pan

Apple Pie Pan


Mandolin Slicer


Gluten Free Apple Pie Recipe (Little Nana’s Way)

Gluten Free Little Nanas Apple Pie Recipe


October 24, 2022


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Dr. Bianca Beldini

I’m your Doctor of Physical Therapy, Acupuncturist, Master Dry Needler, and Triathlon and Running Coach. I’ve been in the health, wellness and fitness industry for over 25 years, and I’m here to help you reach your optimal health.