I remember the Christmas that the Pioneer Woman’s first cookbook came out. I loved it!  In fact the first time I looked through it I thought, “She wrote my book!”  I wanted to write that book. With the farm life photos of cows, horses, dogs, and kids…. And the beautiful food… So instead I embraced her book, gave it for gifts and cooked out of it. A lot. And gained at least 10 pounds maybe more… What was I thinking!!  

This holiday season I have a completely different perspective. I have embraced a new cookbook. And sugar and butter are NOT my friends to be added into every recipe with abandon. Spinach, kale, and flax have taken their place and my kids say…Please don’t tell me what you put in this smoothie… 😊

Here’s my new cookbook friend. 

This apple pie recipe does not come from this cookbook but stay tuned because others will. But the philosophy of less to little to no sugar is here along with less butter. Ok. This recipe wouldn’t actually make the cut for this book but…  It’s getting close… 

Sugar is not my friend. This pie is reduced sugar and has 6 fresh apples with cinnamon and lots of love!  My family loved it.

 I lowered the sugar and combined 2 different recipes to find this combination that I feel pretty good about. I will probably reduce a little more next time. But for now…

The filling has no added sugar. I use no sugar added apple juice concentrate for the filling. I use 1/3-1/2 c of brown sugar in the bottom of the skillet with 1/4 c of butter to get the crusty bottom. (which is half the sugar and half the butter of what the original recipe calls for)  I sprinkle about a tablespoon of sugar on the top crust. And that’s all the sugar it gets. What kind of ice cream you add is up to you!  

Here’s the recipe. 


6 tart green apples, cored and sliced

1 12 oz apple juice concentrate, no sugar added

3 T cornstarch

1 T cinnamon 


2 frozen crusts

1/4 c butter

1/3-1/2 c brown sugar

1T sugar



1. In a cast iron skillet, melt butter and brown sugar on top of stove till sugar is dissolved, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat. Put bottom crust on top of sugar and butter mixture. 

2.  Mix 1/3 of the Apple juice concentrate with cornstarch and cinnamon. Set aside. 

3.  Core, slice, and peel apples. Place in large sauce pan with rest of concentrate and bring to a simmer. Add cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil. Stir gently till mixture thickens. Remove from stove and pour in skillet on top of bottom crust. 

4.  Place top crust over the apple mixture. Brush with milk, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Cut 4 slits in top crust to vent the filling. 

5. Bake for 1 hour in pre heated 350 degree oven. (Put a pan under the skillet to catch overflow.)

Let me know if you try it!  Would love to hear how you modify to fit your family. 

Have a great day!