Cinnamon Chayote Pie is one of our favorite desserts because it's the best year-round substitute for old-fashioned apple pie. The filling has layers of tender sliced chayote naturally sweetened with maple syrup, vanilla, and apple juice.
We've had friends and relatives chowing through this faux dessert who didn't even realize they weren't eating apple pie!
In fact, chayote squash, called choko in many regions, makes such a convincing substitute that there are rumors the MacDonald's restaurant chain in Australia used chokos in their hot apple pies.
Since chayote has about one-fourth of the carbohydrates of apple, this could be exciting news for low-carb dessert seekers. Alas for some however the MacDonald's rumor isn't true.
Parboil chayote briefly in plain water before making pie filling. Raw chayote fruit reacts with acidic foods including apple juice and toughens up if it isn't cooked before adding in these ingredients.
Why it works
- Best tasting faux apple pie
- No refined sugar
- Gluten-free filling with crust options
- Versatile filling makes pies, cobbler, crisp, turnovers, and dessert topping.
What is chayote?
Chayote, also called Mirliton squash, vegetable pear, and choko is the fruit of sechium edule, a member of the gourd family.
You can find out where choko comes from, how it grows, and the different ways it's eaten right here on the blog by checking out this link to the chayote plant.
It has such a pleasant, mild flavor that it can be eaten raw or cooked in everything from pickles and stir-fry to dessert.
When I first tackled this mock apple pie, I used sugar and bottled apple juice. To me, it seemed a reasonable way to sweeten and infuse chayote with apple flavor.
I found it worked. But as time went on, I started thinking there might be a way to intensify the apple flavor and, at the same time, use a healthier sweetener.
Thus, I switched to maple syrup and unsweetened frozen concentrated apple juice. It worked. It turned mock apple pie filling into a sweet indulgence without refined sugar. How awesome is that?
- Chayote - Select fresh-looking chayote with skin you can pierce with a fingernail.
- Apple juice - The secret to this recipe is using concentrated, unsweetened apple juice from the store's freezer section.
- Maple syrup - is a natural wholefood sweetener and gives the pie old-fashioned flavor.
- Cinnamon - Freshly ground from whole sticks if possible.
- Vanilla - To add sweetness and an irresistible bakery smell.
- Lemon zest - A must.
Chayote isn't hard to cook but has one characteristic that requires special handling. Raw chayote leaves a tacky feeling on your hands when you cut and peel it.
You may not find it a bother, but there is a simple solution if you don't want to have a sticky residue that needs scrubbing from your hands.
Place a large bowl on the counter filled with water. Wet your hands before handling chayote and let the quartered chunks soak in the water while you are peeling and chopping. Easy, peasy.
- Remove seeds, quarter chayote, and place in a bowl of water.
- Peel sections of chayote and slice into ⅛ inch thick pieces.
- Boil chayote in plain water for 5 minutes.
- Rinse parboiled chayote and drain well.
Once you've aced the tender bite of the mock apple slices, they are just firm enough to hold their own in the beautifully thickened cinnamon sauce.
- Cook cinnamon sauce.
- Mix chayote with sauce.
- Fill a pie shell.
- Add a top crust.
This scrumptious mock apple pie filling can be baked in any type of double-crust pie shell or you can bake it in a square pan for a mock apple crisp, cobbler, or crumble.
All those options can be gluten-free and it can be served without a crust as a dessert topping.
You might like to try our homemade pie crust or choose from the list below.
- Store-bought pie shells
- Gluten-free pie crust
- Streusel topping with a pastry bottom
- Cobbler without a bottom crust
- Crumble without a bottom crust
You can eat chayote pie warm with whipped cream or ice cream melting on top. Or you can enjoy its autumn-spice sweetness in a cold slice all on its own.
However you plate it, I think you will agree this scrumptious dessert is an incredible tropical-climate alternative to apple pie. Mahalo chayote!
- Wet hands and keep chayote in water while peeling and slicing.
- Slice chayote ⅛ inch thick.
- Boil chayote briefly so it's tender but not mushy.
- Cool parboiled chayote and cinnamon sauce before filling the unbaked pie shell.
- Bake pie with bottom crust on second from bottom rack of oven.
- Cover top of pie with foil when edges have browned and finish baking while covered.
- If making a cobbler or crumble without a bottom crust bake it on the middle rack
More pie and tart recipes
Cinnamon Chayote Pie
Note - Calories listed above do not include crust
Chayote Apple Pie Filling
- 6 cups peeled chayote sliced ⅛ inch thick, from about 4 chayote
- ½ cup thawed frozen apple juice concentrate
- ¾ cup maple syrup
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 2 TB cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 tsp. cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp. allspice
- ¼ tsp. salt
- Rinse whole chayote with water and wet hands liberally. Cut chayote in half and remove center seed. Cut chayote in half again lengthwise and put quartered chayote in a large bowl. Cover with water.
- Remove sections of quartered chayote, peel and and slice into ⅛ inch thick slices. As you go, keep hands wet. This will prevent sticky residue from accumulating on hands.
- Place sliced chayote in a deep sauce pan and fill with water to reach top of chayote. Bring to a boil and cook about 5 minutes, stirring halfway through. Let the chayote soften but remain firm enough to have a tender bite. Pour chayote in a colander and let drain.
- Pour chayote in a colander, rinse with cold water and let drain.
Cook cinnamon sauce
- Place apple juice, maple syrup, vanilla, cornstarch, lemon zest, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a sauce pan. Whisk well to dissolve cornstarch. Bring to a boil and cook one minute until cornstarch is no longer cloudy.
- Place drained chayote in a large bowl. Pour cinnamon sauce over and stir to mix.
- Let pie filling cool for 15 minutes while preheating oven. Turn oven on to 425 degrees and a place rack in the second-from-bottom position.
Fill and bake double crust pie
- Pour chayote apple pie filling into prepared bottom crust. Cover with top crust, or lattice strips and crimp edges.
- Bake pie 20 minutes until top crust is getting golden. Cover with foil and bake another 10-15 minutes, or until bottom crust is fully cooked.
- Remove pie from oven and cool on a rack.
If making a crumble or cobbler variation
- Center baking rack at middle of oven.
- Pour filling into a 9-inch square baking dish and top with crumble, cobbler biscuits or pastry as desired.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until filling bubbles and topping is golden and crisp.
- Pie can be stored at room temperature for two days. If if won't be consumed before then, store it in the refrigerator up to 5 days or in the freezer for 2 months. Tip: you can slice individual pieces before freezing for faster thaw time.
- Store-bought plain double crust
- Gluten-free double crust
- Struesel topping with pie crust bottom
- Cobbler without a bottom crust
- Crumble without a bottom crust