A little slice of heaven in Katz Gluten-Free Apple Pie

Katz Gluten-Free Apple Pie (Personal Size)
Katz Gluten-Free Apple Pie (Personal Size)

Product: Katz Gluten-Free Apple Pie (Personal Size – 6 inches) – $7.49

Do you know how long it has been since I’ve had apple pie?  Seriously?!

Actually, up until this past summer when I was visiting my family in Minneapolis, Minnesota, it had been…years since I last had an actual slice of pie.  I’ve never been big on pie.  It’s like my cake…I prefer it sans frosting.  Weird, I know.  But that’s just me.  So, pie had sort of slipped off my radar up until…my cousin’s husband did a gluten-free version of his family’s famous strawberry pie.  I never ate so much pie in my life.  It was amazing.  And he was kind enough to share the recipe with me, so I made it once as well.  And so…my long absent admiration of pie finally returned.

But, after I made the strawberry pie for an office luncheon (made it vegan in addition to gluten-free), I just didn’t have the drive to attempt another pie.  A different pie.  A classic pie, perhaps.  Like cherry or apple or something.  A lot of it is…making pie crust can be tricky.  Especially that top layer.  And using a gluten-free flour can be…well…it can be an absolute mess if you don’t use it appropriately.  Even the pre-mixed gluten-free all-purpose blends work well in some things better than others.  And a pie is a huge time commitment…so I never could quite commit to trying to bake one up for myself.

But, one day my roomie went ahead and placed an order with Katz Gluten-Free.  I wasn’t allowed to look at the receipt that came through my e-mail.  I was to wait and see what turned up in the box.  Let me tell you, it was like Christmas when the order arrived at the office that day.  One of the products inside:

Katz Gluten-Free Apple Pie.

Katz Gluten-Free Apple Pie (thawed)
Katz Gluten-Free Apple Pie (thawed)


Well, as usual, I have more than enough desserts/sweets in my pantry and freezer to go around, and other items had to be used up first.  So, it wasn’t until yesterday that I finally got around to pulling the pie out of the freezer.  I allowed it to thaw on the counter for a bit, before putting it into the refrigerator while I was at work.

That evening was a busy, busy, busy one.  Not only, after working all day, did I have leftovers to reheat, gluten-free bread to toast, and a salad to throw together, but we were trying to hustle out the door to drive into Louisville to see the Dave Matthews Band in concert as well.  At least the main part of the dinner (Scalloped Russet Potato and Yam Gratin with Fresh Herbs, in case you were wondering) was just a simple reheat and salads don’t take too long to throw together when all is said and done.  With the bread toasted in the oven, I got dinner together and we chowed down.

And I knew…despite being in a hurry, that dessert was necessary.

After we polished off our plates, I got up and gave my usual question:  “Dessert?”

“Yes ma’am!” came her response.

And so, into the fridge I went and pulled out the Katz Gluten-Free Apple Pie that was just sort of chilling in there.  I turned it over before tearing it open to check serving size and nutrition information.  And with that in mind, and some So Delicious Creamy Vanilla Soy Milk Ice Cream lingering in my freezer door, I made a decision to make up some Gluten-Free Apple Pie À La Mode.  And the star of the show was going to be a slice of Katz Gluten-Free Apple Pie.

Since normally 1/4 of the 6 inch pie is the serving size, totaling up to 230 calories and 12 grams of fat, I decided to make each already tiny slice into two even tinier slices of pie.  That way I would half the calories and fat…and the pie would last longer.  But…I am not kidding when I say these slices are teeny-tiny.  They were already small when cut into fourths, imagine in eighths.  The things we do accommodate the addition of ice cream.

Three-bite slice of pie…why not?

A slice of Katz Gluten-Free Apple Pie (1/4 of pie serving size)
A slice of Katz Gluten-Free Apple Pie (1/4 of pie serving size)

Aside from the tiny serving size…this pie is actually quite good.  As I stated before, I’ve never been someone who would actively order pie.  But if my mom made it for the holidays, you bet I was having a slice (except if it was pumpkin pie…never been a fan!).  So, after slicing the pie into quarters, I halved each one and removed the tiny sliver of pie, placing it on a plate and giving it a quick zap in the microwave to warm it.  Then, once it was removed, I scooped up a small bit of ice cream (small pie = small ice cream scoop) to have with it.  Viola.  Gluten-free (and dairy free) Apple Pie À La Mode.

So, how did it taste?

Well…it warmed up to perfection.  The inside was soft and hot, the apples sizzling with the heat as though it was fresh from the oven.  And the crust was flaky and toasty and just amazing.  And, take my word for it…this pie pairs very well with ice cream (or dairy-free ice cream like what I used).  Honestly.  While the dessert was a simple couple of bites and then gone, it is still very satisfying.  The pie honestly reheats without falling into a mushy mess.  The crust is the true star of the show.  Sure, it’s not crispy like it would be fresh out of the oven, but it has that buttery, flaky texture to it that I remember from my mom’s homemade pies.

I have attempted to get some local grocery stores to carry some of Katz Gluten-Free Products.  One said that they carry a couple of things by the company, but can’t carry the pies because they contain high fructose corn syrup.  Now, I have been over the label and ingredients countless times and I haven’t found mention of high fructose corn syrup anywhere.  I refuse to buy anything with high fructose corn syrup in it and do my best not to consume anything that might contain it.  Whether this is old information or I’m missing a code word on the label, I don’t know.  Perhaps it is something I should talk to the company about to make sure.

In the end, however, my seemingly high fructose corn syrup -free gluten-free apple pie from Katz was a total win with both myself and my roommate.  Even though the slices are itty-bitty (if you are working within certain calories for the day), they really end up being just enough to satisfy the need for something sweet at the end of a meal.  If calories and fat aren’t something you care to watch…dig on in and have a quarter slice or even half the pie.  Trust me…these are small pieces.

If you feel like you’ve been missing out on pie…go ahead and place an order with Katz Gluten-Free.  I am absolutely in love with this apple pie and a friend of mine has raved about the blueberry pie…so I think I might have to look into trying that one in the near future.

Oh…and trust me…dish out some ice cream with this.  It’s a divine treat all around.

Nailed it again, Katz.  Nailed it again!

A slice of Katz Gluten-Free Apple Pie (1/8 of pie served with a scoop of So Delicious Creamy Vanilla Non-Dairy Ice Cream)
A slice of Katz Gluten-Free Apple Pie (1/8 of pie served with a scoop of So Delicious Creamy Vanilla Non-Dairy Ice Cream)

A banana split of Titanic proportions at Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt in Fishers, Indiana

Handel's Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt, Fishers, Indiana
Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt, Fishers, Indiana

Restaurant: Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt, Fishers, Indiana

It was at long last that I finally made it to Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt.  After hearing all about it from my friend Andy, who loves their banana split, and attempting to have it over Labor Day weekend, only to find the shop closed for the holiday…I was elated to find them open for business (which they are…year round) on Saturday while I was in the Indianapolis area for a Gluten-Free Expo.

I had just shared a gluten-free pizza with my roommate so I wasn’t exactly sure of what we might be getting when we pulled up to the little corner shop in Fishers.  You don’t eat inside, mind you.  There is no dining room and no tables scattered about the place.  The people that were there were taking their treats to their car to enjoy.

But, we had decided to try this banana split that Andy raved about.  I mean, it was coming with such high regard and a full endorsement from an Ironman athlete himself.  Why not?  We’d find that hatch in our stomachs, open it, and make some room.  We stepped up to the window and the young man behind the sliding glass awaited our order.  We were easy…banana split.  Traditional.  That meant we took off the dowsing of crushed red maraschino cherries that usually is slathered over the chocolate ice cream and replaced it with hot fudge.  That’s how I like it.  Traditional.

With the order in…my roommate and I stepped aside and began to watch the construction of our banana split through the window.  In a clear plastic tub (no kidding!), we watched as mounds…huge heaping mounds of strawberry ice cream, chocolate ice cream, and vanilla ice cream were piled high in the container.  We both looked at each other.  HOLY CRAP!  That was going to be a lot of ice cream and this banana split was going to be…huge.  No dinner for us tonight.  Whew.  Once the ice cream was scooped out in three massive piles, the next step was the toppings.  There was a brief food porn intermission though while our server took a moment to rip into a banana and slice it up into rounds.  Then…they brought on the toppings.  Pineapple was poured over the mountain of vanilla ice cream.  Strawberries went over the strawberry ice cream.  And, per our request, hot fudge drenched our chocolate ice cream.  Atop of that went a mixture of chopped nuts.  The the bananas were scattered throughout the sundae…everywhere they would fit.  Finally, an avalanche of whipped cream was squirted on top.  No cherry for us as we requested they be left off the chocolate ice cream.  And so…it was handed over to us.

The Handel’s Banana Split ($5.75) is truly a work of art…of Titanic proportions.  I don’t even know how we managed to find room for all of this…but we found a bench nearby in front of a shop at the strip where Handel’s is located (NO ice cream in my car…ever!) and dug in.

O.M.G.  So good.  I started with the strawberry, as strawberry ice cream is one of my favorite things in the world.  It was really good, but I found the strawberry topping to almost overwhelm the ice cream itself.  It was so sugary-sweet and a bit too much.  My roommate agreed and we both pretty much scraped off the topping to enjoy the strawberry ice cream below it.  The vanilla was a simple vanilla.  Nothing outstanding or to make it really stand out from other vanilla ice cream that I have enjoyed.  Again, the pineapple topping was far too sweet and we sort of worked it off and enjoyed the ice cream beneath it.  The chocolate ice cream was decadent, delicious, and coated in amazing hot fudge.  I’m so glad we went with hot fudge because I am afraid if we left the cherries on…we’d be scraping those off too.  But the hot fudge was out-of-this-world good and it made a perfect banana split topping for the chocolate ice cream.  I’m not a whipped cream girl, so my roommate ate much of that.  While the ice cream was good…the real stand out in the banana split was…the mixed nuts.  No kidding.  They were crunchy, not salty, and just amazing.  We raved about them and would seek out bites with the nuts included.  So delicious.  And the other thing about Handel’s Banana Split is that I love it when places chop up the banana. It’s unconventional, I know, but it makes eating the sundae that much easier.  So…that was awesome too.

Now that I look at the Handel’s Web site, I realize that this is actually a small chain, with stores scattered throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Virginia, California and Florida.  The Handel’s dynasty has actually been around since 1945, where they make their ice creams and yogurts fresh on the premises every day.  The products, equipment, methods, and recipes are exclusively Handel’s…so you won’t have anything like it anywhere else.  They operate on the philosophy of using the best ingredients available…and always in abundance.  If you saw the size of the banana split…you would see that they aren’t kidding.  They don’t skimp on portions, toppings, or flavor.  You definitely get what you pay for!

I admire a company that has been around and scooping since 1945.  I was kind of sad to see it was a bit of a chain, despite being relatively local and small.  I have this love of independently owned ice cream shops…where you only get that kind of ice cream there.  Now I know that if I really want Handel’s Ice Cream while in Columbus, Ohio…I can get it.  Of course, in Columbus I stick to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream.

So, while Handel’s did deliver a colossal banana split to my roommate and I…which we powered through and then promptly declared ourselves at max capacity for the day,  it wasn’t the best one I have ever eaten.  It definitely had it’s moments.  The rich chocolate ice cream, the hot fudge, and the nuts being the stars of this banana boat show.  But next time I’m in the area, I might seek out one of the locally owned, independent ice cream shops and give that a try.  Handel’s was a solid, delicious stop.  The toppings were really sweet and too much, but the flavors were awesome. And we definitely devoured the banana split down to the very last bite…which was the strawberry ice cream for me and the chocolate for my roommate.  It was good…but I have definitely had better.

If you are craving ice cream that is made fresh every day, packed with flavor, and comes in epic proportion sizes…check out Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt.  They are definitely worth a stop, a look, and a taste.  Spoonful-for-spoonful…the ice cream was really good…and very filling.  So bring a friend to help you get through it all.

Handel's Banana Split
Handel’s Banana Split