Apple Slab PiePosted: December 6, 2013
When I was about middle-school age, demanding and hard-to-please as any other 13-year-old girl, my great-grandma used to make me pie crust cookies every time she made a pie. Extra dough, cut up into squares, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and baked until just the tiniest bit golden, Granny’s pie crust cookies were perfection. That 95-year-old lady sure knew how to make my bratty pre-teen self happy.
Why did I like those pie crust cookies so much? I’m definitely a crust person. Save the pie crust, cheesecake crust for last. It’s the best part. I call dibs on the corner brownies. That snake-looking brownie pan in SkyMall that makes ALL the brownies edge brownies? Dream come true. I guess it runs in the family because my grandpa (Granny’s son) was also a crust and edge brownie person. It really is the best part. And this pie totally has the crust to filling ratio nailed. It’s better than a regular circular two-crust pie. Those have way too much filling. This pie has a thinner layer of apple filling, just enough to add the sweetness a pie needs, but let the crust be the star. And star it is, my friends. The crust of this pie is glorious. Buttery, flaky, and perfect. Just like pie crust cookies.
First step is the dough. We’ll bring flour, a little sugar and salt, cold butter, and cold water together into a big shaggy mess of a ball. Really cold butter and water is important – that’s what makes the crust flaky! Then it’ll sit in the fridge for a while. We don’t want the butter to get soft, because no tiny pieces of butter means no flakes.
Then we’ll peel a whole bunch of apples. I used 4 granny smith, 3 pink lady, and 2 golden delicious.
Apples get mixed with some cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and a little lemon juice.
Now, we roll out the crust. This is the trickiest part. You want to work fast so the butter doesn’t get soft, and use a little more flour than you think you need to keep it from sticking to the counter. (The bottom crust of my pie totally ripped when I was transferring it to the pan…but no on can tell!)
Top crust goes on, crimp the edges, cut some vents, brush with an egg wash. And just look at how beautiful this behemoth of a pie is.
Apple Slab Pie
From Smitten Kitchen – I think hers is the best pie crust ever
Serves 15+, depending on how you cut it. I was going for 18 but messed up on the cutting, and if you cut it into 15 the pieces are pretty big. But definitely manageable 🙂
For the Crust:
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons table salt
3 sticks unsalted butter, very cold, cubed
3/4 cup very cold water
For the Filling:
3 1/2-4 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into about 1/2-inch chunks (about 8 cups)
Squeeze of lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar (or 3/4 cup if you want it sweeter)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons heavy cream or one egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk, lemon juice, apple cider, maple syrup (you’ll need more than a tablespoon for syrup) or other preferred liquid (would have used bourbon if I hadn’t brought it to work), plus a little more if needed
Make the pie crust:
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter using a pastry blender, two forks, or your hands until the biggest pieces are the size of small peas. Stir the water in gently with a rubber spatula, mixing until a craggy mass forms. Knead the dough a few times with your hand to form a ball.
Divide the dough in half (it’s ok – possibly better – if one piece is slightly larger than the other). Flatten each half into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to two days. You can also freeze the wrapped dough in a freezer bag for a couple months. Leave it in the fridge for a day to defrost.
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 10x15x1-inch cookie sheet or jellyroll pan with parchment paper.
Prepare the filling:
In a large bowl, toss the apples with lemon juice until coated. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir until evenly coated.
Assemble the pie:
On a floured surface, roll one of the dough halves (the bigger one if they weren’t quite even) into an 18×13-inch rectangle. It will be kind of hard, but do your best to work quickly, keep the dough as cold as possible, and use enough flour so that it doesn’t stick to the counter. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. It will overhang a bit, use this to fill in the corners and edges of the pan. Some should still hang over the sides of the pan, trim the overhang to 3/4 inch.
Pour the apple mixture in the pan and spread evenly.
Roll the other half of the dough (the smaller one) into a 16×11-inch rectangle. Drape it over the filling and fold the overhang of the bottom crust over the edges of the top crust, sealing them together. Cut slits all over the top crust to act as vents. Brush with cream or egg wash. Bake 40-45 minutes, until crust is golden and filling is bubbling. Cool on a wire rack until just warm to the touch, about 45 minutes.
In a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar and liquid until thin enough to pour. Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the pie. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Pie will keep at room temperature for 3 days.