This pie was concocted during what we will call “The Great Apple Pie Test Session” by Lulu. She was determined to find an apple pie recipe worth making again and again. The best part about this “session” was:
1. All I did was taste test
2. She tried completely different pie recipes, so different you can barely compare them. (Apple Tart Tatin and Slab Pies are from 2 completely different families, I am quite sure the french would not be caught dead using the word slab, it’s probably not even in their dictionary).
I am most definitely NOT french and we can talk about “slabs” and eat them together all you want! And, as I will make sure to repeatedly tell you, give me a dessert in the form of a bar (I mean slab) anytime over a “slice.” I’m an on-the-go girl, and need to have as many bites of my dessert before I make it to the couch. I mean, the treadmill…
During this grand experiment, my mom discovered what may be the secret to pie crust: part butter, part shortening. We barely adapted Smitten Kitchen’s Slab pie recipe, and all we changed was the crust having both butter and lard (crisco, shortening, whatever).
Everyone says they have “the best” pie crust recipe, I’m not going to make any claims here – it’s really a debate I’d rather not dip my toe into – but I will tell you, this apple pie was a winner. Lulu wins again. In the years to come I hope to get a little more comfortable with pie making, luckily I always have a good teacher that’s just a phone call away!
Apple Slab Pie
adapted (barely) from Smitten Kitchen
makes 12-18 “squares” depending on how you cut it
For the Crust:
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, very cold
1/2 cup crisco (shortening, lard, you know, the hardcore stuff)
3/4 cup very cold water
For the Filling:
3 1/2 to 4 pounds apples, peeled, cored and chopped into approximately 1/2-inch chunks (about 8 cups)
Squeeze of lemon juice
2/3 to 3/4 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you like your pies)
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 of water
Glaze: (optional, but in my opinion it definitely helps set it apart from other apple pies)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon milk, water, lemon juice or fresh apple cider, plus a drop or two more if needed
Make pie crust: Whisk together flour, sugar and salt in the bottom of a large, wide bowl. Using a pastry blender, two forks, or your fingertips, work the butter and crisco into the flour until the biggest pieces of butter are the size of tiny peas. (You’ll want to chop your butter into small bits first, and try to add the crisco in small bits too). Gently stir in the water with a rubber spatula, mixing it until a craggy mass forms. Get your hands in the bowl and knead it just two or three times to form a ball. Divide dough roughly in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and flatten a bit, like a disc. Chill in fridge for at least an hour or up to two days or slip plastic-wrapped dough into a freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 to 2 months. To defrost, leave in fridge for 1 day.
Heat oven oven to 375 degrees F. Line bottom of 10x15x1-inch baking sheet or jellyroll pan with parchment paper.
Prepare filling: In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice until coated. Top with remaining filling ingredients and stir to evenly coat.
Assemble pie: On a lightly floured surface, roll one of your dough halves (the larger one, if you have two different sizes) into an 18-by-13-inch rectangle. This can be kind of a pain because it is so large. Do your best to work quickly, keeping the dough as cold as possible and using enough flour that it doesn’t stick to the counter. Transfer to your prepared baking sheet and gently drape some of the overhang in so that the dough fills out the inner edges and corners. Some pastry will still hang over the sides of the pan; trim this to 3/4-inch.
Pour apple mixture over and spread evenly.
Roll the second of your dough halves into a 16-by-11-inch rectangle. Drape over filling and fold the bottom crust’s overhang over the edges sealing them together. Cut small slits to act as vents all over lid. Brush lid heavy cream or egg wash. Bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack until just warm to the touch, about 45 minutes.
In a medium bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and liquid of your choice until a pourable glaze consistency is reached. Use a spoon to drizzle over top. Serve slab pie in squares or rectangles, warm or at room temperature.
The pie will keep at room temperature for about 3 days.