Look! I made the world's largest Toaster Strudel!
I'm kidding, of course, but doesn't it look like one? You remember those from our childhood, right? They were a special treat at my house. My husband had the nerve to ask me if I opened a squeeze packet of frosting to top this ginormous treat. No, sir, I did not--this happens to be an apple slab pie with an easy as a squeeze packet homemade glaze. If you are in charge of pie making for Thanksgiving, you are going to love me for this post--especially if you, like me, think pumpkin pie is the grossest thing ever. This one slab pie is really the equivalent of two pies in that you can easily serve 15 people (she says up to 18, actually). Two pies for the work of one doesn't sound bad now does it? The awesome part for me is that this pie is high crust to low filling ratio. It also sets up so perfectly that you really can eat it with your hands. In fact, I did cut a couple rows of this delicious treat into small "bars" and took them as dessert with a meal I made for a friend with a new baby labeled "apple pie bars". Don't be scared of the crust, it really does roll out beautifully. And if it doesn't, remember that you can always "patch" it with a little ice water to serve as glue. Homemade pie crust is always worth the effort.
Apple Slab Pie
- 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
- 3 sticks (yes, really! Remember you are making a very big pie) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
- 3/4 cup ice water
- 2 Tablespoons of heavy cream or or one egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water (to brush on crust before baking)
- 3 1/2 to 4 pounds apples of your choice, peeled, cored and chopped into approximately 1/2-inch chunks (about 8 cups)
- Squeeze of lemon juice (from a real lemon, please)
- 2/3 cup sugar (a bit more if you like really sweet pies. I do not.)
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk, water, or lemon juice, plus a drop or two more if -needed
To start, make your pie crust: Whisk together flour, sugar and salt in the bottom of a large bowl. Using a pastry blender, two forks, or your fingertips, work the butter into the flour until the biggest pieces of butter are the size of tiny peas. Gently stir in the water with a rubber spatula, mixing it until a 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. You can also put the plastic-wrapped dough into a freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 to 2 months. To defrost, leave in fridge for 1 day.
*Some notes here--I made my crust in the morning and then assembled the pie in the evening. I was really nervous about this crust, because it is the first time I have EVER strayed from my grandmother's crust recipe (I always insert it into whatever the pie recipe I am trying calls for). But, given that this was a large pie (and she says 1 1/2 times the recipe of her normal crust), I was just too tired to do the math and my kids were total demons as I was trying to do this, so I just followed her instructions as written and knew my grandma would understand.
Heat oven oven to 375 degrees F. Line bottom of 10x15x1-inch baking sheet or jellyroll pan with parchment paper. I did line my pan with parchment, but I don't know if it is really necessary as long as you spray or grease it well. I probably won't do it next time, because it is a pain to line just the bottom of a pain, in my humble opinion.
Prepare filling: In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice until coated. Top with remaining filling ingredients and stir to evenly coat.
*I also made this filling up when I made the crust, stuck it in the fridge, and called it good. The apples are going to bake up anyway so it doesn't matter if they get brown. This really made the assembly a snap and I would do it again. I did need to drain some of the juices off before filling.
Assemble pie: On a lightly floured surface, roll one of your dough halves into an 18-by-13-inch rectangle (no, I didn't measure, but in case you have issues with NOT measuring, I included her detailed instruction). Try to work quickly so that the dough stays cold (it will stick less like this). 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 if you want. I personally never get my dough rolled out so beautifully and I am always cutting/patching or pushing the edges in a bit with my hands. Remember that crust can be ugly going into the oven, but it will be beautiful when it comes out! Pour apple mixture over and spread evenly.
Roll the second of your dough halves into a 16-by-11-inch rectangle (or don't measure. Seriously.). Drape over filling and fold the bottom crust’s overhang over the edges sealing them together. You can crimp/pinch the edges to make them pretty if you wish. 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 powdered 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.
It keeps at room temperature for at least three days. I stuck it in my fridge after a day and then ate off it for an additional 3 days without issue. I really loved this pie without ice cream (which shocked me), but it is of course great with ice cream.
Now, while I do like the glaze atop this little treat (and the throwback to the Toaster Strudel), I really missed the sugar coating that I always put on top of a pie--this didn't have that crunch that I am accustomed to. So, next time I'll brush with cream or milk and sprinkle the top with a couple tablespoons of sugar. That's just what I like. Happy baking!