Comfort Food: Slab Apple Pie

Sometimes you just need a comfort food, know what I mean? Apple pie does it for me, and this one does it best because it’s so easy to pull together.

NanaBread’s Slab Apple Pie:
One batch of Kirsten’s ‘No Excuses’ Pie Dough (click for the recipe)
8 small or 6 large Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored & sliced thin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
1 egg + 1 tablespoon of water (egg wash)
sugar crystals (or Demerara sugar) for sprinkling on top

To start, mix up the pie dough as directed in the link above. Form the dough into a disc, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and pop it into the freezer to firm up. If this pie dough recipe rings a bell, it’s because it’s my all-time favorite go-to recipe. Kirsten’s pie dough is as billed – no excuses. If you have a food processor and five minutes, you can make amazing homemade pie dough. Thanks, Kirsten!

While the dough is chilling, peel, core and slice the apples and place them in a large non-stick skillet. Add the lemon juice and unsalted butter; cook over medium-high heat until the apples start to brown slightly and the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the applesauce, brown sugar and spices and continue to cook until the mixture is bubbly and the sugar begins to caramelize. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the apples to cool to room temperature.

Once the apple mixture has cooled, remove the pie dough from the freezer. Generously flour your work surface and rolling-pin. Divide the dough (2/3 for the base; 1/3 for the strips on top). Roll the larger portion into a rectangle (the size depends on your baking sheet). I like to place mine on a silicone baking mat to prevent it from sticking and to help the bottom brown more evenly.

Spread the apple mixture evenly across the bottom crust, to within 1 1/2″ of the edge. Roll the remaining dough into a rectangle. If you’re in a hurry, simply place the second rectangle over the apple mixture and cut a few steam vents in the top, then skip to the section below about finishing the edges.

If you really want to get frisky, go for broke and impress your friend and family with a pretty lattice top. You can do it! Cut the second rectangle into 1/3″ to 1/2″ strips – I like to use a yardstick and a pizza cutter to cut even strips. I know, I know… it’s just that I’m all about perfect strips. If you’re not, just eyeball it. If your strips are uneven, you call this Rustic Slab Apple Pie. {wink}

Lay one layer of strips in one direction, about an 1/2″ apart. Fold every other strip back about 2″ and lay your first horizontal strip, then return the folded strips back to their original position. Then switch and do every other vertical line until you’ve worked all the way across the pie.

If you’re starting to panic just reading this, remember you can use the second rectangle as a solid top to your slab pie. Just be sure to cut a dozen or so small steam vents into the top before baking. I’m all about giving you options. Once your top crust is on, trim off the excess so that the edges are aligned, then roll the edges inward until they are touching the edge of the apple pie filling.

To help create perfectly square corners, fold each corner in before you roll the edges. That’s an old sewing trick. Thanks for teaching me to sew, Mom!

You can stop here and have plain edges, and it will look perfectly fine.

Or you can go for broke and flute the edge. You know what they say… “go big or stay home.” Not one to shy away from a fancy-pants pie, I fluted mine. Have a few extra tablespoons of flour nearby; you’ll need it to keep your fingers from sticking to the dough while you crimp those edges.

Once you’re satisfied with your crimped up primped up pie, pop it back in the freezer for at least one hour. Why? Two reasons – 1. it will help create a flakier crust if the butter is frozen when the pie goes into the hot oven, and 2. when you brush the pie with an egg wash before baking, it will prevent the brush from damaging the dough like it would at room temperature.

Once your slab pie is properly frozen, remove it from the freezer and pre-heat your oven to 375F. Whisk one egg with one tablespoon of water to make an egg wash, and brush the entire pie with it making sure to coat all of the exposed pie dough. Then sprinkle with crystallized sugar or Demerara (sugar in the raw).

Bake at 375F for 30 minutes, rotating the pie once after 15 minutes, or until the pie turns a light golden brown all over. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at least 10-15 minutes before serving. That’s the hardest part of this recipe.

I like mine with homemade whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but you can do whatever floats your boat. Want a slice of cheddar on top? Go for it! Looking for an excuse to by a pint of Dulce de Leche Caramel ice cream? Do it! Whatever makes you happy. And that’s what this slab apple pie is all about – making you happy. Isn’t that the goal of all our favorite comfort foods?

Note from NanaBread: this slab pie can be made with almost any thick filling. If you love canned fruit pie filling, just spoon it on and go from there. Or go fresh and try it with an apple/cranberry combo or fresh sliced plums; yum. Go nuts! And if you do, let me know what worked for you. Enjoy!

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29 Comments

Filed under Food & Recipes

29 responses to “Comfort Food: Slab Apple Pie

  1. Looks like a slice of heaven! Will have to try it out when I get back home!

    • I never think of you as being at home, Anita. I always picture you on the road somewhere, which is why you’re one of my favorite world travelers. I hope you’ll get a chance to try the pie this fall. Speaking of travel… Quebec City is next on my Canadian travel bucket list and that photo on your last post sealed the deal. I need to get there, and soon.

  2. Mmmmm…I love apple pie. Especially with ice cream.

    • I know, right? There’s just something about an apple pie. The whipped cream with a sprinkle of cinnamon was awesome, but since I typed the words “Dulce de Leche ice cream” I can’t stop thinking about it. I think there’s a grocery store run in my very near future.

  3. I like your take on an apple pie – probably feeds a few more people too – thanks so much for sharing! Have a Great One:)

    • It does stretch farther if you’re feeding a crowd, and it’s perfect for picnics as well, since it can be sliced and served up on a napkin. For families with kids, it’s sturdy enough you could pop a slice into a plastic baggie and slip it into a lunchbox, too.

  4. Nanabread, can you let me know if any houses come up for sale on your street? I feel like I need to be closer to you…and that apple pie…

    • Hahaha… actually Sarah, there IS a house for sale across the street from me. You’ll have to act fast, though. I’ve pitched that deal to all my favorite bloggers. First one to move in gets a homemade dinner and a pie!

  5. That apple filling looks wonderful and this is the prettiest slab apple pie I’ve ever seen!

    • Thanks, Paula! The apple pie filling is pretty tasty. There’s just enough brown sugar to sweeten it a bit, but not enough to mask that little tart bite of the Granny Smiths. For one brief, shining moment, my life has balance. :)

  6. Gosh, this looks so yummy! =D

  7. Love this slab pie, you get the perfect apple to crust ratio!

  8. Leave it to you to make a slab pie gorgeous! The corner tip is brilliant. Quick question: since it’s a thin pie, that means I can have two slices without any guilt, right? Although that filling of yours could be attacked directly with a spoon. Looks super delish! I’ve got a pile o’ apples and an itch for pie, so I’m on it. Pronto.

    • Technically speaking, you’d have to stack 3 pieces to get the same height as a standard piece of apple pie. So go for it! My next one will be apple with dried cranberries. Wish I’d thought to throw some in when I made this one. Oooo… rum-soaked raisins would have been good, too. Can’t wait to see what you do with it!

      • Rum. Soaked. Raisins. You is a genius, Wyle E. A genius! (insert finger strumming and maniacal laughter here) Wheels are turning…

        I love dried cranberries in an apple pie. Try adding a little orange zest, too. Mmmmm…

  9. mmmmm, I can almost smell that filling from here.

  10. Holy YUM!!! First, this looks insanely good. Second, will you come teach me how to bake? I am terrified of yeast and flour things. I need you to show me to the light!

    • I’m happy to help you learn how to bake pies, quick breads, etc., but if your looking for sandwich bread, English muffins, and the like I have to defer to Megan and Kirsten. Yeast & I don’t seem to get along. I’m working on it. Maybe we could teach sessions. Pie and quick breads here, English muffins & sourdough at Megan’s, cupcakes & cakes & cinnamon rolls at Kirsten’s, etc. Like a progressive dinner, but lasting a weekend each and involving a lot of road tripping. I’m in!

  11. So gorgeous! I give anyone who can put the effort into making pretty desserts a lot of credit!

    • Thanks, Rachel. I was lucky enough to grow up with a mother who taught us all kinds of great tips in the kitchen. She deserves the credit; I just follow directions well. :)

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