Apple Slab Pie
One of the things we love about Thanksgiving dinner is that everyone gets invited. The mix of family, friends, and SoCal transplants grows with each new year, and we are always happy to add another chair, another leaf, and a few more place settings to the table. More people does necessitate more food, specifically pie (if your priorities are in order). That’s where this gonzo slab pie comes in: it’s the equivalent of three traditional pies.
Of course, it’s more than just big. We’ve added chewy, sweet-tart dried cranberries, a generous shot of dark rum, and freshly grated ginger to the filling. The result is a pie with character — earthy, warming, and full of earnest spice.
A note about the crust: It may well be the best we’ve ever had. In the test kitchen, we baked off the extra dough leaves we’d made to top the pie, and set them on the counter for people to nibble. They disappeared in minutes. And before the pie had even cooled enough to cut, we’d given out the recipe to a handful of people. That’s some crust, and the pie itself received raves too.
Tip: If this year’s Thanksgiving finds your table less crowded than usual, or if you are one of many pie-makers, you can make just one-third of this recipe and bake it in a standard 9-inch pie tin.
Servings: 18 to 24
For the crust:
3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
3 sticks plus 6 Tbsp European-style butter, chilled and cut into ½-inch pieces
6 to 8 Tbsp ice water, more as needed
For the filling:
10 medium apples, peeled, cored, and sliced ¼-inch thick
1 ½ cups light brown sugar, packed
¾ cup maple syrup
1 cup dried cranberries
6 Tbsp arrowroot starch
3 Tbsp dark rum
1 ½ tsp lemon zest, finely grated
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
2 ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp whole nutmeg, grated
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, diced small
1 large Gelson's Pasture Raised Egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp heavy cream
1 ½ Tbsp granulated sugar
Special equipment: baking dish measuring 9 x 13 inches, decorative cookie cutters, cast-iron apple peeler (optional)
To make the crust: in a food processor, briefly pulse together the flour and salt.
Add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms chickpea-size pieces.
Add the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the mixture is just moist enough to hold together.
Form the dough into two balls, one about 2/3 of the dough and the other the remaining ⅓ of the dough. Flatten the dough balls into discs, wrap each with plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
Lightly flour a work surface and remove the plastic wrap from the larger dough ball. (Leave the smaller dough ball in the fridge.)
Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough ball into a rectangle measuring 12 x 16 inches, dusting with flour if the dough sticks.
Transfer the rolled-out dough to a baking dish measuring 9 x 13 inches. Carefully line the pan with dough, pressing it into the bottom of the pan and completely up the sides. Crimp the top edges. Chill the dough in fridge until you’re ready to fill it.
Roll out the remaining dough ball to a rectangle measuring 10 x 13 inches, dusting with flour if the dough is sticking.
Using a decorative cookie cutter (like apples, leaves, or hearts), cut out the dough shapes. Reroll the scraps, if necessary, to use up as much dough as possible. Transfer the cutouts to a small baking sheet. Place the sheet in the refrigerator to chill.
To make the pie: Preheat the oven to 425º. Arrange a wire rack in the lowest position in the oven. Place a large, rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven to warm.
In a large bowl, combine the apples, brown sugar, maple syrup, dried cranberries, arrowroot starch, dark rum, lemon zest and juice, ginger, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes.
Pour the apple filling into the bottom pie crust and dot with the butter.
Arrange the dough cutouts on top of the apple mixture, overlapping them slightly and making sure several cutout edges touch the sides of the baking dish.
Whisk together the egg and cream, and brush the mixture over the dough cutouts. Sprinkle the top with the granulated sugar.
Place the baking dish on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 375º and continue baking until the crust is golden brown and the juices are thick and bubbling, 40 to 60 minutes. Loosely tent the top of the pie with foil if the crust browns before the filling is ready.
Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.
Recipe source: New York Times Cooking