Apple Slab Pie
It’s almost game time, Thanksgiving will be here before you know it. This is my favorite holiday of the year by a long shot, which is probably not a surprise to anyone who knows me well. A food-focused day with friends and family, truthfully, I could Thanksgiving frequently. Last year I blogged about a favorite slightly less traditional dessert, a sweet potato tart, as well as a true Thanksgiving essential, homemade cranberry sauce. This year I’m going with another take on a classic American favorite: apple slab pie.
Made in a standard baking sheet, this–believe it or not–easy dessert, works great for groups. Another plus, the slab pie version creates the perfect balance of filling and crust, you get equal proportions of both. So, if you are in the planning stages for Thanksgiving and still trying to figure out what you can make for dessert that won’t take too long and you can prep ahead, this is the answer.
Never made a slab pie? No problem. Let’s break it down nice and simple. If you read my blog often, you will know that I’m a big believer in making your own pie dough. If you use a Cuisinart, it takes almost no time at all. You can make it in advance and refrigerate it or you can freeze it and it holds up well, I do that all the time. Prep work, especially on big holidays, can be done days (sometimes weeks) in advance, so get on it. For this recipe, I make my pie dough recipe times 4 to cover the sheet pan and give me plenty of dough for the decorative lattice top. But if you can’t make your own crust, buy it, no matter what, it will be ok. If you use pre-rolled crust rounds, you will need about 6 to cover this surface area. But note, that you will need to re-roll the dough into large rectangular shapes for this recipe, but I’ve tested that and it works just fine.
For the filling, delicious flavorful crispy apples work best. My go-to apples are Sugarbee or Honeycrisp, both of which have a great sweet-tart balance and is nice and crisp. The filling is not time-intensive and can also be made in advance. This can easily be made and refrigerated 3 days ahead without losing flavor.
The beauty of a slab pie is you’re going to cut it up into much smaller pieces, so appearance-wise, it does not need to look “pie-perfect” which is something that stresses people out about making pies. If you have made a lattice pie before, you got this: you are doing the same thing here, just with a rectangular shape. If you are new to this type of decorative top, don’t panic. Lay all the horizontal strips first keeping them as close together as possible. Next, start with the vertical strips, carefully weaving them in and out of the horizontal ones. The trick is adjusting them a bit as you go. Keeping the strips close together works best if you ask me.
The finished product should look something like this. If you master this, you will impress everyone. If you can’t deal with the lattice top, that is okay as well: skip it, and make one full sheet to cover the top. But remember to make some slits on top to allow the steam to escape. The bake time may vary a bit, but not much, just keep an eye on it in the oven. Nice fork-crimped edges all around will ensure a more uniform pie crust look.
Once baked, it is important to allow the slab pie to cool and set, this will make slicing it substantially easier and keep your lattice intact. Once cooled, the slab pie pieces can be cut (using a slicing knife) into almost any shape or size, from generous full slices shown here, to bite-size pieces that work well with buffet-style dessert tables.
If you are making this slab pie as your main dessert, make it beautiful. And by that I mean add a generous scoop of nice, creamy vanilla ice cream to each serving. (It’s the holiday, indulge a bit). Buy the good stuff, trust me, you are taking homemade “apple pie” to a whole new level with this slab version. So despite the holiday craziness, remember to break things down and prep ahead so you can enjoy it. The apple slab pie can be made a day before and reheated in a low oven, I’ve tried that as well and no one will ever know the difference. Happy (almost) Thanksgiving to any and all who celebrate.