Apple Slab Pie: Dessert for a Holiday Crowd

Monday, November 19, 2012

Last year I made Dutch Apple Mini Pies to feed our Thanksgiving crowd and they were delicious.  I think this year I will add my favorite Pumpkin Pie Bars onto the dessert menu as well because everyone loves some good finger food.   But we are going to have an even bigger crowd this year, so I am going to need a lot of pie!

This Apple Slab Pie is perfect for feeding a crowd while still getting to enjoy the pleasure of a home baked Apple Pie.  Made on a large baking sheet, this pie goes a long way!  It's definitely going to save me a lot of time in the kitchen.


I always prefer a homemade pie crust and I'm willing to sacrifice the extra time for it (my favorite pie crust recipe is this one from Good Life Eats).  But this pie is easily made with store bought crust and can taste just as delicious.  If you are purchasing crust this year, make sure to check out my note in the recipe below - it's a fancy trick I picked up from America's Test Kitchen for improving store bought crusts. 

Apple Slab Pie

Ingredients

6 to 8 Granny Smith Apples (about 3 1/2 pounds) peeled, cored, and sliced
6 to 8 Gala Apples (about 3 1/2 pounds) peeled, cored, and sliced
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons Minute tapioca
Pie Crust Dough (see note)*

For the Glaze:
3/4 cup reserved apple juice (from filling)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

*Note:  If using homemade pie crust, I recommend doubling this recipe for All Butter Pie Crust.  Make sure the dough has been refrigerated for at least 30 minutes before you begin rolling it out for this recipe.

If using store bought crust, I recommend 2 (15 ounce) boxes of Pillsbury Ready to Roll Pie Crust.  To improve the flavor of the purchased crust, grind 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 cups animal crackers to a fine powder in a food processor.  Use this cracker powder to roll out your crusts instead of a floured surface.  Overlap two dough rounds for the bottom, and two dough rounds for the top.  Then brush the crusts with 2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle the crusts with the remaining cracker powder.

1. Set a large colander over a bowl to catch juices.  In the colander, combine apples, sugar, and salt.  Let sit for approximately 30 minutes to allow apples to release their juices.  Stir occasionally and press lightly on the apples until  you have extracted at least 3/4 cup juice.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly grease an 18 x 13 baking sheet.
3. Prepare bottom pie crust for pan (see note).  Roll dough for bottom crust out to 19 x 14 inches and transfer to baking sheet.   Refrigerate until ready for use.
4. Transfer drained apples to a large bowl.  Gently stir in tapioca, cinnamon, and lemon juice making sure apples are evenly coated.
5. Spread apples evenly over bottom crust.  Refrigerate while preparing top crust, following instructions in step 3.  Brush edges of bottom crust lightly with water.  Transfer the top crust to the pie and press crusts together along the edge.  Trim off excess dough and use a fork to crimp and seal the outer edges.  Pierce the top of the pie at 2 inch intervals with a fork or knife to vent.
6. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until pie is golden and juices are bubbling.  Transfer to wire rack and cool.
7. While pie is cooling, prepare the glaze.  Bring the reserved 3/4 cup apple juice to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  When juice beings to thicken and resemble syrup, remove from heat and stir in butter and lemon juice.  Bring mixture to room temperature, then whisk in the powdered sugar until completely smooth.  Brush glaze over cooled pie crust and allow it to harden before eating.
Makes approximately 20 servings.   Recipe adapted from Cook's Country.

Will you be feasting with a large crowd this Thanksgiving?
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