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?

Corn and Potato Casserole with Gruyere {GIVEAWAY}

Friday, November 16, 2012

Scroll to the bottom of this post to enter the GIVEAWAY from Libby's Fruits & Vegetables, including a KitchenAid slow cooker! 

Thanksgiving is just days away now!  While I could be feeling stressed about all the work ahead of me, I'm mostly just feeling excited.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I have a feeling this year it's going to be great.  I've been smiling all week just thinking about friends, and family, and all the good food and conversation we'll be enjoying next week.

This week I've been testing a few new dishes for the Thanksgiving menu.  I wanted to create a few side dishes that would be impressively delicious, but also very quick and very easy.  This Corn and Potato Casserole with Gruyere made the top of the list!  It is creamy and crunchy, full of flavor, and took only 15 minutes prep time - perfect addition to the holiday lineup.



Admittedly, I've never used canned potatoes before.  You could start with raw potatoes in this recipe, slice them and cook them first, but when you've got a holiday feast to prepare, it's nice to be able to take a short cut without sacrificing flavor or texture.  I used Libby's Sliced Potatoes and was perfectly satisfied with how the dish turned out - easy and delicious!

Someday my kids may laugh at me for my food blogger quirks because we've eaten this casserole more than once for dinner this week as I tweaked and perfected the recipe for next week's feast.  Luckily, I haven't heard a complaint from them yet.  And, I can tell you with confidence, that this casserole is destined to be a crowd pleaser.



Corn and Potato Casserole with Gruyere

Ingredients

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon dried chives
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 cup flour
1 can (15 oz) cream-style corn
1 can (15 oz) Libby's whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (15 oz) Libby's sliced potatoes
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup crushed butter crackers

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a small bowl, mix together cream cheese, milk, chives, and onion powder.  Mix until smooth and set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet and saute onions until tender and golden.  Sprinkle with flour and stir for one minute.  Add cream corn and stir for an additional minute.

Remove skillet from heat.  Stir in cream cheese mixture and all remaining ingredients except butter crackers and remaining butter.  Spoon mixture into casserole dish or oven safe skillet.

Top casserole with crushed cracker crumbs.  Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over cracker crumbs.  Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and golden brown.  Serves 8.

{GIVEAWAY}

Prize (One Winner)




Requirements

  • Leave a comment on this blog post and tell me: What is your favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal? 
  • Contest ends Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 11:59 P.M. mst. 
  • Contest open to US states only.
  • Winners will be chosen via random.org and have 3 days to respond. 

Optional Extra Entries

Additional entries can be earned by doing the following, giving you a total of 5 entries.  Leave a separate comment on this blog post for each of your entries. 
  1. Follow SomeTheWiser and Libby's on Twitter and ReTweet the following message:  I entered the @LibbysTable KitchenAid holiday #Giveaway on @somethewiser http://bit.ly/T0wSDg  
  2. Follow Some the Wiser | Allison Ruth on Pinterest and Pin this recipe   
  3. Like Some the Wiser and Libby's on Facebook
  4. Share this post on Facebook 
I was provided with review products, giveaway fulfillment, and compensation for my time, but all opinions and experiences with the product remain entirely my own. 

Chunky Apple Pie Granola

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  Unfortunately I'm rarely up early enough, and never coherent enough, to make great weekday breakfasts.  If I'm being really honest, most of our weekday breakfasts consist of muffins or waffles pulled from the freezer and hastily reheated.

On the weekends, I have more time to put things together and we can enjoy a Zucchini Quiche or my favorite Breakfast Fruit Crisp.  But the kids have started to notice the weekday vs. weekend meal disparity.  "Muffins.  Not again!"  they've been moaning on recent mornings.  So, I've decided to step it up, just a little bit.


This Chunky Apple Pie Granola has been the perfect solution to our weekday breakfast slump.  I can make it on the weekend and then store it in airtight jars for our crazy breakfast scramble all week long.  The kids and I like it plain, with milk or almond milk, or even sprinkled on top of plain yogurt or applesauce.   I'm feeling a lot better about breakfasts now, and so are the kids!

Chunky Apple Pie Granola

Ingredients

5 cups rolled oats
2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup applesauce
1/2 cup coconut or vegetable oil, room temperature
2 cups dried apples

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine nuts and oats and set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine all remaining ingredients except dried apples.   Whisk until smooth and well combined.  Pour  liquid mixture over oats and stir well, making sure oat mixture is evenly coated.

Pour mixture onto parchment lined baking sheet.  Using a spatula, press granola into the pan.  Make sure granola is pressed tightly and evenly into the baking sheet.  Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 40 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.  Rotate pan halfway through baking time.  For chunky granola, do not stir.  Cool well on a wire baking rack.  When cooled, break into chunks as desired and add 2 cups dried apples.  Store in airtight container for up to a week.   Makes approximately 10 cups.

What are you eating for breakfast these days?

White Turkey Chili: 30 Minute Dinner

Monday, November 5, 2012

I can hardly believe it's November already!  I've been a bit preoccupied lately, in a good way of course, but the weeks have slipped by a little too quickly.  Suddenly the holidays are upon us, but I'm still trying to figure out where summer went.

Having just realized all of the holiday work and busy days ahead of me, I am now in search of some easy meals to help keep the days flowing as we approach the year's end.  This White Turkey Chili is an easy and quick meal, and it will be a perfect way to use some of our Thanksgiving leftovers later this month.  

This recipe is very flexible.  You can use leftover cooked turkey, rotisserie chicken, canned chicken, or even leave the meat out and just increase the beans if you want to keep it vegetarian.  It is delicious served over hot rice, with tortillas, or with tortilla chips.  Best of all, it makes a quick hot meal for the family on a busy night. These days, I need dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes!


White Turkey Chili


Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cups cooked turkey, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup milk
1 can white beans (15 oz), rinsed
1 can green chiles (4 oz), undrained
1/2 cup Mexican style shredded four-cheese blend
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1 whole avocado chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Optional:
2 cups cooked rice
Tortillas or tortilla chips

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine softened cream cheese, milk, and garlic powder.  Blend until smooth.  Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add diced onion, cumin, oregano, and saute approximately 6 to 8 minutes, or until golden and tender.

Stir in cream cheese mixture, beans, and green chiles.  Simmer over medium-low heat until heated through, stirring occasionally, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.   Remove from heat and serve over rice or with tortillas or chips.  Top with cheese, tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro.

Serves 4
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