My parents came down to watch the kids last weekend because Yancey and I both had to be gone overnight for work. It’s pretty hard to overstate how much it means to me that they will drop what they’re doing (neither of them are retired), drive down here, and save me repeatedly. The very least I can do is have something delicious they can snack on.
I hit the ball out of the park with this addictive number. A flaky rectangular crust, folded onto itself around Golden Delicious apples, drizzled with icing after it’s cooled. The crust-to-fruit ratio was much more to my liking than the traditional shape, and you can eat it with your hands–i.e. if you’ve got your bag and flip charts in one hand, the other is being pulled by your preschooler to exclaim over her tower of blocks, you can still manage to shove this in your grateful mouth. I ate it for breakfast, of course.
The apples came from Sarah and Dan’s tree – small, imperfect Golden Delicious that had an absolutely fabulous flavor. I’ve also made apple crisp and applesauce this week. My kids have started begging for something other than an apple for snack. Let autumn come.
Apple vanilla slab pie
Adapted from a recipe for apricot slab pie in Fine Cooking. You definitely need to refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours before rolling it out. I found getting a rectangular shape was much less forgiving than a round one, and had to patch things up a bit. In the end, the patching didn’t affect the final product at all (especially with your friend Icing to cover imperfections). And this crust recipe makes a bit more than you’ll need, but that’s good–to make a rectangle, you’ll need to trim the edges anyway. You could definitely use Granny Smith apples here, but I really love the vanilla-like sweetness of good Golden Delicious. And that there’s no cinnamon in this pie. Gives it a whole different flavor. And one more thing – the photo is only HALF of what this recipe makes – it fits just barely on a standard baking sheet.
3 1/2 cups flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 cubes) + 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 18 pieces
3 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening, cut into 3 pieces
1/3 cup ice-cold water
4-5 cups thinly sliced Golden Delicious apples (about 8 small or 6 medium-large)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream or whole milk
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
To make the dough:
Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and vegetable shortening and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 10 to 12 pulses. Sprinkle 1/3 cup cold water over the mixture and pulse until the dough just starts to come together, 8 to 10 pulses more. If the mixture seems dry, add more water 1 teaspoon at a time. Do not overprocess.
Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and gather it into a rectangle that’s about 8 by 12 inches. Flatten slightly, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
To make the filling:
Combine thinly sliced apples with sugar, flour, and vanilla. Gently mix.
To assemble and bake:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 375 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment. In a small bowl, beat the egg with 1 teaspoon water.
On a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dought into a 1/8-inch thick, 12×18-inch rectangle. Be sure to loosen the dough several times and reflour underneath so it doesn’t stick. Trim the dough into an 11×16-inch rectangle and transfer it back to the baking sheet. Turn the baking sheet so that a long side faces you, and brush the edges of the dough with the egg wash. Spread the apple filling evenly over the bottom half of the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Fold the top half of the dough over the filling, pressing along the edges to secure the sides. Press lightly along the edges with the back of a fork to seal. Brush egg wash all over the top of the dough. Using a paring knife, cut 5 small steam vents in the dough at about 3-inch intervals.
Bake until the pie is golden brown, 45-55 minutes. Cool completely.
In a small bowl, mix the powdered sugar, cream, and vanilla to form a smooth glaze that’s just fluid enough to drizzle. With a spoon, drizzle the glaze over the top of the pie. Allow to set at least 2 hours before serving.
Sarah Murphy-Kangas blogs at In Praise of Leftovers.
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