It's a great feeling to come home after a long period of travelling on and off, and knowing that you have some time to just be at home. To get back into routine, and not live out of a suitcase, wearing the same things you wore on the last trip because it was easier to just wash it all and throw it back in your suitcase for the next trip. There's time to do things you have been meaning to get done for a long time, and time to organise a baking day with a friend that spans the whole day, because now there is time. There's time to take on baking projects that may span a few days, to test out new recipes, and cook from new books. And there's time to make apple pie.
I have partnered with the FeedFeed and Autumn Glory Apples to bring you the perfect Autumn pie using the new variety of apple from Superfresh Growers. The Autumn Glory apple is sweet and firm, with notes of caramel and cinnamon, which makes it perfect in a pie! I kept the filling of the pie very simple without any extra flavouring, which allowed the taste of the apple to really shine through. If you are using quality fruit in your pie, all you really need is something to sweeten the filling, a little starch to bind it together, a great crust, and you are well on the way to a delicious pie!
I decided to make a slab pie - they are quickly becoming my favourite, as they allow for a solid crust to filling ratio - if the crust is your favourite part of a pie, I highly suggest giving a slab pie a go! I have been meaning to try a herringbone lattice on a pie that wasn't round for a while now, and it worked out far better than I could have imagined! The herringbone looks tricky but as long as you have enough pastry and follow the tutorial carefully, it comes together easily. You could put whatever top you like on this pie - even just a flat top with a crimped edge would look great!
A few wee notes:
I made this in a quarter sheet pan (9" x 13") - you could definitely scale it if you wanted, but I would make it in two quarter sheets rather than one big half sheet if you did.
Because of the herringbone lattice I chose, I used quite a lot of pie dough. If you were wanting to do a different lattice with spaces between the strips, you could cut down on the amount of dough you make a little.
Pie freezes beautifully! If you were wanting to make your pie ahead of time, pop it in the freezer once you have assembled (do NOT egg wash until you are ready to bake), and allow it to freeze solid before wrapping well and storing until ready to bake. You will have to adjust the baking time a little to allow thawing time, but just transfer straight from the freezer to the oven and bake from frozen, do not thaw first.
Pie dough is best if made the night before you need it, to give it sufficient time to rest. It works best if you make it in two batches.
If you prefer your apples peeled by all means go ahead, but I prefer to leave them unpeeled, and I like to use a microplane to slice them!
Apple Slab Pie
- Makes one 9" x 13" pie -
Pie crust recipe from four and twenty blackbirds
5 cups (750g) Flour
Pinch of Salt
4 tsp (16g) sugar
4 sticks (450g) cold butter, cut into cubes
1 cup (240ml) cold water
1 cup ice
1/4 cup (60ml) Apple cider vinegar
1.5kg (3.3lbs) Autumn Glory apples, cored, quartered, and sliced on a microplane
Juice of 2 lemons
1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp (70g) flour
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp (125g) raw sugar, plus extra for sprinkling (if you are using an apple that isn't very sweet, increase the sugar 3/4 cup
Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
- PROCESS -
Note: I find it easiest to make the pie dough in two batches, to help keep the ingredients cold. You can make up the ice/water/apple cider vinegar mixture and use it for both the batches, but divide the other ingredients in two and make it one batch at a time. (2 1/2 cups flour, pinch of salt, 2 tsp sugar, 2 sticks butter)
Place flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat. Working quickly, using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.
Combine ice, water and cider vinegar in a bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I normally need about 8-10 tbsp) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Shape into a rectangle, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Repeat with the second half of the ingredients. Place your dough rectangles in the fridge for at least a few hours, preferably overnight.
ASSEMBLY AND FILLING
Have a quarter sheet pan (9" x 13" baking sheet) ready.
On a lightly floured surface, roll one of the rectangles of dough into a shape slightly larger than your sheet pan. You want it to be approximately 1/8 inch (3mm) in thickness. Line the pan, leaving the extra dough overhanging. Trim the dough so there is about 1 inch overlapping the edge of your dish. Fold the overlapping edge under itself, pressing down with your fingers to seal. This creates a border which helps prevent the edges of the pie from shrinking. Place in the fridge while you prepare the filling and lattice. Wrap any offcuts of dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge until needed.
Place the lemon juice into a large bowl. Add the sliced, apple and toss well to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes. Transfer the apple into a second large bowl, leaving behind any excess liquid. Alternatively you can drain the fruit and place back in the same bowl. Add the flour and the sugar, and toss well to coat evenly. Taste and adjust the amount of sugar if needed. Transfer the filling into the prepared lined pan, packing the apples tightly and mounding slightly in the centre.
Roll out the second rectangle of dough. Cut strips to use for your lattice (I made about 30 strips that were about 3/4" wide - I had about 12 that were just over 13", and 18 just over 9"), rolling and re-rolling if necessary. If you are making a herringbone lattice, follow this tutorial, otherwise lattice as desired. Cut around the edge of the pie so that the edges are flush with the tin. Finish with a braided border made from re-rolled scraps if you prefer, or leave the edges trimmed flush. Transfer the pie to the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
While the pie is resting in the fridge, preheat the oven to 425˚f/ 220˚c. Place a baking tray on the bottom rack of the oven. Brush the pie with eggwash and sprinkle generously with extra raw sugar. Place on the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, or until the pastry has set and is beginning to go golden.Reduce the temperature 375˚f / 190˚c, and bake until the pastry is deeply golden and the filling is bubbling, 45 to 50 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.