My grandma was much more of a “cooking grandma” than a “baking grandma”, so many of my memories surrounding her food revolve around dinners, not necessarily desserts. She did have a handful of sweet treats in her repertoire (things like icebox cake, ambrosia and biscotti) that she would serve, but the focal point was always the actual meal. The only pie I remember her ever making was apple, and it was never in a traditional round pie plate… it was always in a sheet pan or a 9×13-inch baking pan. I never asked why, but knowing my grandma, she would have figured that a 9-inch pie plate wouldn’t make enough to feed everyone on a typical Sunday. Having just enough was never enough for her; she wanted to make sure that if someone wanted seconds or thirds, there would be plenty left.
As someone who loves a high crust to filling ratio when it comes to pie, slab pie is right up my alley.
There is an abundance of butter, flaky crust, and just the right amount of juicy, spiced apple filling.
The filling set up beautifully and was perfect when the pie was sliced – it didn’t run and the apples didn’t slide out every which way, which is a huge pet peeve of mine when eating a big slice of pie. Most times I find that I end up eating the filling separately, since it ends up all over the plate and not neatly packaged inside the crust.
As you can see, this filling was perfectly sturdy and had just the right amount of apples and thickener. It was a thing of beauty!
If you love pie in any of its many forms, you owe it to yourself to make a slab pie. It’s less fussy than traditional pie, and it will ensure that everyone can take a crack at seconds if they’d like.
It’s the only way my grandma believed in feeding people, and I’m happy to follow in her footsteps!
Make the Crust: Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender, two forks, or your fingertips, work the butter into the flour until the biggest pieces of butter are the size of tiny peas. Gently stir in the water with a rubber spatula, mixing it until a craggy mass forms. Using your hands, knead it two or three times to form a ball. Divide the dough roughly in half (it’s okay if one is slightly larger). Wrap each half in plastic wrap and flatten a bit, like a disc. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour (or up to two days).
Preheat oven oven to 375 degrees F. Line the bottom of 10x15x1-inch baking sheet or jellyroll pan with parchment paper.
Prepare the Filling: In a large bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice until coated. Add the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt, and stir to evenly coat.
Assemble the Pie: On a lightly floured surface, roll one of your dough halves (the larger one, if you have two different sizes) into an 18x13-inch rectangle. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and gently work the dough into the corners and along the edges of the pan. Trim any overhang off the sides to ¾-inch.
Turn the apple mixture onto the dough and spread into an even layer.
Roll the second piece of dough (the smaller one, if they were different sizes) into a 16x11-inch rectangle. Drape over the filling and fold the bottom crust’s overhang over the edges, sealing the two pieces of dough together. Crimp the edges, if desired. Using a paring knife, cut nine small slits over the surface of the top crust.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, water and salt. Brush a thin coating of the egg wash evenly over all of the exposed crust.
Bake the Pie: Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool to room temperature before serving, about 45 minutes. Leftovers will keep at room temperature, well-covered, for up to three days.