An Apple Slab Pie has the same tender, flaky crust and juicy apple filling as a regular pie, with the added luxury of a buttery streusel topping. It's an easy way to get all the best parts of that beloved and classic apple dessert in a different shape. (And this one can feed a crowd or give you some delicious leftovers). Since there's no rolling out of pastry dough, it works wonderfully in a gluten free version, too! [Skip to recipe.]
Thanks to Organic Washington Apples for sponsoring this post so I could share this delicious recipe with you and tell you about my go-to apples for our family’s apple snacking and baking needs.
As easy as pie? Yes! . . . If it's an Apple Slab Pie.
I always thought the saying 'As easy as pie' was a bit of a lie. Normal pie is not that easy to whip up. Delicious? Absolutely! But easy? Not by my definition. There's all that fussy rolling and crimping and fiddling with pie crust, not to mention tearing and patching and fixing thin spots. So when I can make a big ole pie right in my cookie sheet, and just pat the dough in with my fingers, I'm all for it. This is one of my favourite ways to make an apple pie, especially when I use sweet, juicy Organic Washington apples in the filling.
I really appreciate having these fresh organic apples available at this time of year when we're craving the fruits of summer to get us through the winter. Getting our nutrients and vitamins from fresh fruits, like Washington Organics, helps keep us healthy. One medium apple (180 g) has only 72 calories, 19 carbohydrates, is a source of fibre and is a source of Vitamin C. Apples are also a rich source of antioxidants, like vitamin E and polyphenols that protect our cells from free radical damage.
These apples are grown practically on our doorstep. The United States is the leading organic apple producer in the world, with Washington State growing more than 90% of U.S. certified organic apples. They are available in every key variety and each organic Washington apple is picked by hand.
I've been in apple heaven lately. In addition to my daily munching apple (gotta keep that doctor away!), I've been baking these tasty Washington Organics into our morning oatmeal or this German Crustless Apple Pie, making up batches of Instant Pot Applesauce, cooking them in my Sauerkraut and baking them with chicken. But our most recent favourite way to enjoy them has been in a big pan of this Apple Slab Pie. I've made it just for us to enjoy at home and also brought one when I needed a wow-factor dessert for a small gathering - it was a winner!
The pie makes 12 good portions, but can just as easily be cut into smaller pieces for hand-held nibbling. A bottom crust that's tender and flaky supports a generous filling of juicy apples. The crowning glory is a streusel topping - rich and buttery with a lovely crunch, yet so quick and easy to make.
Washington State is known as one of the premier apple-growing areas in the world and the growing conditions make Washington an ideal region to grow organic apples. Its nutrient-rich soil, arid climate, plentiful water and advanced growing practices provide the right ingredients for producing top-quality fruit . . . fruit that bakes up beautifully in this pie (and sneaks some health benefits in as a bonus).
As Easy as an Apple Slab Pie
Make the pastry crust for an apple slab pie just like a regular crust; cut the butter into the flour, then add water. The only difference is it's a bit softer, more like pliable playdough, and easier to press into the pan with your fingers. I like to add a bit of oat flour to the pastry to add a richer flavour that goes so well with apples, but you can just use more plain flour if you like. I also sometimes like to toss in a few finely chopped nuts for extra crunch.
Then peel a pile of those glorious Washington Organics and slice them. Add a a bit of sugar, some flour, and a whisper of spices, and heap 'em onto the crust. I don't like to add too much cinnamon to my apple pie as I like the flavour of the apples to shine through, but if you're a cinnamon lover, go crazy and add more. Next, mix together a buttery streusel and strew it over the top like so much crumbly rubble.
I like Gala apples for the slab pie, but any of your favourite Washington Organic apple varieties, or a combination, will produce delicious results.
Bake the pie until it's lightly golden, and then try, just try, to wait for it to cool before you cut into it. (It's hard, I know!)
One bite into that apple pie with it's flaky, tender crust topped with those sweet, tangy, juicy apples and those nuggets of rich, buttery streusel, and you'll be in apple pie heaven, too. Ice cream is optional - this pie is so flavourful, you might not even want it.
Any time is apple pie time! Whether you serve it for an afternoon 'Kaffee und Kuchen' get-together, or a take it to a large gathering, or just have it on hand for weekday snacking, this pie can be your secret weapon.
* * * * *
Kitchen Frau Notes: Lard makes for a very tender and flaky pastry, while butter adds superior flavour. I like combining both in this pastry, but you can also use all lard or all butter (use ¾ cup/160gms total). Butter is slightly heavier as it contains a small amount of water, but it will not make a noticeable difference in the pastry.
You can purchase oat flour, or easily make your own by grinding up rolled oats in a blender, coffee grinder, or spice grinder until they are fine. The oat flour adds a layer of nutty flavour to the crust that complements the apples, but if you don't have it, just replace it with regular or gluten free flour.
*To make this Apple Slab Pie gluten free: Use a good cup-for-cup gluten free flour blend (my recipe here, if desired). You can make the pie using just plain cold water, as for the regular version, or you can add an extra insurance to keep the crust pliable, yet remain flaky and tender by adding flax gel. To do so, soften 3 tablespoons of ground golden flax seeds in the ½ cup of water for 5 to 10 minutes, until it is gelled. Use this flax gel instead of plain water to make the pastry crust. With the flax, the gluten free crust will hold together slightly better if you want to be able to eat the pie out of hand.
Apple Slab Pie with a Buttery Streusel Top Crust
- 2 cups (280gms) all-purpose flour or gluten free flour blend
- ½ cup (50gms) oat flour (gluten free if necessary)
- 1 tablepoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup (110gms) lard
- ¼ cup (60gms) butter
- ½ cup (120ml) cold water (for gluten free pastry crust, soften 3 tablespoons ground golden flax seeds in the water and use that gel instead of plain water)
- 3 lbs (1.4kg) Washington Organics apples, (8 cups peeled and sliced)
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) lemon juice
- ¼ cup (50gms) sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or sweet rice flour for gluten free)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt (a little bit of salt brings out the flavour of the apples)
- 1 cup (140gms) all-purpose flour or gluten free flour blend
- ½ cup (100gms) sugar
- ½ cup (115gms) soft butter (add ¼ teaspoon salt if butter is unsalted)
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
To make the pastry crust, stir the ground flax seeds into the water and set it aside to thicken up to a gel.
Combine the flour, oat flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Dice the butter and lard and add it to the dry ingredients. Cut it into the flour with a pastry blender or two butter knives until you have small chunks about the size of peas. Add the gelled flax seeds and stir with a fork to moisten the flour until you have a shaggy dough. Then knead the dough 3 to 4 times until it is combined into a rough ball (you still want to see some of the chunks of butter and lard). Pull the dough ball into rough chunks and spread them out on a rimmed 10 x 15 inch (25 x 38 cm) baking sheet (ungreased). Press the dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the baking sheet with your fingers, pinching off excess bits of dough and filling in any holes, so the dough fully covers the baking pan. Refrigerate the crust while you make the filling.
Peel and core the apples, then cut them into quarters, and crosswise into slices. Toss the sliced apples with the lemon juice to prevent them from browning as you prepare them. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add this to the apples and toss them together to coat all the apple slices. Pile the apple slices onto the prepared crust and spread them out evenly, right into the corners.
Make the streusel by stirring together the flour and sugar, then rubbing in the butter between your fingers (or on low speed in a mixer) until you have loose buttery crumbles. Spread the streusel evenly over the apples in the pie.
Bake the pie in the lower third of the oven for 45 to 50 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden.
Allow the pie to cool and cut it into 12 squares, or cut the squares in half diagonally or down the center to make 24 triangles or small rectangles.
Note: Flax seeds will keep for a long time (several years) when whole. Grind them fresh in a coffee grinder or blender for use in recipes, or grind up a larger amount and keep it frozen (up to 3 months) for ready use in recipes and smoothies. You can use regular brown flax seeds - the taste and nutritional value are the same, but the golden flax seeds look less noticeable in baking.
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