Yes, we have found yet another Special Collector's Edition of Best-Ever Recipes from America's Test Kitchen. It couldn't have been the Ultimate Turtle Brownies on the cover that lured me in, maybe it was the promise of so many great recipes to have fun with!
So, may I start with the Apple Slab Pie. I saw the picture and thought...it is apple season, it had an apple icing and looked pretty easy to make since the crust was store bought. This will be my first project of the long weekend.
The pie was a little more challenging than I thought, especially trying to roll together two crusts with animal cracker crumbs in-between. But I will say, it added great flavor to the crust. The process for releasing apple juices and having a pie filling that was juicy but not runny made for a crispy crust and an amazing flavor. My only issue was when I didn't reduce the apple juice to 1/4 cup, necessary for the icing to set. Mine was a little runny but still delicious.
This is a great treat for big crowds since you can cut 15-20 pieces of pie. The crust to the pie is solid so it is easy to pick up like a brownie and eat it with your hands. Try this recipe before we get into the holidays because once you have mastered the crust, this could be your favorite apple pie!
8 granny smith apples (about 3½ pounds) peeled, cored, and sliced thin
8 golden delicious apples (about 3½ pounds) peeled, cored, and sliced thin
1 cup of sugar
½ teaspoon of salt
1½ cups of animal crackers (I used Barnum Animal Crackers)
½ cup of sugar
2 (15 oz.) boxes of Pillsbury Ready to Roll Pie Crust
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
6 tablespoons of minute tapioca
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
Glaze for pie:
¾ cup of reserved apple juice (from filling)
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 T. unsalted butter, softened
1¼ c. powdered sugar
For the pie: Combine the apples, sugar and salt in a colander set over a large bowl. Let rest, tossing occasionally until the apples release their juices, about 30 minutes. Press gently on the apples to extract the liquid and reserve ¾ of a cup of the juice.
For crust: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Pulse crackers and sugar in food processor until they are finely ground. Dust the work surface with cracker mixture; brush half of one pie round with water, overlap with second pie round and dust top with cracker mixture (about 1/2 the mixture total for each set of crusts). Roll out the dough to 19 x 14 " and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Brush dough with the butter and refrigerate; roll top crust in the same way.
Net steps: Toss the drained apples with tapioca, cinnamon, and lemon juice and arrange evenly over the bottom crust, pressing lightly to flatten. Brush the edges of the bottom crust with water and arrange the top crust on the pie. Press the crusts together and use a paring knife to trim any excess dough. Use a fork to crimp and seal the outside edges of pie. Bake until the pie is golden brown and juices are bubbling, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 1 hour.
For the glaze: While the pie is cooling, simmer the reserved apple juice in a saucepan over medium heat until syrupy and reduced to ¼ cup, about 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and butter and let cool to room temperature. Whisk in the powdered sugar and brush glaze evenly over the warm pie. Let the pie cool completely, at least 1 hour longer.