To begin, some thoughts on blogging about slab pie: Yes, I realize I’ve been going a little overboard with the slab pie posts as of late. And yes, I realize I am not the only slab pie-obsessive out there. And, no, I will not reiterate all of the slab pie’s amazing traits, as I have already done so in my black and red raspberry slab pie post. Instead, I will merely remind you that all of the slab pies on this blog (all made in half sheet pans, by the way), such as this pecan chocolate bourbon slab pie, can easily be converted into a 9-inch traditional pie by cutting the filling recipe in half (flaky vodka dough and flaky pie dough recipes are already for a 9-inch pie, and are doubled for the slabs). Okay, phew, I got the blogging-about-slab-pies housekeeping out of the way. Now, let’s talk about this particular apple cherry slab pie.
First, I will just say that, yes, it is more special than your regular go-to apple pie. And that is for a myriad of reasons, so I’ll keep it simple and name two: The dried sour cherries are a brilliant addition to regular old apple pie and cut the sweetness of the apple filling in just the most, perfect of tart ways. And, the buttery sugary crumb that you sprinkle all over the fruit before enveloping it all with your top crust adds a caramel dimension to the pie that — duh — works brilliantly with the apples (think caramel covered apples or apple crumble).
I love apple pie (okay, maybe not like I love mixed berry pie, but I really do like it a lot) and have always used Rose Levy Benernbaum’s recipe from The Pie and Pastry Bible. However, two summers ago, while talking pie with my cousin (the extremely-talented-in-the-kitchen kind of cousin), I learned about her favorite apple pie and requested the recipe. Although I could not tell the provenance of the recipe when it arrived in my inbox as an attachment to an email, a little sleuthing (god, do I love to sleuth) revealed that the recipe was actually from the October 1994 issue of Gourmet, and now available on Epicurious. Now, because the recipe came so highly recommended, I was loathe to do too much tinkering, but couldn’t resist a tweak or two in an effort to make it my own.
I used exclusively Granny Smith apples, added a little more sugar to the apples and a little less to the buttery crumble, employed salted butter in said buttery crumble, tossed salt and additional spices in with the apples, and thickened it all up with arrowroot, rather than flour. The resulting pie is a tart/sweet medley in the most perfect of apple pie ways and has been known to bring at least one berry pie lover to her knees.
Apple Sour Cherry Slab Pie
- See pie crust recipe above
- For the filling:
- Juice of one lemon plus 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
- 4 pounds about 10 granny smith apples
- 1 cup dried sour cherries
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup arrowroot
- For the buttery brown sugar crumble:
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 stick 8 Tbsp, salted butter (if using unsalted butter, add 1/4 tsp salt), room temperature
- Fill a large bowl with ice water and squeeze the juice from one lemon into the water. Peel and core the apples and place them in the lemon water (ideally, the water should prevent the fruit from turning brown).
- Once all of the apples are cored and peeled, remove them from the water bath, dump out the water, and dry the bowl. Add the 1/4 cup lemon juice to the bowl. Begin slicing the apples into 1/4-inch wedges, and then slice the wedges or cut the apple into chunks. Place the wedges in the bowl with the lemon juice as you work, tossing the wedges in the juice to coat.
- Once all of the apples are cut into wedges, add the granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and arrowroot, and using your hands, or a wooden spoon, toss the ingredients together until thoroughly combined. set aside.
- Place the butter-y brown sugar crumble ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and, using your fingers, smoosh all of the ingredients together until you have a bowl of crumble-y crumb bits, some small, and some larger. Set aside
- Place one rolled out sheet of dough in the bottom of your half sheet pan as per the pie crust instructions and add the apple filling. Dot the top of the filling with the butter-y brown sugar crumble, and continue to follow the pie crust instructions for prepping and baking your pre-baked pie.