Quick-to-Make Apple Pie to Feed a Crowd
This title might be a mouthful but the recipe couldn’t be easier. An oil-based pat-in crust that comes together in a flash, a juicy apple filling and a crumb topping assembled in a rimmed sheet pan yields a “slab pie” that feeds a party. This is the quickest – and largest – pie you will ever make. Perfect for large parties and it travels well. Simply make up to 1 day ahead, transport in the pan and cut into “slabs” right before serving. Watch me make this crust on our new weekly segment on The Better Show.
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (1¾ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅔ cup oil
- ½ cup to ⅔ cup iced water
- 9 cups peeled, cored and sliced apples (from about 9 medium-large apples), such as Gala or Cortland
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- For the Topping: Melt butter (we use the microwave so that you can accomplish this step in one bowl) then whisk in sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Stir in flour until combined. Use your fingers to squeeze together crumbs; set aside.
- For the Crust, Filling and Assembly: Position rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 15-inch by 10-inch by 1-inch rimmed baking pan with nonstick spray; set aside.
- For the crust, put the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl and whisk to aerate and combine. Make a well in the center.
- In a small bowl, vigorously whisk together the oil and ½ cup water and pour into the well of the dry mixture. Stir the wet and dry together until moist clumps form (I like to start with a whisk and change to a wooden spoon). Only add additional water if dough is extremely dry.
- Pat crust into pan, building up the sides and a bit of a rim. It doesn’t have to be super neat but you do want it to be continuous. Simply press and patch any holes that appear.
- For the filling, toss together the apples slices, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice in a large bowl to combine. Scrape onto the crust. Pat crumb topping evenly all over apples.
- Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes or until the pie is golden brown all over and the juices are bubbling. (You might have to cover the pie with a sheet of aluminum foil during that last 10 minutes so that the crumb topping does not over-brown). Cool at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature; pie is best served the same day but can be held at room temperature overnight.
- The baking powder in the crust keeps it crispy. Our friend and baking teacher Nick Malgieri explains that with this addition that the crust tries to rise (it is a leavener after all) and cannot expand up through the filling, so it presses down against the pan. With an extra wide “pie” such as this, the extra boost is welcomed to keep the crust from being soggy.
- Ditto the crumb topping – some slab pies, such as our Apple Raspberry Slab Pie, have a top crust and several vents must be cut into the top crust to allow steam to escape – all in the name of proper texture. Here a crumb crust is used because it is super easy to make and all the tiny spaces between the crumbs let steam escape naturally.