Halves of spiced apples wrapped in cookie-like shortbread crust drizzled with lemon-butter glaze. Cozy comfort food. Delicious. Simple. Full of flavour.
This bake is quick and easy. No need to chop apples - halves of apples give extra flavour and make this pie easy to split into portions. No need to blind bake the base. No need to be precise with the crust as it's really forgiving.
Apples are sprinkled with spices (earthy and warming cardamom, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg) and a little bit of brown sugar (giving indicative 1-3 Tbsps - if you like your apples less sweet, use 1 Tbsp, if you like them more mellow and sweet - go up to 3 Tbsps). What apples to use? Our favourite type for this bake is Russet (!all the way!), Golden, Granny Smith - but really, any type will work. This pie will look quite dramatic (and impressive) if you use big-sized apples. Go for large apples - like Bramley (Irish cooking apples) - for bigger halves and larger portions. No need to adjust baking time or temperature - apples will be harder (less mellow) with nice balance of sweet/sour!
Let apples sit in spices/sugar/lemon juice for some 30 minutes before baking. Remove excess juice before placing on the crust.
Few words about the crust. This pie is baked on cookie-like crust. It's buttery and sweet. Mix of butter and sour cream makes it easy to work with. To get that buttery (and not floury) flavour - use cold butter (or even better - frozen). Using large scale on your grater, grate cold butter into flour mixed with sugar, salt and cardamom. Then, using palms of your hands and finger tips, work butter into flour until coarse meal is formed. After adding eggs and sour cream you will just need few swift moves to combine the dough. Refrigerate the crust for anything between 2-24 hours. When ready to roll out - leave the dough at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before starting and then use flour for dusting the surface, top of the dough and your rolling pin (the pie crust has sour cream - it will need extra dusting when rolling out but, in the same time, it is easy to work with). Roll out the pastry into 30cmx40cm rectangle, wrap around the rolling pin and place onto the form. For this bake I use two criss-crossed pieces of parchment paper - this is optional. You may opt to brush the tin with butter only. Line the bottom and walls of the tin with the crust.
This recipe will give you enough dough for top, bottom and some decorations on top. If you want to bake this pie in round pie dish - it will make two (18cm) round pies. If you have any leftover pastry - it makes beautiful cookies. Roll out 0.3cm thin, cut shapes and bake 12-14 minutes at 200C (180C fan forced).
To make sure bottom/top of pie bakes golden:
- roll the dough 0.2-0.3cm thin,
- dock the pastry - using fork poke few holes in the pie base,
- seal the top and bottom of the pastry - shape with your fingers or simply join up using fork,
- cut few Xs on pie cover,
- preheat the oven to the right temperature and bake for 60 minutes - the pie will 'catch' the colour slowly but surely (don't be tempted to tweak the temperature - the pie will look pale in the first 30min),
- not mandatory but always helps - if you have pizza stone - preheat the oven with pizza stone in it and place pie tin on top of pizza stone (the bottom will get the temperature from hot stone),
- for lovely golden colour - brush top of the pie with egg wash - use leftover egg white mixed with sour cream,
- smaller round tins - depending on the size of the form, the bake time will be between 45-55 min. You will have enough dough for 2 small (18cm) pies.
The glaze - completely optional as the crust is already sweet but addition of zesty sweet lemon complements this pie really well.
Cardamom Apple Slab Pie Recipe
Yield: 18 servings
Time: 30min prep (+2 hr dough chilling) + 60min baking
For sweet pastry:
- 550g all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 150g caster sugar
- 230g unsalted butter, frozen or cold
- 100g sour cream, straight from the fridge
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk (leave egg white for the egg wash)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For cardamom apple filling:
- 9 medium apples (about 1.2kg)
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 2 tsps cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 2 Tbsps (30ml) clear lemon juice
- 1-3 Tbsps (15-45g) brown sugar
For lemon-butter glaze (mix all):
- 1 Tbsp (15ml) water, hot
- 10g salted butter, melted and warm
- 120g confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tsps (10ml) clear lemon juice
- leftover egg white mixed with 2 tsps sour cream
1) Prepare pastry: Sift flour with cardamom and salt, mix in sugar. Grate cold butter, using your finger tips and palms of your hands work into flour until coarse meal is formed. Add sour cream, egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract and with few swift moves form the dough. Divide into two parts, flatten into discs, wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours (up to 24hrs).
2) Prepare apple filling: Peel apples, cut in halves and remove cores. Mix apples with spices, lemon juice and sugar and let sit for 30 minutes. When ready to use - remove excess juice.
3) Assemble the pie: Let the dough sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before rolling. Use some flour for dusting the surface and rolling pin. Roll out each disc 0.2-0.3cm thin, 30cmx40cm ( you will cut edges if needs be). In a meantime preheat the oven to 170C (155C fan forced), grease the tin with butter & line with two criss-crossed pieces of parchment paper. Roll the pastry around the rolling pin and transfer into the tin - line bottom and sides of the tin with pastry. Using fork dock the pastry - poke few holes. Line apples tightly (cut side down). Cover with second portion of pastry - join up the edges pressing with fork. No need to push the pastry down. Cut few Xs on top and brush with egg white mixed with 2 tsps sour cream.
4) Bake at 170C (155C fan forced) for 60 minutes. When baked, cool for 10 minutes & apply lemon-butter glaze (mix all ingredients until smooth).