In the late fall or early winter when I was growing up, when it was time to use up those apples in the cellar, I’d wander into the kitchen to find big half-sheet pans filled with golden-brown apple slices. They didn’t last long in my house with brothers who ate their weight in food daily and a dad who worked hard doing carpentry work during the day and taking care of his corn fields, orchard, and gardens in the evening.
For many years, I would fondly recall my mom’s apple slices. I’d mention apple slices to people when they’d talk about apple pie, and I’d get blank stares. Nobody knew what I meant.
I was talking about these on the CITR forum and to my delight, at least two people knew what I was talking about. I think these are too good to keep secret. They masquerade as pie, but pie is good right out of the oven. So are these, but where pie gets all soggy the next day, these improve with age.
This recipe makes a big half-sheet pan full (18 x 13) or can be halved to fit a regular 9 x 13 pan.
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 400° F. Core, peel and slice apples to about 1/4-1/2 inch thickness. I used the food processor slice blade to get these done, and they ended up about 1/4 inch thick. Perfect for getting them to cook through. Combine sugar, 4 tablespoons flour, cinnamon and mix with the apples to coat them. Set aside.
Combine flour, salt and shortening (or lard) and cut the shortening into the flour mixture until coarse crumbs are formed. Beat lemon juice, egg yolks and water together and pour over flour mixture. Stir to mix, until combined. Add additional liquid to get it to come together if necessary. The picture below shows how it might come out and how it should look.
Divide dough in half, with one half being slightly larger than the other. Roll out dough to fit the pan size. Don’t roll it out like pie crust. Roll or pat it into shape right in the pan! I have one of those double-ended rollers, with one end that’s great for getting into the corners, and the one you see below, which is great for getting the middle done. Spread sliced apples evenly over the dough. Sprinkle with any remaining sugar/cinnamon/flour mixture that might remain in the bowl.
Roll out the other half of the dough to fit the top. A trick: Since this dough is so hard to handle, I took another half sheet (same size) and rolled the top out on the bottom of the second pan. Make sure the pan is heavily floured. Roll it to size and flip it over to cover the top. Pinch the edges to seal and prick the top randomly with a fork or slash with a knife to allow steam to escape.
Bake in 400° oven for 40 minutes until crust is brown and apples are tender. If you notice the crust becoming too brown too quickly, cover the top loosely with foil and continue baking. Remove and place the pan on a rack to cool completely.
Glaze: Combine milk, confectioners sugar, butter and vanilla until smooth. When the slices are cool, spread the glaze over it. Allow to harden. Note: This is the recipe for glaze for a smaller version, but this amount spreads nicely over the entire pan of slices. Do more if you like thick glaze. I don’t.
Alternative: Sprinkle with confectioners sugar while still warm.
Slice into 2″ x 2″ squares, or as big as you want ’em. Or as small as you want ’em. Feel free to enjoy a large apple slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or grab one as you run out the door because they’re really portable!
Really important: If you wait at least two, if not three, days to bite into one, the crusts begin to soften. Never soggy, just tender. The top crust is crispy-ish right out of the oven, but waiting awhile makes it delectable and soft through and through. You’ll see. Eat one now, and then wait. If you can.
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