When she's not perfecting the Platonic ideal of bread and needs to feed a crowd, you can count on Chef Nancy Silverton to serve a slab pie. This rendition is perfect for fall, featuring apples and quinces (a citrusy fall fruit that, when cooked, bolsters the autumnal flavors of apples and pears) with a healthy dose of cinnamon. These can be sourced at a well-stocked organic grocery store.
Serve at a fall dinner party or get-together and you're sure to impress—especially if you serve it with a generous helping of vanilla ice cream or gelato on top.
Note: This recipe can be made in a Baking Slab or a 9x13" Baking Sheet.
A slab pie for the ages from the queen of slab pies herself.
Prepare the apples and quinces. Put the apples in a large roasting pan. Add granulated sugar and toss to coat apples with sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour (or refrigerate overnight) to allow the sugar to break down the apples and for the apples to begin to release their juices.
To prepare the quinces, combine the white wine, granulated sugar, cinnamon stick, star anise, clove, and orange peel in a 4 QT Saucepan. Add 1 cup water and bring to a boil over high heat.
Cut a round of parchment paper slightly larger than the lip of the Saucepan. Add the quinces and lay the parchment paper on the surface of the liquid to keep the fruit submerged.
Return the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a steady simmer, and simmer the quinces until they are tender, about 1 hour.
Turn off the heat and let the quinces cool in the poaching liquid.
If you are refrigerating the apples overnight, also refrigerate the quinces, covered, overnight.
Cook the apples. Adjust the oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 300F.
Begin heating the butter in a 4 QT Saucepan for browned butter. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and with a paring knife, scrape the seeds from the bean into the saucepan, then add the whole vanilla bean pod.
Melt the butter over medium heat and cook it for about 10 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally so the butter browns evenly, until the foam has subsided and the butter is coffee-colored with a toasted aroma.
Turn off the heat and scrape the bottom to release the solids. Discard the vanilla bean pod.
Remove the apples from the refrigerator, if refrigerated overnight. Drizzle the brown butter over the apples and add the apple cider, brown sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Stir to combine.
Spread the apples out evenly over the surface of the pan and roast in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
Once apple slices are tender, but not falling apart, remove from the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Cook the quinces. Remove the apples from the refrigerator, if refrigerated overnight. Place a mesh strainer over a medium bowl and strain the quinces. Reserve the marination liquid. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick, star anise, clove, and orange peel.
Add the quinces and ¼ cup of the strained liquid to the roasting pan with the apples and fold them together. Discard the remaining quince liquid left in the bowl.
Cover the roasting pan and refrigerate the filling for at least 2 hours, until it is chilled.
Make the dough. Whisk the cream and water together in a small bowl.
Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed to distribute the salt.
Add the butter and mix on low speed until the flour and butter come together into pea-sized clumps.
Add the cream and water and mix on low speed until the dough comes together. Lightly dust a large flat working surface with flour and transfer the dough to the floured surface.
Gather the dough together into a ball, cut it in half, and pat it into a 2-inch-thick block. Wrap the block in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to chill until the dough is firm, about 2 hours.
Butter the bottom and side of your Baking Slab or Dish, lightly dust it with flour, and tap out the excess.
Lightly dust a large flat work surface with flour and remove the dough from the refrigerator. Unwrap it and place it on the floured surface.
Cut the dough into several large chunks and pound each chunk with a rolling pin to soften the dough.
Bring the chunks together into a ball and gently knead until the dough is malleable.
Pat the dough into a 2-inch-thick block. Dust the dough and rolling pin lightly with flour and roll it into a ⅛ inch thick (at least 13 x 16 inch) rectangle, dusting the dough, rolling pin, and work surface as needed.
Loosely roll the dough around the pan and lower it over the Baking Slab or Dish, centering it so the dough is evenly distributed along the sides of the pan.
Working your way around the pan, lift the edge of the dough with one hand and let it drop down over the slab. At the same time, with your other hand, dip the flat side of the knuckle of your index finger in flour and use it to gently press the dough against the edges and into the creases of the pan to create straight, not sloping sides.
If using a Baking Slab, trim the dough with kitchen shears so there is ¾ inch of dough overhanging all around. Discard the scarps.
Roll the edge of the dough under itself to create a thick lip that rests on the edge of the slab. To crimp the pie, press the thumb of your dominant hand on the edge of the dough and pinch around it with the thumb and forefinger of your non-dominant hand to create a scallop shape.
Dock the bottom of the piecrust all over with a fork and place it in the refrigerator to chill until the dough is firm, about 1 hour.
Make the streusel topping. While pie crust is chilling, combine the flour, granulated sugar, and cinnamon in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed to distribute the sugar and cinnamon.
Add butter and mix on low speed until the flour and butter come together into pea-sized clumps.
Remove the bowl from the stand and add the oats, mixing the combination with your hands to form clumps of topping.
Place the topping in the refrigerator to chill, about 30 minutes.
Assemble the pie. Adjust the oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 400F.
Remove the pie crust, filling, and topping from the refrigerator and pour the filling into the crust. Smooth out the filling so it is evenly distributed throughout your baking dish.
Scatter the topping evenly over the filling and refrigerate until the topping is firm.
To minimize cleanup, place your baking slab on a large baking sheet to catch any juices that may bubble over.
Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, until it is a deep golden brown and the fruit is bubbling, rotating the baking slab halfway through for even browning.
Remove the baking slab from the oven. Serve with vanilla gelato or ice cream, if on hand.