I love apple season (otherwise known as Autumn) with my whole heart, and am always looking for excuses to use apples in my baking. While I love making regular old apple pies, I have to admit that I am a crust-lover, and prefer a little less fruit in my round pastries. After baking pies in rectangle shape and cutting them into small squares, I found perfection in each bite – the perfect fruit to crust ratio. Sneaking some pears in also was a good idea.
(I often add 1/4 cup of white wine in this recipe – adding it to the sauce pan along with the fruit juices. This cuts some of the sweetness and adds a lot of flavor. You still need to cook the juices/wine down to 1/2 cup. You can use your favorite wine; I used Pinot Grigio. Hard Apple Cider will also work.)
- 1 double crust pie recipe (See Polka Dot Strawberry Ginger Slab Pie if you do not have a favorite pie crust recipe)
- 5 cups sliced Gala apples (peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces), 4-5 apples
- 4 cups sliced Bartlet pears, (peeled, cored, and sliced into 1-inch pieces), 3-4 pears
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/3 cup brown sugar,
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus 1-2 tablespoons for sprinkling
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- egg wash (1 egg, 1 tablespoon water, and a pinch of salt whisked together)
Combine the apples, pears, lemon juice, brown sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Let sit for at least 1 hour at room temperature, and up to 3 hours.
Strain the sugary juice from the fruit into a medium saucepan (you should have at least ½ cup of juice). Return the fruit to the large bowl. Add the granulated sugar to the juices in the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer until reduced to a scant 1/2 cup, about 5-6 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to stir. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla. Set aside to cool slightly.
Sprinkle the cornstarch and spices over the fruit and toss to coat. Pour the slightly cooled fruit juice mixture over the fruit and stir gently.
Lightly flour a large sheet of parchment paper and roll out one piece of the dough into a 17 by 13-inch rectangle. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Using the parchment paper, transfer one rectangle to a 13 by 9-inch jelly roll pan or quarter sheet pan. Press the dough into the pan; discard the parchment.
Pour the filling on top of the dough and spread into an even layer.
Using the parchment paper, place the second rectangle of dough on top of the filling; discard the parchment. Trim the dough overhangs to 1 inch past the lip of the pan.
Pinch the dough together and tuck it under itself. Crimp the edges and cut several X-shaped vents across the top of the dough. Place the pan in the freezer for about 20 minutes while the oven is preheating. You want the crust to be nice and firm before you bake it.
Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position. Preheat oven to 425°F. Place a baking sheet on the oven rack (the preheated baking sheet helps crisp the bottom of the pie crust and catches any leaks and drips).
When ready to bake, brush the top of the pie with egg wash and sprinkle with 1 or 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar. Put the pie plate on the preheated baking sheet and bake 25 minutes. Reduce the oven to 375ºF and bake 40 to 50 minutes more, until the crust is deep golden brown and the juices bubble.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool at least 4 hours before serving.