Hi! Happy Saturday! Popping in to share my second installment of the Weekend Baking Project series that I am doing with Taste of New Zealand of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise! You all seemed to love last month’s Brown Butter Cinnamon Roll recipe using NZ butter, and this month I am back to share some more of the amazing products wee NZ pumps out - this time apples and honey!
It’s nearly Thanksgiving time here in the States, which means everyone is getting ready to amp up their pie game, and I wanted to have a couple of alternative options to the traditional pies here on the site. This Open Apple Slab pie would be a perfect alternative to a regular apple pie - slab pies are great because they are super easy to make, and are so perfect for feeding a crowd. This one is particularly easy to make as I ditched the top crust in favour of a Honey Vanilla Bean Frangipane filling, topped with fanned out slices of apple. No latticing required, but still all the deliciousness of a flaky pie crust.
A frangipane is basically a thick batter, made from butter, eggs, a sweetener, and almond flour. In the place of sugar, I used Taylor Pass Honey Co Creamed Clover Honey to sweeten the frangipane, which paired so perfectly with the vanilla bean and almond. I am so excited that we can finally get good creamed clover honey from NZ here in America. Lots of the marketing / NZ honey that you see is Manuka based (which Taylor Pass also creates), which is trendy and also delicious, but our wee bees also produce some other extremely delicious varieties of honey. Creamed honey has an almost whipped texture and is much thicker than the liquid honey that you traditionally see. The Taylor Pass Honey Co honey tastes just like what I grew up on eating, and is my favourite to have in toast or to use in baking. The company prides itself on creating amazing quality, sustainably produced honey - the hives aren’t too far from my home town in New Zealand, so it feels amazing to be able to get my hands on something from so close to home.
I also included a New Zealand variety of apples in the tart - Envy Apples. Envy is a cross between a braeburn and a royal gala apple - the result is a beautiful, crisp apple, with the perfect level of sweetness, and a white flesh that doesn’t brown, making it so perfect for baking!
I hope that you give this frangipane version of an apple slab pie a go - it would be so perfect as a Thanksgiving, or any time apple and honey treat! x
A few wee tips:
Fun fact about Envy apples - they don’t go brown as fast as other apples due to the higher level of vitamin c in them, which slows the browning process down. I did however brush them with a little lemon juice just as a wee insurance policy and to help balance out the honey.
This is probably one of the only recipes where I’m not going to give you a weight of the fruit. Because it’s not getting mixed in with a starch, the weight can vary - you need enough apples to be able to make enough stacks to cover the surface of the tart. I ended up with 6 rows which came from about 5 apples. You do have some wee pieces of apple left over from cutting the pieces into the right shapes - I just snacked on them!
A pie dough trick I learnt from my friend Erin that is now firmly in my repertoire : After you mix the dough and shape it into discs, rest it in the fridge for about an hour, and then roll it out on a floured surface into a rectangle, fold it in thirds like a letter, then roll again and repeat the folding. Then you shape it into a rectangle, re-wrap tightly in plastic, and rest for at least two hours before using. What this step does is make the dough homogenous and therefore easy to work with, but also adds layers through the rolling and folding - the same way puff pastry is laminated. It is definitely an optional step but from my experience it makes the world of difference when it comes to rolling out the dough and getting a nice even crimp or lattice work.
If you don’t have a stand mixer for the frangipane, it can be done by hand with a spatula or wooden spoon and a large bowl.
I hope I did an ok job explaining how to assemble - there is a video in my Instagram highlights that should help if needed.
Make the honey glaze just as the pie comes out of the oven, and then glaze once it has had 10 minutes to cool.
If you wanted to make this whole pie refined sugar free you can leave out the sugar in the pie crust and it will be totally sweetened by honey.
Open Apple Slab Pie with Honey Vanilla Bean Frangipane
- Makes one 9”x13” pie, serves 12 -
375g (2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
Pinch of Salt
2 tsp (8g) sugar
225g (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
240g (1 cup) cold water
1 cup ice
60g (1/4 cup) Apple cider vinegar
Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
Honey Vanilla Bean Frangipane
180g unsalted butter (I used Lewis Road Creamery), at room temperature
150g Taylor Pass Honey Co Creamed Clover Honey
250g almond meal
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (I used Heilala)
1/2 tsp salt
5-6 Envy Apples
Juice of 1 lemon (see notes)
50g Taylor Pass Honey Co Creamed Clover Honey
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste
Tiny pinch of salt
- PROCESS -
Place flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat. Working quickly, using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only large pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.
Combine ice, water and cider vinegar in a bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I normally need about 8-10 tbsp) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Shape into a rectangle, and wrap in plastic wrap. Rest in the fridge for at least two hours, or preferably overnight. (See notes for rolling out dough during resting period)
Once the dough has rested, place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out to 1/4” (6mm) in thickness, turning the dough 45˚ often as you are rolling to keep it even. You want the rectangle to be larger than your baking sheet - you need to allow for the sides and also space for folding over the edge. Transfer to a 9”x13” quarter baking sheet, and arrange to ensure that the dough is well settled.
Trim the dough using scissors or a sharp knife, leaving about 1.5 inches excess around the edges. Gently tuck the dough under and onto itself, to give you a neat folded edge. Chill in the fridge for 15-20 minutes, then remove from the fridge and crimp as desired. Chill until ready to use - this can also be prepared the day before and frozen overnight.
HONEY VANILLA BEAN FRANGIPANE
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and Taylor Pass Honey Co Creamed Clover Honey until just combined. Add the almond meal, egg, vanilla, and salt, and mix until incorporated. Spread into the chilled crimped pie crust and smooth down with an offset spatula. Place in the fridge while you prepare the apples.
ASSEMBLY AND BAKING
Working with one Envy apple at a time (so you don’t peel too many and waste them, or so that they don’t brown), peel the apple, and then cut the fruit from the core in 4 pieces (you will end up with 2 bigger pieces and 2 smaller pieces). Trim each piece so that it has straight sides - for the bigger pieces cut off each end where the stem and the bottom would be, and then cut off each side so that you have a piece that is relatively rectangular in shape. For the smaller pieces just cut off the stem and bottom ends, the other two sides should already be straight. Make vertical cuts to give you apple slices of even thickness. Repeat with the other pieces of apple.
Take five slices of apple, and fan them out slightly. Place onto the frangipane filling lining up with the long edge (we will call this vertical). Take a second five slices (you can use extra slices from different apple segments, just stack them up before you fan them out, and place them the opposite way to the first group of apple slices (horizontal). Place them fairly close to the previous slices, as they will shrink down slightly. Place the next five vertical, and the next horizontal, and so on and so forth (see photos). Once you have placed down one apple’s worth of slices, brush with lemon juice, then repeat the process with another apple. Continue this until the pie is covered in apple slices.
Chill the pie in the fridge for 20 minutes. While the pie is resting, preheat the oven to 425°f/ 220°c. Place a baking tray on the bottom rack of the oven.
Brush the crimped edge of the pie pie with egg wash, and place onto the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes at 425°/220°, and then reduce the oven temperature to 375°/190° and bake for a further 35 to 40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown, the apples are beginning to go golden and are soft to the touch, and the frangipane is beginning to turn golden.
Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before glazing with the honey glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Place the honey, water, vanilla bean paste and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, boil on low heat for 1 minute, and then remove from the heat and set aside until ready to use.