Friday, April 6, 2018

Open-Faced Apple Sheet Pan Pie

AKA, The Last of the Northern Spies

Since I’m still cleaning and sorting, I’m kind of letting serendipity choose my recipes, as I did last week. This time a yellowed newspaper clipping magically rose from the mess. I’d cut off the margins, so I have no idea where it came from, although I’d guess it was the Boston Globe. The deciding factor was that one of the apples mentioned in the recipe was Northern Spy, and I still have a supply of those from last year. So, since spring is nowhere in evidence here, I’ll call this the Last of the Northern Spy Apples.

This has only the one crust on the bottom (saves rolling!), and no topping, so feel free to add whipped cream or ice cream.

Open-Faced Apple Sheet Pan Pie



2 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tblsp sugar
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut up
1 small (3-oz.) package cream cheese, cut up
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp white vinegar
4 Tblsp ice water

Find yourself a quarter sheet pan (9x13 inches—ideally it would have a low rim, but a regular baking pan works, as long as the size is right). Line the bottom with parchment paper. 

In a food processor, combine the dry ingredients and pulse to blend them. Add the butter and cream cheese and continue pulsing until the mixture forms crumbs.

In a bowl, stir together the egg, vinegar and water. Open the food processor and sprinkle the liquid all over the dry ingredients. Put the lid back on and pulse briefly, only until the mixture forms large damp clumps. Add more ice water if needed, a Tblsp at a time. (This will not form a ball, but don’t worry.)

Turn the clumpy mixture out on a floured board or countertop. Kind of chop the clumps together with a large knife or scraper until they form a dough. Wrap it in foil, then form into a flat rectangle and refrigerate for an hour.

Roll out the pastry on a floured board and make a 10” x 14” rectangle. Turn it regularly to keep the rectangular shape. [Note: you know how hard it is to make tidy corners with pie crust? Just do your best. I will say the crust is pretty elastic and didn’t fall apart with handling.]

Well, it's not quite a rectangle

Ease the crust into the pan and press it into the edges and up the sides of the pan. Fold the excess dough over the edges. Press against the sides of the pan with a fork. Refrigerate or freeze the pan.

Apple Filling

9 large baking apples (Northern Spy, in this case)
3 Tblsp butter, cut up
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
4 Tblsp flour
Cinnamon sugar: 3 Tblsp sugar and 1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Peel, core and thinly slice 3 of the apples. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, melt 2 Tblsp of the butter. When melted, add the sliced apples and sprinkle with the 1/4-cup of sugar and the salt.

Cook, stirring gently with a heatproof rubber spatula, until the sugar melts. Lower the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Spread the apples on a plate or shallow bowl to cool.

Gradually fold 3 Tblsp of the flour into the mixture. Spread the apple mixture over the pastry to make a single layer. Sprinkle with the remainder of the flour.

Peel, core and thickly slice the remaining apples. In a bowl, toss the apples with all but 1 Tblsp of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Arrange the apples (rounded side up) on top of the layer of sauteed apples. Dot with the remaining butter and sprinkle with the rest of the cinnamon sugar.

Bake on the bottom rack of the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the apples are tender and the pastry is golden at the edges.

Set on a wire rack to cool slightly.  Serve warm, cut into squares.

Now I'll have to start thinking about getting my apple trees ready for a new season!

Books: There should be a new Relatively Dead e-book in the next few weeks--we're still wrestling with the title and cover, although the book is written. 

Then Murder at the Mansion will kick off the new Victorian Village series in June. 

Katherine Hamilton’s goal in high school was to escape from her dead-end hometown of Asheford, Maryland. Fifteen years later she’s got a degree in hospitality management and a great job at a high-end boutique hotel in Baltimore. Until, that is, the hotel is acquired by a chain, and she’s laid off. When Kate’s high school best friend calls with a mysterious invitation to come talk with the town leaders of Asheford, she agrees to make the trip, curious about where this new opportunity might lead.
Once Kate arrives, the town council members reveal that their town is on the verge of going bankrupt, and they’ve decided that Kate’s skills and knowledge make her the perfect person to cure all their ills. The town has used its last available funds to buy the huge Victorian mansion just outside of town, hoping to use it to attract some of the tourists who travel to visit the nearby Civil War battle sites. Kate has less-than-fond memories of the mansion, for personal reasons, but to make matters worse, the only person who has presented a possible alternate plan is Cordelia Walker―Kate’s high school nemesis.
But a few days later, while touring the mansion, Kate stumbles over Cordelia's body. Kate finds herself juggling the murder investigation and her growing fascination with the old house, which itself is full of long-hidden mysteries. 

You can pre-order it at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

And! Looks like there will be a new Orchard Mystery in the fall! Watch for more details.


  1. I love the idea of a sheet pan pie! Looking forward to my next feeding of a crowd with this recipe.

  2. It's easy (especially if you can recruit someone to do the peeling!) and tasty. I was pleased by the crust recipe, because I always wrestle with pie crusts. This one held together well, even though it was pretty thin. I think it's a keeper!

  3. I'll have to keep this recipe in mind for the next family dinner.

  4. I love Northern Spy apples. I used to get them from a guy with a little orchard in his yard on the back-road on the way to my mother's.
    I'm intrigued by the double layer of apples, pre-cooked and not.
    The new books sound great!

    1. I thought that double-layer thing was interesting. It makes sense--I think the apples would dry out if placed directly on the crust, since the whole thing is kind of thin. Both layers stayed nice and moist.

      I bought the Northern Spy tree in Western Mass., not far from where the Orchard Mysteries are set (and made my daughter drive it back in her Honda--but daughter, Honda and tree all survived. It's a great "unknown" apple--not too sweet, not to tart, and it keeps well (since I harvested these in November and most of them were still fine this past week.