Entertaining a crowd? A caramel apple slab pie is the perfect fall dessert. Sliced apples are doused in homemade caramel sauce and baked in a buttery, flaky crust. Extra points for fun fall decorations!
Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to mix.
Add the cold, chopped butter and pulse about 10 -12 times until the butter is cut into the flour mixture and it's pea size.
Pour in about 2/3 of the ice water and pulse a few more times until a ball begins to form, adding more water as needed. Be careful not to overmix. The dough should not be completely blended, it will come together on the counter. (Alternatively the dough can be made by hand.)
Scrape dough onto the counter, divide it in two (one slightly larger than the other) and form into two flat discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight. (Dough can also be frozen for several weeks. Defrost in refrigerator before proceeding.)
Combine brown sugar and half and half in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
Add vanilla and salt and cook until it reaches 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Keep the caramel sauce warm.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a half sheet tray (or jellyroll pan) with parchment paper. Using the slightly larger dough, roll the pie dough into a large rectangle that measures 16x20 inches and lay it in the sheet pan with the edges slightly overlapping the sides. Place in the refrigerator to chill while you prep the apples.
Place each apple half on the cutting board, flat side down. Slice very thinly, leaving the halves together.
Remove the rolled pie crust and the other disc of dough from the refrigerator to warm up slightly. Arrange the apple halves in rows of four, fanning the apples slightly. Brush the apples with the caramel sauce.
Roll the remaining dough into a large rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Cut five long strips (that fit lengthwise on the sheet pan) and six strips (that fit crosswise on the pan), about 1 inch thick. Twist them decoratively and weave them in a lattice pattern, around each apple half.
Use a decorative leaf cutter or stamper and cut out a variety of leaves in different shapes and sizes to decorate the edges of the pie.
Adhere the leaves with a brush of half and half and brush the edges and leaves with half and half.
Bake until apples are tender and bubbling and crust is golden brown, about 1 hour - 1 hour 30 mins. Cover the pie, or just the edges of the pie loosely with aluminum foil if they're browning too quickly.