A big slab pie is an easy way to serve a crowd, and this one has the perfect ratio of sweet, juicy apples to crisp crust. A generous amount of cheddar worked into the pastry dough—a play on the tradition of eating apple pie with a slice of cheese—adds a welcome hit of sharpness.
For the crust
2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1½ sticks (12 tablespoons) very cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 pounds McIntosh apples (about 12 apples), peeled, cored and thinly sliced
½ cup apple cider
¼ cup maple syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the whipped cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons maple syrup
To make the crust, combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and cheese and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
With the processor running, drizzle enough ice water through the feed tube until the dough just comes together (you may not use all of the water).
Remove the dough from the processor, shape into a disc, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (and up to 2 days) before rolling out.
To make the filling, combine the apples, cider, syrup, butter, and cinnamon in a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Simmer, stirring gently, just until the apples soften a bit and become glazed (you don’t want them turning to mush), about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle (don’t worry if the dough tears—you can patch it). Fit the dough into a 13 x 18-inch baking sheet, trimming it to fit, and folding the edges down to reinforce the sides of the tart.
Spread the cooled apple filling evenly over the dough.
Bake the tart until the crust is crisp and golden brown, 45 to 55 minutes.
While the tart bakes, combine the cream and maple syrup and beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serve the apple tart warm or at room temperature with dollops of whipped cream.