Kitchen STEM #1: Apple Slices (Pastry)

So… we have a bunch of apples on our counter that are starting to get just a little soft– not bad yet, but not-good enough that my kids won’t eat them. We could make a pie, of course, but I have a recipe for a slightly simpler apple pie-like dessert we call “Apple Slices”– “slices,” here being used in the British/Aussie sense.

Since I’m supposed to be teaching my kids science and math (among other things) while we’re all stuck at home, it occurred to me that I could combine a cooking project and a math/science lesson. I thought maybe some of you could adapt these questions for your own cooking project. OR, I’ve included the recipe for apple slices if you want to do this one.

Note: my kids are in 2nd grade, 1st grade, and pre-K, although they are working at least a grade ahead in math.  I expect to help them a LOT, not to do these questions on their own. For the research questions, I’m going to point them to Alton Brown’s cookbooks (which we own) I’m Just Here for the Food and I’m Just Here for (More) Food, and maybe a Good Eats episode if I can find one.


– Set out all the ingredients in the recipe. Draw a picture of all of them below.

– Weigh one apple. How many ounces is it?

– 1 pound = 16 ounces. Make a hypothesis: how many apples will be in one pound? Test your hypothesis. Were you right?

– How many ounces are in 2 ½ pounds? How many apples will that be? Test your answer and correct.

– Research: what is “parboil”?

– Research: what does lemon juice do to sliced apples? Why?

– Double the following ingredient amounts:
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
½ c. sugar

– Research: what counts as a “pastry”?

– Research: why do pastries require a special mixing technique?

– Research: for rolling out pastry dough, what kind of rolling pin is better and why:

– Convert: 375 degrees Fahrenheit is _____ degrees Celsius

– Research: What is a convection oven? What kind of baking is it best for?

– Test: How many minutes does it take for our oven to preheat?

– Test: Record the temperature of the baking item every 5 minutes during baking.

– Do: Set a timer for the baking time.

– Draw the finished product below.

RECIPE: Apple Slices

3 c. flour
1 c. butter, cold
½ c. water
pinch of salt

2-1/2 lb. apples (approx. 7-8), cored and sliced into thin wedges (peeling not necessary)1/2 c. sugar or splenda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 c. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/4 c. milk

– Parboil apple slices until tender, drain, and then stir with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon juice.
– Blend flour and salt, then cut cold butter into the mixture with a pastry blender until crumbly. Gently stir in water just until wet.
– Cut pastry dough in half and roll each half out on floured wax paper into 9×13″ thin crust. (The dough will be very flaky before it is rolled.)
– Lay one crust on bottom of greased 9×13″ pan. Cover with seasoned apples. Lay other crust on top of apple layer.
– Bake at 375° for 35-45 minutes.
– Make thin glaze by blending powdered sugar and butter, then thinning with milk.
– Pour glaze over top crust immediately on removal from oven.
– Let cool completely before serving.

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