Slab Pie

At some point in July, I recalled that I’d read once about a flat pie. Not a galette or a free-form, open-pie. A large, flat, double-crusted pie that was perfect for sharing with a large group of people, without a high ridge of crust along the edge that I can never get through since there’s never enough filling to go along with it.

The internet confirmed what I remembered. Slab pies do indeed exist! I’d bought blackberries on a whim, since they were at a great price, but eating a few reminded me that I still don’t like blackberries that much on their own, even if I do have relatively good fruit. They were definitely destined for pie.

I settled on the Slab Pie recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I’ve made 2 versions of it – one with blackberries, cherries, and blueberries, and the other with peaches and blueberries. The berry one was fine, but peach-blueberry won by a large margin in my book. I also made a margarine crust (pictured below), and a butter crust. Definitely go with a butter crust.

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Slab Pie
 
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Ingredients
  • 3¾ cups flour (475 grams)
  • 1½ tbsp sugar
  • 1½ tsp table salt
  • 3 sticks cold butter (use the real stuff - it's far superior to margarine here)
  • 1½ cups ice water
  • 6 cups fruit (mixed berries; I also used 4½ cups slices peaches and 1½ cups blueberries)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch (a heaping ¼ cup for peaches)
  • juice of half a lemon
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp milk, to brush on the crust
  • sugar, to sprinkle on the crust before baking
Instructions
  1. Toss together flour, sugar, and salt in a very large bowl. Cut sticks of butter into ½-inch pieces. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is the size of small peas.
  2. Drizzle ¾ cup of the ice water into the flour mixture slowly, being careful not to deposit any ice cubes in the bowl. Use a rubber spatula to fold the mixture to distribute the water. Drizzle in additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough begins to come together in large clumps. Use your clean hands to gently knead the clumps of dough into one mass.
  3. Divide the dough into two uneven balls of dough; you need a slightly larger piece for the bottom crust, and a slightly larger piece for the top crust. Place each piece on plastic wrap and shape into a rough rectangle, then seal tightly. Refrigerate dough for 1-2 hours before rolling out.
  4. When you're ready to make the pie, preheat the oven to 375F. Combine fruit, sugar, cornstarch, lemon, and the pinch of salt in a bowl. Mix well, and set aside.
  5. Line your sheet pan with parchment paper, letting it hang over the sides; this will protect your pan from blueberry stains, and will allow you to remove the pie from the pan for cutting. Remove the larger piece of dough from the fridge. On a well-floured surface, roll it out into a 18x12 inch rectangle, or a size 2-3 inches larger than your sheet pan. Use plenty of flour to keep the dough from sticking. Try to keep your dough cold as much as possible. Gently fold your dough into quarters (I usually put a piece of plastic wrap between the layers to keep them separate), and carefully transfer to the dough to the sheet pan. The dough will hang over the sides.
  6. Pour the prepared fruit mixture into the sheet pan and spread evenly. Try to get the sugary goo even as well. Place pan in the fridge.
  7. Remove the smaller piece of dough from the fridge and roll out on a well-floured surface to a size 1-inch larger than your sheet pan. Remove the sheet pan from the fridge and top with the dough. Line up the dough evenly on the sheet pan. Fold the edges of the bottom dough over the top dough and pinch to seal. Use a fork to prick the top crust all over. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
  8. Bake until crust is brown and filling is bubbly, 40-55 minutes (mine baked for 40). Cool on a wire rack for about an hour to let the filling set. I used a pizza cutter to cut mine. Serve warm or at room temperature; both are delicious.

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The pie was really amazing. I liked it more with the butter crust than with the margarine crust. The butter crust was flakier and tastier. I also preferred the peach and blueberry filling over the berry filling. Both versions were perfectly sweet; I just like peaches over blackberries. This recipe has the perfect ratio of fruit to crust, and the right ratio of goo to fruit. The pie wasn’t too runny, although the peach version did ooze a little. You could easily eat the berry version with your hands if you wanted to. I also liked that you didn’t end up with this giant ridge of crust that you had to work through without fruit filling. This pie yielded enough to share with a large potluck. You can easily serve 20 with it – fewer if your guests are extra hungry, more if you cut the pie pieces smaller. I will definitely make this again.

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