When you see one of th­ese rec­tan­gu­lar cre­ations filled with fruit, you will fall in love

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - LAU­REN CHATTMAN

If you are look­ing for an im­pres­sive yet ca­sual dessert, ap­pro­pri­ate for a sum­mer birth­day cel­e­bra­tion or a back­yard bar­be­cue, one that uses sum­mer fruit and is able to serve a dozen or more guests, look no fur­ther than slab pie.

“Slab” may not be the most ap­pe­tiz­ing word to de­scribe a pie, but when you see one of th­ese gi­ant rec­tan­gu­lar cre­ations, criss-crossed with golden pas­try and barely con­tain­ing a bounty of juicy berries, you will fall in love.

The tech­nique is fa­mil­iar: in­stead of fit­ting pie dough into a round pan, you fit the dough into a rimmed bak­ing sheet. Then you fill the bot­tom crust with sweet­ened fruit, top with strips of dough to cre­ate a lat­tice, and bake un­til bub­bling. The re­sult is twice as many serv­ings of fruity, flaky dessert for the same amount of work.

If you are a fan of crust (and who isn’t?), this is the pie for you. In ad­di­tion to an ex­tra-thick bot­tom crust (nec­es­sary so the ex­tra-large piece of raw pas­try doesn’t tear as you trans­fer it to the pan), there are many inches of cov­eted dou­ble-thick edges, and four cor­ner pieces for crust lovers to fight over.

An­other rea­son slab pie is ex­tra crispy/ flaky: it has pro­por­tion­ately less fruit than reg­u­lar pie, just enough to make a jam­like fill­ing to sand­wich the top and bot­tom crusts to­gether. A reg­u­lar 9-inch fruit pie con­tains about 5 cups of fruit. For a slab pie, about 8 cups of fruit in a 10-inch-by-14-inch pie is just right, pro­duc­ing a juicy pie that can still be cut into neat slices.

A lat­tice top gives slab pie a clas­sic look, but there are other ways to vent a pie crust so the liq­uid can evap­o­rate from the fruit while the pie bakes. In­stead of cut­ting half your pie dough into strips for weav­ing, just roll it into an­other 12-inch-by-16-inch rec­tan­gle and slide it on top of the fruit. Trim and crimp the edges. Then use a sharp par­ing knife to cut small slits in the top crust of the pie.

Mixed Berry Slab Pie MAKES 12 TO 16 SERV­INGS

Pie dough for 2 (9-inch) round dou­ble crust pies (about 2½ pounds), chilled 4 cups blue­ber­ries 2 cups rasp­ber­ries 2 cups black­ber­ries 3 ta­ble­spoons corn­starch 1 tea­spoon grated lemon zest ½ cup sugar plus more for sprin­kling 2 tbsp un­salted but­ter, cut into bits 1 large egg, lightly beaten

1. On a lightly floured coun­ter­top, roll out half the dough (if you are us­ing store­bought dough, press two crusts to­gether be­fore rolling) to a 12-by-17-inch rec­tan­gle. Trans­fer to a 10-by-15-inch rimmed bak­ing sheet. Cover with plas­tic wrap and re­frig­er­ate.

2. Line a rim­less bak­ing sheet with parch­ment pa­per. On the floured coun­ter­top, roll out the re­main­ing dough to a 12by-16-inch rec­tan­gle. Use a fluted pas­try cut­ter to cut the dough into 9 (1-by-16inch) strips. Lay four of the strips length­wise, one inch apart, on the lined bak­ing sheet. Weave the re­main­ing five strips in and out, cross­wise to cre­ate the lat­tice top. Cover with plas­tic wrap and re­frig­er­ate for at least 30 min­utes.

3. Pre­heat oven to 400 de­grees Fahren­heit. Ar­range a rack in the lower third of the oven. Com­bine the berries, corn­starch, lemon zest, and ½ cup sugar in a large bowl, mash­ing some of the berries against the side of the bowl to re­lease a lit­tle juice. Let stand, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, to dis­solve the sugar.

4. Spread the berry mix­ture evenly across the chilled bot­tom crust. Dot with but­ter. Care­fully slide the lat­tice top from the parch­ment to the pie. Trim the over­hang­ing top and bot­tom crusts with scis­sors so they over­hang the bak­ing sheet by half an inch. Fold the over­hang­ing dough un­der and tuck it into the pan. Crimp the edges. Brush the top and edges of the dough with the egg and sprin­kle with sugar.

5. Bake for 15 min­utes, lower the heat to 375 F, and con­tinue to bake un­til the crust is golden brown and the pie is bub­bling, 45 to 50 min­utes longer. Let cool on a wire rack to warm room tem­per­a­ture and serve warm. Or cool com­pletely and serve at room tem­per­a­ture.


A slab pie yields twice as many serv­ings as a con­ven­tional pie, with the same amount of work.

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