Summertime is definitely time for pie. With all the great fruits available the options are endless. Pie harkens back to yesteryear with homey flavors and rustic sensibilities that make us all feel a spiritual coziness as though we were once again 5 years old in our Grandmother’s kitchens. On a farm.
I have always wanted to make a Slab Pie. For those unfamiliar with them, slab pies have all the components of a traditional round pie, a lovely crust and lip-smacking fruit filling, but they are made in a baking sheet for a flatter handheld pie or a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish for deep dish rectangular slices.
I’m not a dainty baker and find pie crusts, especially those gluten-free, can be temperamental either becoming too heavy or dense, not rolling out well or baking in that Martha Stewart visual we all love. A slab pie offers a more relaxed posture, still with a crust but not a fussy one with frilly edging. It’s really about the filling to me with a good crust wrapped around it.
We have been enjoying all the stone fruits available right now. Stone fruits are of course any fruits with a dedicated pit such as peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots and cherries (as well as hybrids like pluots). Instead of dedicating this pie to only one or two fruits, I went for a mix of them all. The color was gorgeous before and after backing and the flavor divine.
I seriously thought after taking my first bite that this pie ‘tastes like happiness’. I passed out portions topped with a helping of Grilled Peach Mascarpone Ice Cream to a friend working on our back fence and his coworker who were thrilled. Really, is there anything better on a hot summer day?
I made it again a few days later and took it to party along with some Vanilla Ice Cream I smoked with my handheld smoker and it received equally good reviews. One great reason to make a slab pie is for a large gathering. It can be cut into whatever size pieces you desire but will at a minimum serve 15-20. Don’t let summer pass you by without making this slab pie (no rhyme intended)!
Mixed Stone Fruit Slab Pie
Ingredients for Crust: see notes
- 5 cups All Purpose Flour (regular or gluten-free measure for measure flour blend)
- 5 sticks Unsalted Butter, cold cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 8-12 tablespoons Ice Water
Ingredients for the filling:
- 5 ½ pounds mixed stone fruit: peaches , nectarines, apricots, plums, cherries; pitted, sliced into ½ inch slices (no peeling required)
- 3 tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 1/3 cup Instant Tapioca
- ¾ cup Granulated Sugar
- ½ cup Light Brown Sugar
- Zest of 2 Lemons
- Zest of 1 Lime
- ½ teaspoon Nutmeg , freshly ground if possible
Ingredients for top crust wash:
- 1 tablespoon Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 Egg , room temperature and lightly beaten
- Medium size Star Cookie Cutter
- Optional: Coarse Grain Sanding Sugar
Instructions for making the bottom crust
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine 2 ½ cups flour and ½ teaspoon salt; pulse to blend. Add 2 ½ sticks butter (pieces) and process until the mixture forms a pebble-like texture.
- While the food processor is running, add the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time allowing the dough to become smooth (note: 4 tablespoons was perfect for my crust).
- Remove the crust from the food processor and form a ball. Pat the ball down to make a disk, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until fully chilled (2-3 hours; can be left overnight).
- REPEAT steps above for a second crust.
- When the crust is fully chilled, remove onefrom the refrigerator and roll out to a 11” x 15” rectangle. Note: if the dough is too firm to roll, allow to sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes until it can be rolled. Lightly dust the rolling pin with flour is the dough sticks. Transfer the dough to the 9” x 13” pan, pressing the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Place back in the refrigerator while making the pie filling.
Instructions for the filling:
- Place the stone fruits in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the fruit. In a smaller mixing bowl mix together the tapioca, sugars, lemon zest and nutmeg. Sprinkle the mixture over the fruit and mix well to fully coat all the fruit. Allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Instructions for making the top crust stars:
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Combine the heavy cream and lightly beaten egg; whisk together. Set aside at room temperature.
- After the filling has been sitting for 20 minutes, remove the baking pan with bottom crust from the refrigerator. Spoon the filling and any juices into the crust.
- Take the second crust out of the refrigerator and roll it out on waxed paper or a rolling cloth to be ¼ inch thick. Using a medium star cookie cutter cut out stars and place them on top of the fruit in the pan. Continue until the dough has been used up, overlapping the starts on one another. Tip: if the dough becomes too warm during the rolling, gently fold it over inside the waxed paper or rolling cloth and place in the freezer for 5 minutes until is stiffens up again.
- Lightly brush the stars with the cream/egg mixture. Sprinkle with coarse grain sanding sugar (optional).
- Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven (middle rack) for 20 minutes and lower the heat to 375 degrees. Continue to bake for an additional 50 minute until the top crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Note: if the top crust begins to darken more than a golden color, place a sheet of foil lightly over the top to protect it.
- Remove and place on a cooling rack to fully cool before serving. Note: the integrity of gluten-free baked goods is always best when allowed to fully cool.
Adapted from the New York Times.
NOTE: These ingredients will be DOUBLED to make two separate crust recipes. Total ingredient measurements for the 2 crusts combined are shown.