Feeling overwhelmed this Thanksgiving? Simplify your dessert strategy with a slab pie. Baked in a rectangular pan, this fine finish can feed a crowd with less fuss.
“The plus side is it’s definitely a lot less mess,” said Anita Harrison, bakery manager at Highland Orchards in West Chester. “You can make enough for 24 people, which would be like three (round) pies.”
“It’s like the sheet-cake equivalent of pie, I would say. It does serve a lot of people like a sheet,” agreed pastry chef Holly Haas of Frecon Farms in Boyertown. “It’s also a lot thinner like a tart.”
That thinner crust reminds Lansdale’s Adam Griniusz, aka Adam the Pastry Chef, of his native Hungary.
“The pie we make in Europe is more like a slab pie,” he described. “I’m a big fan of the crust — the homemade crust from scratch.”
When it comes to recipes, Griniusz shared one for a crust “that never gets hard or soggy.”
Haas offered a maple pumpkin slab pie with brown sugar oatmeal crumb. And Highland Orchards suggested a slab apple pie.
“Apple and pumpkin — they’re our top sellers,” Harrison said.
Or try something different like a chocolate cream slab pie, courtesy of The Kitchen Workshop in Paoli.
Whichever you choose, remember…
“If you are making your own pie dough, you can make it a week ahead,” Haas explained. But “assemble no more than two days ahead.”
Slab Apple Pie
1½ cups flour
1½ tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup shortening
2 egg yolks, beaten
4 tablespoons water
8 apples - peeled, cored and cut into thin slices
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons flour
1¾ cups sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix egg yolk and water together and mix into flour until it forms a ball. Roll out to fit the bottom of a 10-by-15-inch pan. In a large bowl, combine apples, lemon juice, flour, sugar and cinnamon. Pour filling into pie crust and dot with butter.
Topping: In a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, brown sugar and butter. Cut in the butter until crumbly, then sprinkle over apples.
Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes or until topping is golden brown.
RECIPE COURTESY OF HIGHLAND ORCHARDS
Maple Pumpkin Slab Pie with Brown Sugar Oatmeal Crumb
Servings: 16 to 18 (18-by-13-inch pan)
Homemade pie dough
1½ cups brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2½ cups canned pumpkin
2 cups evaporated milk
1 tablespoon maple extract
For crumb topping:
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ cup (1 stick) butter, cold, cubed
¾ cup rolled oats
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your 18-by-13-inch pan by spraying with oil and set aside. Roll out your pie dough into a 20-by-15-inch rectangle, leaving enough dough to go up the side of your pan. After you have your pie dough rolled out, place the dough in your pan. Roll the edges of the dough under until it meets the edge of the pan. Set aside.
To make the filling, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, ground ginger and ground cloves in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk until combined eggs, canned pumpkin, evaporated milk and maple extract. Finally whisk the dry ingredients into the wet until combined. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and top with crumb topping
To make the crumb topping, mix brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs; it will go from a light brown to a golden brown color and have a slight wet-sand texture when properly mixed. Add oats and mix until combined.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the pie is set and the crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely before enjoying!
RECIPE COURTESY OF PASTRY CHEF HOLLY HAAS
Chocolate Cream Slab Pie
Servings: at least 12
1 store-bought pie crust
2 cups sugar
3½ cups cold heavy cream
1½ cups buttermilk
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 pinch salt
8 egg yolks
8 ounces high-quality chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup powdered sugar
Chocolate shavings or sprinkles for topping
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Roll your pie crust out onto an 18-by-13-inch baking sheet. I used a full batch of the pie crust above, which resulted in a slightly thicker crust. You could use half the batch and make a thinner crust. Place a piece of parchment paper over the pie dough and cover the top with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the crust for 20 to 30 minutes or until it’s just slightly golden and flakey. Remove from the oven and let the crust cool completely.
Add the sugar, 1½ cups heavy cream, buttermilk, cornstarch and salt to a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, until it thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Reduce the mixture to a simmer and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Place the egg yolks in a bowl and lightly beat them. Steam ½ cup of the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks while stirring constantly. Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the milk and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. Stir until it is combined and very think, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and pour it into a bowl. Stir in the chocolate, butter and vanilla until it is melted and combined. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the chocolate pudding and stick it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Add the remaining cold heavy cream to the bowl of your electric mixer and beat on medium high speed until peaks form. Add in the powdered sugar and beat until combined. Remove pudding from the fridge and fold ½ cup of the whipped cream into the chocolate. Stick the remaining whipped cream in the fridge. Spread the chocolate evenly over the pie crust. Refrigerate the pie for at least 4 hours before serving. Right before serving, spread the whipped cream on top and cover with some chocolate shavings or sprinkles (chocolate jimmies).
RECIPE COURTESY OF THE KITCHEN WORKSHOP
Double Pie Crust
Makes a double crust for a 10-by-15-inch jelly roll pan.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks ice-cold butter cut into small pieces (for best result, leave the butter in the freezer overnight)
12 tablespoons ice water
Zest of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon sugar
In a food processor, mix flour, salt and butter (and optional sugar). Pulse three times with three counts per pulse. Add the ice water (and optional lemon zest). Pulse one or two times just until the dough just starts come together and starts to get a little crumbly. Dump the crumbly dough into a bowl and gather the dough into a ball using hands. Do it as fast as you can; try not to overwork the dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it set in the refrigerator for 1 hour before using it.
Tip: If a recipe does not call for blind baking, then brush the crust with egg wash and let it completely dry before adding the filling. This way the crust won’t get soggy.
RECIPE COURTESY OF ADAM THE PASTRY CHEF