Making a slab pie has been on my bucket list for years--why, oh why am I such a procrastinator?!! Think of all the missed years of deliciousness!! No, I will not get sucked into the negativity, so here's my restart: Take advantage of all the wonderful stone fruit around now and make a slab pie today. The time (and the fruit) is ripe!!
Last week to celebrate my birthday, my husband, daughter, one of my sisters and her two girls went fruit picking, specifically peaches and nectarines and we even managed to score some early season apples. It was such a gorgeous day and we all had so much fun (including a drive home by our newest driver!!) and the fruit was just amazing in that way that only fresh-from-the-farm picked fruit can be. Look at those luscious nectarines!
Loaded down with over (yikes) $70 worth of fruit, I knew that I would have to do some serious baking if we were to make it through our rather zealous harvest. Immediately my mind turned to slab pie since it uses a lot of fruit and I've been longing to make one all summer!!!
Thank goodness for that longing because guys, this is one amazing pie in so many ways! Not only is it fabulous in the taste department, but I found it much more forgiving and easy to put together, at least in terms of the crust, than traditional pie-plate pies. The crust for this comes together easily in the food processor and then gets rolled out into a general rectangular shape, which gets pressed into a jelly roll pan. And if t's not perfect, no worries, because you can always trim off some of the overhang and patch the corners or sides if necessary like I did. Who's gonna know?
Then all you do is fill it with a simple fruit mixture--I used sliced nectarines but this would work equally well with peaches or a combo or with sweet plums too, though you might want to up the sugar a bit in that case.
Next, you roll out the top crust and fit it over the filling.
Once you pinch the edges closed and crimp a bit if you like, you cut some slits so that the steam can escape and bake.
What emerges is a pan filled to the brim with golden flaky crust and juicy, stunning nectarines. It's so homey, comforting and big enough to feed a large crowd--thank goodness my extended family was happy to partake!!
Every bite is a treat for your mouth!
Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and...HEAVEN!!!! What are you waiting for?!!
Nectarine Slab Pie
Makes enough pie for a large crowd
You will need a food processor or electric mixer for the dough. You can do it by hand but it's a lot of time and effort.
Prep Time for Crust: 15 minutes, plus at least one hour chilling time and up to 24; Prep Time for filling: 15 minutes; Assembly Time: 10-12 minutes; Bake Time: About one hour
For the crust
- 5 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus additional flour for rolling out
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups (4 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and chilled
- ⅔ cup ice water (you may need a bit more if dough seems dry)
For the filling
- 4 pounds ripe nectarines, use a small sharp knife to cut a small x into the bottom of each one
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- The finely grated zest of one small lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1. To make the crust: place the flour, salt and 2 tablespoons sugar in the large bowl of a food processor and blend together. Add in the butter and pulse until the mixture is a coarse meal with little pebble sized pieces of butter. Unless you have a really large food processor this may seem too much for the bowl. If that's the case, you can also mix this in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or do it by hand with a pastry blender but it'll just take a lot of time and energy. With the processor or mixer running, drizzle in the ice water until the dough begins to hold together in a crumbly way. When you squeeze it it should hold together--try not to overmix. If it's too crumbly add more cold water, a tablespoonful at a time. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface, divide it half, flatten into 2 disks, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour in the fridge and up to 24 hours.
2. When ready to bake pie, preheat oven to 400ºF and remove dough disks from fridge. Bring a large pot of water to boil and fill a large bowl with ice and water and set it next to the stove. When water is boiling, use a slotted spoon to add nectarines to the boiling water (you will have to do this in batches unless you use a huge pot) and let cook for 1 minute. Then use same spoon to drain nectarines, removing them from water and right into the ice water bath bowl. Let them sit a couple of minutes to cool. Remove from water and peel. The skins should slide right off. Slice nectarines thinly right into a large bowl (they will be kind of slippery and messy at this point) and discard pits. Add the 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest and juice to the fruit and toss well.
3. Lightly flour a board or work surface and a rolling pin and roll out one dough half into a large rectangle, about 12x16-inches. Carefully roll it over rolling pin and unfold into a 10x14x1-inch rimmed jelly roll pan (or about that size) and press gently down on the dough to fit it into corners. If you have uncovered spots, cut off any overhang and press those into the empty places. Lightly brush the edges of the dough with water.
4. Pour the filling evenly on top of the dough and then roll out the second disk, same as the first. Place it on top of the filling and press the two doughs together to seal. Fold over any overhang and crimp the edges with your fingers in some sort of decorative pattern. Use a paring knife to cut slits on the top to vent the pie at varying intervals, at least 6 or so. Cover the rack below the one you are going to bake the pie on with another pan or a piece of aluminum foil to catch the drips.
5. Place the pie in the oven and immediately turn it down to 375ºF. Bake for about 1 hour, until the top is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling and juicy. You can eat this right away, but for neat slices, allow it to cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
Note: Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart. I subbed in nectarines for the peaches and changed the techniques a bit.