Sunday, July 3, 2011

bigger is better

mixed berry slab pie
Pie is the quintessential American dessert and perfect for this weekend's backyard barbeques. . But what do you do when you need enough pie to feed a crowd? I ran into this very problem on Saturday. I could have baked several pies, but I used this opportunity to finally try baking a slab pie instead. A PIE AS BIG AS A HALF SHEET PAN. Thirteen by eighteen inches of buttery goodness.

I used Martha Stewart's slab pie recipe in her baking handbook as a starting point, but I had to adjust it slightly because the pan I used was bigger. The dough rolled out beautifully, though, even when I had to roll it to such an obscene size. I made the dough the night before and let it rest and hydrate in the fridge overnight. I cannot emphasize the importance of this step. Your dough will seem a bit dry the day you make it, but letting it sit overnight in your fridge allows the water to seep into every part of the dough, making it the perfect consistency for rolling. It's like magic!

I filled this pie with a mix of blueberries, blackberries and cherries and covered the top with some of my precious chouquette sugar that I spirited back from my stage in France. I baked the pie for an hour until the crust was golden and the fruit filling had just started to erupt through the top. If you bake it any longer, you run risk of cooking the filling into mush and I CAN'T STAND THAT. I want to be able to tell what the filling is by looking at it. One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone bakes an apple pie so long that they turn beautiful sliced apples into applesauce. PLEASE. Let's try to make pies and not pureed baby food.

I wish I could give you a picture of the inside, but I fear I cannot cut into it before it's served at the barbeque. Sigh.

Happy Independence Day!

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