Slab pies are all the rage – just look at how many are pictured on Pinterest. They are seen on the Food Channel and all over social media. A slab pie is simply a shallow pie that’s made in a 17X15-inch rimmed baking sheet, the kind you use to bake cookies or chicken fingers. Slab pies will feed more family and friends this Rosh Hashanah than a standard 9-inch round pie would, with less mess and fuss.
Slab pies are a boon to pie lovers everywhere. Not only will they feed a crowd, but there will probably still be leftovers to offer seconds. It’s always nice to have the opportunity to indulge yourself with an extra slice. If you’re lucky enough, there may even be a slice of pie left over for breakfast!
A slab pie is convenient, too. The dough can be made all at once, rather than having to roll out and cut the pastry for two separate pies. If you like to plan ahead, you can make the pie dough days ahead of time. Often the fillings can be prepared a day before baking, stored, tightly wrapped in plastic, in the fridge.
As with regular pies, the fillings can be made with juicy sweet or tart fruits, creamy concoctions like coconut or banana, and an unlimited array of different savoury fillings made with vegetables, cheeses, vegetable protein and/or meats. The edges of the crusts can be fluted, pinched, folded or twirled. As well, slab pies can be given lattice toppings, crumble toppings or cutouts including polka-dots, squares or hearts.
Slab pies are delicious baked the same day you plan to serve them, but no one will ever know if you bake the pie the day before. If made ahead, store any fruit or vegetable slab pies on the counter top covered in foil, not plastic. Any pies filled with dairy products, vegetable protein or meat fillings must be stored, also covered in foil, in the refrigerator.
Made-ahead slab pies can be gently reheated at 300 for about 15-20 minutes, depending on the oven and the depth of the pie. The pie should be protected by foil to prevent over-browning. The reheated pie must be piping hot. Before serving, test in the very middle of the pie.
Lattice-top nectarine slab pie
This sweet-tart lattice-top peach or nectarine slab pie is a great way to feed a crowd. Make sure it cools before serving, if you can wait that long.
o 5 cups all-purpose flour
o 1/2 tsp. salt
o 5 tbsp. sugar
o 1 lb. pareve margarine, cold
o 1 1/3 cup ice water
o 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
o 2 tbsp. cornstarch
o 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
o 2 tbsp. lemon juice
o zest from one lemon
o 1 tsp. pure vanilla
o 10 cups fresh sliced nectarines
o 1 egg, beaten
o 1 tbsp. sugar
Plan to make the dough in two batches.
Combine flour, salt, and sugar in the food processor. Break up the cold margarine into smaller pieces and add to flour mixture, combining it with flour mixture with several pulses. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube just until the dough holds together.
Empty work bowl out onto a lightly floured surface. If dough is sticky add up to 2 tablespoons of flour. Dough should feel silky. Gather dough into a ball, divide in two, flatten into discs, and wrap each tightly with plastic wrap. Chill both discs for 30 minutes, or up to two days, in the refrigerator.
When ready to bake, roll each piece on a floured board to 19 x 17-inches. Chill again until used.
Heat oven to 375. Position oven rack in bottom third of oven. Prepare a 17×15-in. baking sheet, lightly sprayed with canola oil.
In large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla. Add peaches and toss to coat. Set aside.
Fit one piece of pastry dough into the prepared pan Allow excess dough to hang over the edge. Do not trim. Pour peach filling into crust and smooth with an offset spatula.
The second piece of dough is to be cut into 24 1-inch strips. Work quickly to weave your lattice over the top. Either lay 12 strips horizontally and 12 vertically, or lay 12 diagonally and the remaining 12 on the opposite diagonal. If you wish to weave the lattice; start with one side of 12 and then at one end, weave one strip at a time over and under. Brush lattice crust with beaten egg. Then evenly sprinkle lattice with the sugar. Crimp up the edges into an in and out pattern.
Bake for 45-55 minutes, until bubbly and lightly golden. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely before slicing. Serves between 12 and 25, depending on slice size.
Cashew chicken slab pie
This is a wonderful one-dish dinner packed with taste, protein and vegetables, a meal the whole family will love!
o 5 cups all-purpose flour
o 1 tsp. salt
o 1 lb. pareve margarine, cold
o 1 1/4 cups ice water
o 6 medium sized chicken breasts, cut into 1-in. pieces (see note below)
o 2 cups diced celery
o 4 red bell peppers, chopped into bite size pieces
o 4 green bell peppers, chopped into bite size pieces
o 4 green onions, chopped
o 2 cups cashews, salted, unsalted or a mix of both
o 4 tbsp. light soy sauce
o 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
o 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
o 1/4 cup dry sherry
o 1 tbsp. packed brown sugar
o 1 tbsp. minced garlic
o 1 tbsp. minced ginger
o 1 tsp. cumin
o 1/4 tsp.salt
o 1 tsp. pepper
Plan to divide the dough in two batches if you have less than a 12-cup food processor. Otherwise, in processor, combine flour and salt in the food processor. Break up 1/2 the cold margarine into smaller pieces and add to flour mixture. Combine with flour mixture with several pulses. Repeat with remaining margarine. With the machine running pour the ice water down the feed tube just until the dough holds together.
Empty work bowl out onto a lightly floured surface. If dough is sticky, add up to 2 tbsp. of flour. Dough should feel silky. Gather dough into a ball and flatten into two discs, and wrap tightly with plastic. Chill both discs for 30 minutes, or up to two days, in the refrigerator.
When ready to bake, roll each piece on a floured board to 19x 17-in. Chill again until used.
Prepare a 17 x 15-in. baking pan very lightly with canola oil spray.
Preheat oven to 375.
Place one pie crust on the bottom of the prepared baking pan, making sure the crust covers up and over the sides of the pan. Combine chicken, celery and bell peppers, green onions and cashews in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sherry, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, cumin, salt and pepper. Chicken mixture, without cashews, may be combined with dressing and placed in refrigerator to marinate. In this case, add cashews before baking. Or pour dressing over the chicken, cashews and vegetables and place evenly over bottom crust. Place top crust over top of the filling and pinch both layers together, then crimp the joined layers all around the dish.
Use a sharp knife to cut steam vents, or make fancier cutouts in the top crust.
Bake 60-70 minutes uncovered, or until middle of the pie is piping hot. Remove from oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Makes 6 – 8 servings (as a dinner portion)
Note: Extra-firm tofu, in a similar amount, may be substituted for the chicken. Cut into 1 inch squares and poke each square all around with a fork to help the dressing soak in. Marinating tofu in dressing is recommended