Pastry

A Genius Slab Pie Template, for Any Fruit Growing Near You

June 28, 2017

With Genius Recipes correspondent Kristen off in a dark, cookie-filled cave somewhere finishing up the Genius Desserts cookbook manuscript, we're re-running our best ever Genius summer desserts. Wish her luck! And make this pie.

slab pie

There are a lot of ways to make a slab pie, and Martha Stewart, bless her, has made them all. She might have invented the whole genre.

Now, if you haven't heard of slab pie, you're not alone—it's surprisingly under the radar still. Let's change that.

A slab pie is simply a shallow pie that's made in a rimmed baking sheet, usually a jelly roll pan. It feeds more revelers than a standard 9-inch pie will, with less mess and fuss.

slab pie

It's a pie in a sensible bar cookie outfit; a hand pie, without having to shape a bunch of hand pies; a boon to crust-lovers everywhere. It is, essentially, a Pop-Tart.

And I'm not kidding that Martha has made them all. She's published slab pies in strawberry-rhubarb, peach-raspberry, and quince. She's fluted and folded and twirled their edges, given them peek-a-boo slits and polka-dots. (Just look at how in her element she is—here and here. She was born for this.)

More: Get Martha's Macaroni and Cheese recipe. It's the best.

berries

In Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook, there is a pure distillation of all of these recipes: a slab pie template, for any fruit growing near you. Here we used mixed berries, because we're feeling patriotic.

Here are the bones of the recipe, with a lot of pictures: Make a simple pâte brisée in your food processor (or by hand).

pate brisee

  butter peas

ice water  dough

Mix fruit with sugar, lemon, and salt, and cornstarch to thicken.

berry filling

Roll out two wide sheets of dough.

pie dough

 

Layer them in a jelly roll pan with fruit filling sandwiched between.

bottom crust 

pate brisee 

Paint the top with cream and rough it up with sanding sugar. Bake.

cream wash

I'll be honest: trying to roll out pâte brisée into a perfect 18-by-13-inch rectangle could rattle even the most experienced baker (and I'm not the most experienced baker)—so don't worry about it. Just because Martha can do it, blindfolded and perched on one stiletto-ed foot, doesn't mean you have to.

measuring

Don't let dough get you down! If fissures emerge, you can patch them by repurposing longer, scraggly edges. If it starts to stick, put it in the fridge (or freezer) for a timeout, then flour and smooth any sticky patches when it's cooler and more trustworthy.

pie dough crack fix  sticky dough fix

And if your 18-by-13-inch rectangle is more of a trapezoid or triangle or trippy freeform starfish, don't worry—there's plenty of extra dough in this recipe to keep rolling till you can trim it down to a rectangle-ish.

trim pastry dough

For the filling, you have a couple options. If you want to serve it on plates with forks, you can bump up the fruit amount—it will be sloshy and ooze molten berries (or peaches or cherries) as you plate it. But if you want people to be able to snatch it up like a Pop-Tart while they mill around drinking, stick with 6 cups of fruit. 

slab pie

Most important of all, remember this thing is called slab pie—it sounds like something Barney Rubble made. Rustic is a good look for it. Call it shabby caveman, and even Martha would approve.

slab pie low low low

Martha Stewart's Slab Pie

Adapted slightly from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook (Clarkson Potter, 2005)

Makes one 15-by-10-inch pie

Slab Pie:

All purpose flour, for dusting
6 cups fresh sour cherries, stemmed and pitted; or 6 cups fresh mixed berries; or 7 medium peaches, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
1/4
teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sanding sugar (or granulated sugar)

Pâte Brisée:

5 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon coarse salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 pound (4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
12 to 16 tablespoons ice water

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Got a genius recipe to share—from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected].

Photos by James Ransom 

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58 Comments

Judi N. July 2, 2017
I've made slab pies for years. They're great for using up any remnants of fruit I've frozen over the year. I thaw it and reserve the juice that drains off. THEN I either add it to the pitcher of iced tea I make up every summer morning or I simmer it with a little bit of sugar and cornstarch. That gets spooned over the ice cream I put on top of my pie! No waste aaaannnnddd YUM!
 
Dubravka M. July 2, 2017
I come from Croatia. We have always made slab-pies! I think that slab pies are the standard in Europe. You definitely get more fruit and lest crust. We also make "slab" cheese-cake, not with cream cheese, but farmers-(yogurt)cheese, or ricotta.
 
Cassie July 2, 2017
There actually is a difference - the butter is more thoroughly incorporated in the pate brisee. The crumb is finer and the crust stronger - less flaky.
 
LakeladyP July 2, 2017
It always amazes me that pastry recipes always say "shape dough into a disk shape, wrap and chill". If you are going to make a rectangular or square shape pastry, why not shape it into THAT shape, wrap and chill? Now, your rectangle has a decent start without rounded corners. Seems so simple, but you will not find it in a recipe.
 
Susie July 2, 2017
Wow! That totally makes sense!
 
Hedy July 2, 2017
Been doing slab pies for years but I have to admit I do like the way the pastry is put on with the bottom crust over the rim....will do that next.
 
Brad D. July 2, 2017
pâte brisée good forbid you just say pie crust. Because saying pâte brisée makes it look and taste so much better.
 
Cassie July 2, 2017
There actually is a difference - the butter is better incorporated with the pate brisee. The pastry is stronger and the crumb finer.
 
PatKM June 29, 2017
Do you have to put a bottom and top crust, i.e. use one or the other?
 
Peggasus June 28, 2017
My mother was making this back in the '50s, mostly with apples or cherries, and we just called them 'apple slices.' And hand pies? Just called turnovers of whatever fruit.
 
Winifred R. July 2, 2017
Got to agree. This whole "Martha Stewart might have invented this" after a number of us have let Food 52 know that we've seen this long before Martha put anything out grates on my hide. And I see the next person's saying so, too!
 
The L. June 24, 2017
It amuses me to see that "Martha might have invented this," since she's basically never invented anything. <br />It amuses me more because I am eating the last of a "slab pie" I made last Saturday night even as I type this. I realized that the pie I was making needed a deep dish, so since I didn't have one, I just grabbed my 9X13 pan and patted the dough into that--it's an oil based dough that can be handled more roughly. Plunked in my pie filling, made a lattice for the top. I will probably never do a round pie again!<br />
 
Willa July 2, 2017
I'd love your recipe for an oil crust since I can't use butter here.
 
janeb May 23, 2014
I was all set to make the rhubarb apple hand pies for a Memorial Day party but saw this (yum). Do you think I can use the filling from the hand pie recipe here or is it too chunky? Or maybe I could mix the rhubarb with some berries? Really want to use the rhubarb.
 
Kaitlin F. November 2, 2013
What do you think about doing a pumpkin version of this for the holidays (perhaps minus the top crust layer) or does that basically turn into a pumpkin bar rather than a pie? I think apple would be great in this too.
 
Jennifer B. September 2, 2013
This has become my new favourite way to make pie! So easy to make and even easier to serve and eat The pastry is so easy to roll and work with. I am a convert. My only suggestion would be to increase the amount of fruit called for--I find it a bit sparce and not as much fruit as I like in my pies, maybe 7-8 cups of fruit instead. Makes a great summer breakfast at the cottage, pie and coffee by the lake!<br />
 
Aly July 17, 2013
WOW, this looks amazing! I cant wait to try it
 
Jeanne A. July 9, 2013
I've been using my grandfather's slab pie for decades. He was a baker in Chicago in the '30s, '40s give or take a decade or two. Always topped with a vanilla glaze. My take on Grandpa Schulz's recipe. http://www.heartbreakrecoverykitchen.com/2010/03/15/favorite-peach-cherry-slab-pie/
 
SpaCook July 9, 2013
Not generally a pie eater (or really a baker, either, when it comes down to it)--too soupy and hard to eat. Looked like this addressed my hang ups, so I gave it a go on the 4th and we loved it. Super tasty, quick to assemble, and easy to slice and eat. Satisfied the "traditional" pie lovers in the crowd, to boot! Love that Martha has two "genius" recipes, by the way!
 
Waverly July 1, 2013
Genius, indeed! Thank you, Martha. I am already a huge fan of the bar cookie, the sheet cake, and the crisp. Slab pie is on my radar now. Thank you!
 
LisaD July 1, 2013
I'd love to do a savory version of this, for instance mushrooms w/goat cheese.
 
emcsull July 1, 2013
ooh, what an idea. How to make the filling moist enough, but not too moist ?
 
LisaD July 1, 2013
maybe creme fraiche would be involved?<br />
 
OliveH August 15, 2013
I make a goat cheese and leek galette by Haystack Mountain Goat Cheese. I bet it could be tweaked for an amazing savory version.
 
Helen S. July 3, 2017
Double the recipe and crust for either the Goat Cheese and Pesto Tart (http://pastrieslikeapro.com/2014/07/goat-cheese-pesto-tart-2/#.WVo3vmVh2Rs) or the French Onion Tart (http://pastrieslikeapro.com/2013/07/french-onion-tart/#.WVo3_GVh2Rs) for two delicious savory tarts that can be turned into savory slab tarts. At the bakery we used half sheet pans, but jelly roll would also work.
 
Texas S. June 30, 2013
My husband loves apple pie, and particularly loves pie better than cake for his fall birthday. This recipe reminds me of the deep-dish apple pies I used to make in a large ceramic baker for extended family birthday dinner when everyone lived at home. I lIned the baker with pie dough, made a double or triple streusel recipe to top the apples which were seasoned with a touch of lemon juice, a little cinnamon and fresh-grated nutmeg, plus some sugar. Streusel also had cinnamon and nutmeg mixed in, plus grated lemon rind. I could serve a crowd without fussing with a bunch of pies; I'm not a very good dough-handler, welcomed the simplicity.
 
Ileana M. June 30, 2013
Brilliant! I'll have to try this out.
 
brhun June 30, 2013
I'm in my sixties and grandma made slab pies. When you have 51 grandchildren there's no way the standard round pie will suffice. <br />Martha, you are like Chris Columbus! If he discovered America, who were those people that greeted him?
 
Cate E. June 30, 2013
LOL!!Love your comment Brhun, I have recipes I have made for decades also and then heard MS invented it. But marketing does that.<br />I have a farm wive's cookbook with recipes dating back to the early 1900's and they had slab pies in there too. I haven't made one in a while, but this is making me think of getting into the kitchen Berries are coming in...!