Fruit butter pies were something I started making like crazy when I lived in New York’s Hudson Valley. Back then, I was a canning machine – making jams, jellies, and fruit butters like nobody’s business. I tried using my homemade peach butter as a pie filling once by mixing it with eggs to create a sort of custard base. It worked beautifully, and it makes a particularly good, easy to slice slab pie. Clusters of baked tiny “flowers” made from pie crust make it pretty, but also add a nice crunch without the fuss of a double crust. You can also use a purchased fruit butter to make this pie, just adding in the eggs. —Erin McDowell
1 hour 30 minutes
1 hour 30 minutes
one 13x18-inch slab pie
(1360 g) peaches, diced (I don’t peel my peaches, but you could!)
(198 g) granulated sugar
(104 g) honey
(3 g) ground cinnamon
(less than 1 g) freshly grated nutmeg
Make the peach butter: in a large pot, combine the peaches, sugar, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, and vinegar to combine. Heat the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the peaches are very tender and begin to break down, 25-30 minutes.
2. Use hand blender, blender, or food processor to process the mixture until it’s smooth, then return to the pot and continue to cook until the mixture thickens slightly, 30 minutes – 1 hour more. Stir in the almond and vanilla extracts.
Preheat the oven to 425°F, preferably with a baking stone on the bottom rack. Have ready a 13 x 18 inch baking sheet (half sheet pan). Combine three portions of pie dough into one large rectangle. Reserve the remaining ¼ of the pie dough wrapped and refrigerated.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie dough into a slightly larger rectangle than the baking sheet – about 20 x 15 inches. The dough should be about ¼ inch thick. Roll up the dough onto the rolling pin, and unfurl onto the baking sheet. Gently press the dough into base and the corners to make sure it’s laying flat against the pan – it should come up the sides of the baking sheet. Chill the dough inside the pan for 15-25 minutes.
Use a paring knife to trim it away by holding it flushly parallel to the edge of the pan and trimming all around. Dock the base all over with a fork. Cover the crust using one large (or a few smaller pieces) of foil. Place another baking sheet on top of the crust and par-bake until the edges appear firm and set, but are only just beginning to lightly brown - 17-20 minutes. Remove the top pan and the foil and return to the oven until the base of the dough appears dry, 2-4 minutes more. Cool completely.
In a large bowl, whisk the cooled peach butter with the eggs and mix well to combine, Pour into the cooled par-baked pie crust and bake in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven until the custard is fully set when the pan is gently moved (it shouldn’t appear liquid or jiggly in the center), 25-30 minutes. Cool completely.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the remaining pie dough to ¼ inch thick. Use a small flower cutter to cut as many flowers as you can get from the dough – you can reroll the scraps once or twice. Transfer the flowers to a parchment lined baking sheet.
Brush the flowers with egg wash, and garnish with pearl sugar. Bake in a 425 degree oven until golden brown and fully baked, 8-10 minutes (time may vary depending on size of your cutter – mine was quite small)!
Arrange the baked flowers on top of the cooled slab pie in clusters. Garnish with more pearl sugar, if desired.
I always carry three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's pie. My first cookbook, The Fearless Baker, is out on October 24, 2017.