A magical pie where every slice is guaranteed to be as fruity as it is crusty.
I am not the first to write impassioned lines about my love of slab pie, and I will hardly be the last. Slab pie? It’s a shallow, rectangular pie made in a rimmed cookie sheet. Picture an enormous homemade Pop-Tart made with tart blackberries or ripe peaches. Slab pies will bring even devoted cake people to their knees.
The slab pie’s origin story is tricky to put a finger on, but while researching my forthcoming cookbook, The Vintage Baker, I was thrilled to discover a crack slab pie recipe in a 1974 recipe booklet published by McCall’s, leading me to conclude that, at the very least, home bakers have been assembling slab pies for almost 50 years. The core components are no different from your typical round pie—a buttery, flaky crust, filled with fruit that cooks down and thickens in the oven.
Conveniently, slab pies call for double the amount of filling of a round pie but provide three times as many servings. The shallow layer of fruit filling sets up more quickly and evenly. The result is that every slice is guaranteed to be as fruity as it is crusty. If you live in fear of pulling a pie from the oven and slicing into it while it’s still warm, only to find a runny mess of oozing berries and juice, rest assured: Slab pie is close to idiot-proof.
On the surface, to the discerning party host, the most appealing aspect of the slab pie is that it serves many. That is, pie for 24 if made in a half-sheet pan, as opposed to a typical pie’s eight, making it perfect for large family get-togethers, backyard potlucks, and picnics.
Achieving a good-looking slab pie is much easier than tackling a typical nine-inch round one, even for the most inexperienced of bakers. Crimping is optional, and due to the shallow nature of the pan, shrinking crusts are a thing of the past. Yes, rolling out such large sheets of pie dough can be tricky, but the size is a virtue, as the proportions of a slab pie make mending the dough almost benign: You’ll be able to fix a tear or two with your fingers, far less obviously than when done to your average-sized pie, where even the smallest pie-making infraction is (tragically) illuminated. And: There are leftovers.