Sweet, plump blackberries and tangy lime is a match made in slab pie heaven. Baked in a 13” x 18” sheet pan, this pie provides you with 24 slices. The cream cheese crust is flaky, with a tang all its own, complementing beautifully the subtle citrus flavor of the filling. The berries are thickened with arrowroot powder, which I find makes for a clearer, less foggy filling. To prevent a soggy bottom crust, I always freeze my pies and prebake for at least an hour, as the frozen bottom crust browns faster than the filling defrosts and cooks. I then brush them with egg wash and sprinkle them with turbinado sugar right before placing them in the oven. The pie can be served within an hour of being baked, still warm, with a (nonnegotiable) scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- If you have a very large food processor, you can make all of this dough at once. If not, do so in two batches. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse to combine. Cut the butter and cream cheese into cubes and place in the processor bowl. Pulse until the dough resembles coarse meal. Add the vinegar and water slowly, pulsing the processor as you do so. Once a bit of dough can be pinched between two fingers and hold together, dump it into a large bowl. Using your hands, divide the dough into two rectangles. Wrap each one in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours, or up to 3 days.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and place an empty rimmed half sheet pan in the oven. Placing the pie in this preheated pan, will help brown the bottom crust and avoid a soggy one. Grease another pan with cooking spray or softened butter, line with parchment paper, and set aside. Remove one rectangle from the refrigerator, lightly flour a work surface and, with a rolling pin, roll it into a large rectangle about 20 x 14 inches. Transfer the rolled out dough to the sheet pan by rolling it around the pin and then unrolling it over the pan. If the dough rips, do not fret: Merely mend it with your fingers. Place in the refrigerator.
- In a large bowl, combine the sugar and the zest, and using your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar. Add the arrowroot and mix to combine. Add the blackberries and the lime juice and toss with your hands. Set aside.
- Roll out the other half of dough into another 20 x 14 inch rectangle. Transfer the filling to the dough-lined pan and dot the top with the butter. Drape the second piece of dough over the filling, rolling it around the pin to move it. Trim the excess dough before decoratively crimping the edges of the pie, or merely pinching them together to seal. With a paring knife, make several cuts in the center of the pie, or using the tines of a fork, cover the dough in tiny holes. Freeze the pie for about an hour.
- Combine the egg and cream to make the egg wash, and brush the dough with it. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until you can see the pie filling visibly bubbling through the cuts in the pie. Tent the crust with aluminum foil at around the 30-minute mark, to prevent it from browning too much before the filling bubbles. But remember, a deeply browned crust is not an overbaked pie, but one that will be thoroughly baked through with a nicely browned, never-soggy bottom crust.
- Let cool for about an hour, before slicing and serving (preferably with ice cream or whipped cream). The pie will keep lightly wrapped in plastic wrap on the counter for up to 3 days.
Jessie Sheehan is a slab-pie loving cookbook author and recipe developer, living in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Her first book, Icebox Cakes (Chronicle Books 2015), includes nary a recipe for pie, but many for her first love, cake. Her second book, “The Vintage Baker” (Chronicle Books 2018), has an entire chapter devoted to pie, including one for her beloved slab.