Thursday, August 13, 2009
Sweet and Sour Cherry Slab Pie
Most of you know that Jean got started in this whole blog thing by reading blogs written by others. One of her favorites is Smitten Kitchen (www.smittenkitchen.com), who recently wrote a blog on sour cherry slab pie. Slab pies, BTW, are just pies baked in sheet pans or rimmed cookie sheets, so they are a little thinner than usual, with a higher crust-to-filling ratio (aahhh, always the engineer). They are great if you need to serve a bunch of people.
Anyway, ever since she read that blog entry, Jean has been craving one of those pies. So, as the family pie baker, it was a dead certainty that I was going to be baking one, the only question was when. So off I went to http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/07/sour-cherry-slab-pie/ to see what this was all about.
Deb at the Smitten Kitchen writes a fantastic blog, beautifully laid out, with gorgeous, detailed photos. Her pictures are so amazing they are sometimes called foodporn -- I love it!
Smitten Kitchen’s recipe is a lot like the one I use for regular cherry pie, but I have to admit, I like the little refinements I make. So you can use the link above for Deb’s recipe, and I am going to give you my recipe as well, because that’s what I made. (The basic recipe for Bob’s Cherry Pie is also in Treasures from Heaven, the St. Luke Cookbook.)
I decided to make this pie in a quarter sheet pan, roughly 9” x 13” x about 1” deep. It was a hot, humid day, so I struggled a little with the crust. But by keeping the dough in the fridge and working quickly while I was rolling it out, I was able to get the crust organized.
I like to combine some dark, sweet cherries with the sour cherries for the filling, I think it adds depth to the flavor and it certainly adds beautiful color. I use a little less sugar in the filling than some other recipes do, to keep the balance of sweetness/tartness. The pie baked up beautifully, in a little less time than it would for a regular pie, and the filling was firm, so that when I cut the cooled pie in squares they were perfect for eating out of hand! Here is my recipe:
Sweet and Sour Cherry Slab Pie
One Crust (You’ll need 2 for the pie)
2 cups all purpose flour
3-1/2 Tbsp sugar
¾ tsp salt
9 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut in ½” cubes (9 Tbsp = 1-1/8 stick butter)
3 Tbsp chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut in ½” cubes
4-1/2 Tbsp ice water
Mix flour, sugar, and salt in food processor. Add butter and shortening. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Drizzle ice water over mixture. Process just until moist clumps form, add more water if needed. Gather dough into ball, flatten into a rough rectangle, wrap in plastic. Chill dough for at least 30 min, better overnight.
Sweet and Sour Cherry Filling
6 cups sour cherries, pitted and drained
2 cups dark sweet cherries, pitted and drained
1 cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
¾ tsp lemon zest
¾ tsp almond extract
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large bowl gently combine cherries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, lemon zest and almond extract, then set aside for 10 min.
Roll out one dough rectangle on a floured work surface, to about a 12” by 16” rectangle, transfer to a quarter sheet pan, I lined mine with parchment. Spoon the cherry filling into the bottom crust with a slotted spoon. You can add the juice from the mixture accordingly, depending on how juicy you want the filling to be. Set aside, and roll out the second rectangle of dough. Drape it over the filling, and trim the edges of the crusts, then pinch them together. Use a fork to perforate the top crust – it lets the steam out as the pie bakes.
Bake until the crust is golden and you can see the luscious dark juices bubble out when they thicken to just-right consistency, about 50 to 55 min. Let the pie cool on a rack for about an hour.
In a small bowl, stir the confectioner’s sugar, milk and lemon juice to make the glaze. I used a plastic squeeze bottle to drizzle the glaze over the cooled pie.
I cut the pie into 16 squares, and I dibbsed a corner piece for myself. After all, I put in all the work of making it! This is seriously good cherry pie, and since it has all that fruit in it, I have even had some for breakfast!