peach-vanilla slab pie

Slab pie.  It’s the perfect crowd pleaser.  Bring this to your next backyard barbecue.  Your friends will thank you.  It’s not too sweet.  The dough is made from whole wheat pastry flour with a touch of fresh lemon.  The peaches are sweetened with brown sugar and a generous addition of vanilla.

Before we focus on the peaches, let’s talk about the dough …which needs to chill for at least two hours.  Or, better yet, overnight.

Once the butter is processed with the flour, the mixture should resemble coarse meal.  This process is quick and easy if using a food processor.  If you don’t have one, it’s okay.  You can do this by hand.  Place the dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to blend well.  Then, cut in the cubes of butter with a pastry cutter or two knives.  The wet ingredients can then be added.  Vigorously stir with a wooden spoon until it all comes together to resemble a shaggy ball.

Be sure to form the disks so that one is larger than the other …one should use about 60% of the dough with the remaining 40% forming the other disk.  Wrap each one tightly with plastic wrap and place them in the fridge.  Remember …they need to chill out in there for at least two hours.

When the dough has been sufficiently chilled, it’s time to work on the peach filling.

This Cooking Light recipe instructs you to peel the peaches.  Since I was making this for a crowd, I didn’t want to stray too far from the original recipe.  I did as I was told and peeled each and every one of those beauties.  Six pounds worth.  That was about a dozen peaches.  So I was thinking …why not make a rustic version of this pie?  Next time, I will be leaving the skin on.  And there will be a next time.

I piled the sliced peaches into what I thought was a large enough bowl.  Well, as you can see it just about held it all without spilling over.  Be sure to use a very large bowl to hold at least 12 cups of peaches as well as the added ingredients.  It all needs to be mixed really well so that each and every piece of fruit is coated with the vanilla-infused sweetness.  I ended up dumping it all into my 8-quart stock pot.  That worked.

Set the peaches aside and get to work on the dough.  I am going to be brutally honest here.  The dough is delicious, light and flaky.  But it is a bear to work with.  I am so glad I stuck with it and was more than happy with the end result.  I’ve always been intimidated by making my own pie dough.  I now realize that making the dough is the easy part.  Rolling it out and forming it (on a large scale here) is the real test.  I do like a challenge though.

If you are intimidated by the homemade dough like I was, there’s no reason why you couldn’t try making this (especially the first time) with pre-made pie dough.  Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts would work.  You would need two packages, though.  This is a really large pie.

Transferring the rolled out dough onto the baking sheet is probably the hardest part.  This is what I found to be the best method:

The dough will have been rolled out between two sheets of plastic wrap.  When you achieve the desired shape, slide a large flat-edged cookie sheet underneath.  Remove the top layer of wrap.  Place the 17″ by 11″ rimmed baking sheet upside down over the dough.  Using the flat-edged cookie sheet as a support, flip the entire stack over.  The dough should now be resting in its final baking vessel.  If some of the dough breaks off during the transfer, just place the broken piece where needed.  Cover that area with plastic wrap and roll over it again to mend it.

Press the dough into the corners of the pan and remove the remaining layer of plastic wrap.  You are now ready to fill the pie.  Grab those peaches.

The top layer of crust is arranged in a lattice pattern.  If the dough strips break off as you are working with them, just piece them back together and smooth it out with your fingertip.  It doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect.  Use any excess dough to seal and crimp the edges.  Just keep in mind …rustic is a good look.  If you’ve never attempted the whole lattice thing, it’s really not as hard as you might think.  Take a look at this video and tutorial.  The latticed dough is lightly brushed with an egg yolk wash and the slab pie is ready for the oven.

You are going to love the way your kitchen smells while this is baking.  Once it is finished, allow at least 20 minutes of cooling off before you dig in.

When you are ready to serve this goodness, be sure to offer a scoop of vanilla ice cream along with the pie.  It’s likely that not too many folks will turn that down.

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peach-vanilla slab pie

Adapted from Cooking Light

Perfect dessert for a crowd.

Servings 18 servings

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces whole-wheat pastry flour (3 1/3 cups / 340 grams)
  • 4 1/4 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour (1 cup / 121 grams)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided into 1 teaspoon & 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup cold water
  • 6 pounds ripe peaches, peeled and sliced (about 12 cups)
  • 1 1/3 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon room-temperature water

Instructions

  1. Pulse flours and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor; 2 times or until well blended.  Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, 4 to 5 times.  Stir together oil, lemon juice, and 2/3 cup cold water in a small bowl.  While pulsing, pour oil mixture through food chute.  Process just until the dough comes together and starts to form a shaggy ball.  If necessary, add an additional 2 tablespoons of cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to bring the dough together. Be careful not to overprocess.

  2. Turn dough out onto a work surface; knead until dough just comes together, about 2 times.  Divide dough into 2 pieces, one roughly 60% of the dough and the other 40%.  Flatten each into a 1-inch-thick disk; wrap each in plastic wrap.  Chill 2 hours or up to overnight.

  3. Preheat oven to 375°F.  Combine peaches, brown sugar, cornstarch, vanilla bean paste, cinnamon, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; toss well to combine.  Set aside.

  4. Remove dough disks from the refrigerator and unwrap. Place larger dough disk between 2 lightly floured sheets of plastic wrap; roll into a very thin 19- x 13-inch rectangle.  Using a thin pan or cutting board for support, carefully slide dough from plastic wrap onto an 11- x 17-inch rimmed baking sheet.  Remove plastic wrap, and press dough into corners of the baking sheet. 

  5. Spoon peach mixture evenly over dough.  Place second dough disk between 2 lightly floured sheets of plastic wrap; roll into a very thin 11- x 17-inch rectangle.  Cut dough lengthwise into 3/4-inch-thick strips.  Arrange strips in a lattice pattern over peach mixture.  Crimp edges to seal, using excess dough if necessary.  Whisk together egg yolk and 1 teaspoon room-temperature water in a small bowl.  Brush dough lattice evenly with egg yolk mixture.

  6. Bake at 375°F until filling is thick and bubbly and crust is browned, about 50 to 55 minutes.  Cool at least 20 minutes before serving.

 

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