Cobblers, cakes, and pies, oh my! A fruit-based dessert, like a Cherry Slab Pie, is a perfect treat for summer, be it at a picnic or at a barbeque.
Whatever your preference for cherries may be, you can make a tasty cherry slab pie for you or your guests. While we all love some creamy chocolaty desserts, they are pretty heavy, especially in the warmer season, and have rather pretentious recipes.
A Cherry slab pie is simple and unpretentious and it will definitely feed a crowd without too much sweat in the kitchen.
If you are really pressed for time or lack any skill at making things out of dough, then you can opt for any store-bought pie crust. It will taste almost as good as the real deal, but homemade crust really packs a flavor punch. Everyone loves a Cherry Slab Pie for its crunchy, buttery and crumbly crust.
Plus, there is also the issue of a perfect fit for your baking pan. Maybe you have a rectangle pan and need more than one crust and you would have to reshape them if you only find round ones at your local store, or you have a round pan and can only find rectangle ones.
To save you the hassle, it is best to make and roll the dough into the shape of your pan.
The Upper Crust
Now let’s dish about the upper crust; no, not the Royal Family (Oprah has done enough of that). You can go for a top lattice crust, or cut out some fun circles or shapes through which your delicious filling can peak.
If you do not want to bother with intricate designs and patterns, you can skip out and just put another crust the size of the bottom one, but keep in mind that you will have to make some cuts in the crust so steam can escape during the baking process. Poking the crust with a fork will also do the trick.
Oh, mon cherry, mon cherry! For the filling, you will need a heap of cherries! Six cups are more than sufficient for a 10×15 roll sheet pan, but you will have to adjust the amount if you have a larger sheet pan.
Now here comes the hardest part of the recipe: removing the cherry pits. You can make the process easier by using a cherry pitter, or (if you have been blessed by the gods of dexterity and patience) do it the old-fashioned way using a knife.
If a cherry pitter is nowhere insight, you can make do with a chopstick or a straw, and use them to simply push the pit out.
Can I Use Canned or Frozen Cherries for My Cherry Slab Pie?
You can also use canned cherries or cherry pie filling from your local store. Just skip on the sugar as they are already sweet enough and you don’t want to end up with a sickeningly sweet dessert. You can also substitute with frozen cherries that are already pitted, and follow the recipe just like you were using fresh cherries.
In my own personal opinion, fresh cherries make the best Cherry Slab Pie, bringing a distinctly fresh and delicious flavor.
Extra Tips for Those Looking to Cut Back on Sugar
If you want to cut back on the sugar or save some calories for later, there are a few tweaks you can do to your recipe. This might sound weird, but you can enhance the sweetness of your cherries (especially if they are sour ones) by throwing in some plums.
While this combination might sound weird, plums and cherries go well together as they are from the same family (Prunus), and the plums can break down the cherries into a delightful juicy texture.
You can also use artificial sweeteners if you are looking to have a dessert with a lower glycemic index. Some great baking-stable options that do not have an aftertaste are Splenda, Swerve and Erythritol. Or you can opt for natural sugar substitutes such as monk fruit or coconut sugar.
To Glaze or Not to Glaze?
While not necessary for your Cherry Slab Pie to taste amazing, a glistening layer of glaze, adds that extra oomph and flavor that will make it a smash hit at your picnic. It’s totally fine if don’t like glaze and want to entirely skip it; the pie will taste just as great.
What You’ll Need
For the Crust
- 1 cup water/milk
- 3 3/4 cups of white flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar (you can also substitute this with Swerve, Erythritol or other baking-friendly sweeteners)
- 1 ½ cup of unsalted butter (or use the salted one and skip the teaspoon of salt)
For the Filling
- 6 cups pitted cherries (fresh, canned or frozen)
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch or tapioca
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- pinch of salt
- Large egg
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Half a teaspoon of vanilla extract
For the Glaze:
- sifted confectioners’ sugar
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and grease your baking sheet. If you are using frozen cherries, first defrost and leave them to drain for 20-30 minutes. Cut your cherries and plums in two.
- Stir your cherries (and plums if you want), sugar/sweeteners, cornstarch/tapioca, lemon juice, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
- Combine the crust ingredients and on a lightly floured surface (to prevent sticking), roll out the larger piece of dough into a rectangle (or circle, depending on the shape of your pan).
- Transfer on a rimmed baking sheet, with the sides of the pastry handing out over the pan.
- Now roll the rest of the dough for the top crust. For a top lattice crust, make the dough the same size as the bottom crust and cut it into thin strips with a pastry wheel.
- Place all your strips of pie crust across the cookie sheet.
- Once you have finished the top crust, pour your cherry filling into the prepared crust. For some extra flavor, put 2 or 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
- Spread the filling with a spoon. Don’t worry if your filling doesn’t cover the entire surface, as during the baking process they will expand and fill the gaps.
- Halve the number of crust strips you have. Now place one-half of the strips in one direction, then place the rest in the opposite direction. Trim the pie crust hanging over the edges. If you don’t want a lattice top crust, just place it over a simple pie crust.
- Bring bottom crust dough up and over the top dough and pinch the edges as hard as you can.
- If you have opted for a simple crust, use your fork to pinch holes all over the top part of your Cherry Slab Pie.
- Brush with a layer of sweetened heavy cream or leave like so for the glaze.
- Bake 40 to 55 minutes until the crust has a golden color and the filling is bubbling. Take out the pan and leave it to cool for about 45 minutes.
- To make the glaze, pour in a medium bowl the milk and confectioner’s sugar and stir until you have the consistency you want.
- Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the pie.
Now all that’s left to do is enjoy your Cherry Slab Pie!