Hi hi! I am currently sitting in the middle of Toronto airport - my sister, Rich, and I are waiting for our connecting flight to Vancouver Island, where we will spend the next 10 days with family! I am so, so excited, and so ready for a wee break - it will also be peak fruit season, so I see a slab pie or two happening in the near future!
This Cherry Slab Pie with Brown Butter Oat Streusel is a little something that Jase and I whipped up a few weeks ago. Cherry pie is a fave of mine (I mean, I love all pie, but cherry is pretty high up there), and we amped it up a little by adding a brown butter oat streusel, which adds the most amazing crunch and texture to the edges, making it just a teeny bit more exciting than your average slab pie. I love slab pies for a whole lot of reasons - for starters they are amazing for feeding a crowd, but because they are a little shallower than your standard pie, you get the most amazing ratio of fruit filling to flaky pastry.
There’s not too many wee tips for this one - it’s a super simple pie, with the filling following the fruit, sugar, starch formula. When the fruit is good, you really don’t need much else. I can see this cherry pie happening at least a couple more times this stone fruit season!
A few wee tips:
For the pie dough, make the quantity listed twice (so make two batches of dough) rather than doing it all in one big batch. It makes it much easier to handle and greatly reduces the likelihood of over working the dough, which can give you a tough crust. You only need one quantity of water though, don’t double that.
I like using a wee tip that my friend Erin taught me to make the pie dough nice and smooth and easy to work with. I make the dough, shape it into two rectangles, rest it in the fridge wrapped for about an hour, then remove it and roll it out into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface. I then give it a letter fold (as you would a letter), roll out to a rectangle, letter fold again, then roll out slightly, and shape into a rectangle. I then re-wrap it, and leave it to rest overnight. This makes the dough more homogenous without compromising the flaky texture that you want in the pie dough, and it makes it a total dream to work with. For me, it’s a game changer.
Cherry pie can be a little wet, so you want to leave this to set up completely before you cut into it - it’s hard to wait but it is worth it, I promise!
We added the streusel onto the pie after about 20 min in the oven to ensure that it didn’t brown too much before the pie did, which would have resulted in burnt streusel and pale pie dough.
You can also leave the streusel off if you would like, and just make the cherry slab pie.
Cherry Slab Pie with Brown Butter Oat Streusel
- Makes one 9” x 13” slab pie -
Pie Dough (see notes for instructions - make this twice to yield two larger crusts)
2 tsp sugar
Pinch of Salt
225g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup ice
240g cold water
60g Apple cider vinegar
Brown Butter Oat Streusel
200g light brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
80g old fashioned oats
1500g cherrries, pitted and halved
420g raw sugar
120g tapioca starch
1/2 tsp salt
Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
Turbinado Sugar to finish (optional)
- PROCESS -
Combine the ice, water, and cider vinegar in a bowl and stir lightly to combine. Place cups flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl and stir lightly to combine. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat. Working quickly, using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.
Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I normally need about 8-10 tbsp) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Shape into a rectangle and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
Repeat the process again. Place both rectangles of dough in the fridge to rest for at least two hours, or preferably overnight.
BROWN BUTTER OAT STREUSEL
Place the butter in a small pan, and place on the stove over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted. Continue to cook, until the butter begins to foam, smells nutty, and goes a deep golden brown colour. Remove from the heat and place in a medium heatproof bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, and mix well to combine. Using your hands, break up any large lumps.
Have a quarter sheet pan (9" x 13" baking sheet) ready.
On a lightly floured surface, roll one of the rectangles of dough into a shape slightly larger than your sheet pan. You want it to be approximately 1/8 inch (3mm) in thickness. Line the pan, leaving the extra dough overhanging. Trim the dough so there is about 1 inch overlapping the edge of your dish. Fold the overlapping edge under itself, pressing down with your fingers to seal. This creates a border which helps prevent the edges of the pie from shrinking. Place in the fridge while you prepare the filling and lattice. Wrap any offcuts of dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge until needed.
Roll out the second piece of dough, and cut lattice strips - we did an angled lattice and a braided edge. Place cut out lattice pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until needed.
In a large bowl, combine the cherries, sugar, tapioca starch, and salt. Transfer to the pastry lined sheet pan. Top with lattice strips. Trim back any overhanging pastry, and either crimp the edge or add a braided border, fixing down with a little egg wash.
Transfer the pie to the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
While the pie is resting in the fridge, preheat the oven to 425˚f/ 220˚c. Place a baking tray on the bottom rack of the oven. Brush the pie with eggwash and sprinkle generously with extra raw sugar. Place on the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, or until the pastry has set and is beginning to go golden. Remove from the oven, and add the prepared streusel around the edge of the pie. Reduce the temperature 375˚f / 190˚c, return the pie to the oven, and bake until the pastry is deeply golden and the filling is bubbling, 45 to 50 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.