We were lucky enough to make a quick trip to California last week. We spent one day exploring San Francisco and the rest a bit north in Sebastopol visiting friends. If we had the right kind of luggage I would have filled my entire suitcase with figs. Below are some photos from the trip because they’re too beautiful not to share- harbor seals, the pacific ocean, good food, and a cheerful city.
A few weeks ago we came across some sour cherries from a little produce stand in Silverthorne. They were already pitted and frozen in bags. How convenient! Some of them went into a red plum and sour cherry jam that was amazing- crimson red, fruity, and just the right amount of pucker. From that moment on I knew I had fallen in love with sour cherries. I kept thinking of what they would taste like in a pie.
So fast forward to two days ago. It was late in the day and I suddenly decided that I was going to make a sour cherry pie. I scoured the internet searching for a good recipe and nothing jumped out. I wasn’t sure what exactly I was looking for, until I came across Smitten Kitchen’s Sour Cherry Slab Pie.
It looked fun, different, and very tasty. The pie pastry is rolled super thin and lines the bottom of a half sheet baking pan. Then, the cherries are tossed with a bit of sugar, starch, and vanilla; and in they go on top. Cover the fruit with another thin sheet of pastry and the whole ‘slab’ bakes away until bubbling and golden brown. Once it cools down a bit, you drizzle a powdered sugar icing on top and it gives the buttery pastry and sour cherries the hint of sweetness they need.
The slab pie can then be cut into pieces of all sizes and eaten with your hands. It would pack great for a picnic or camping trip. I think the pie tastes even better the next day, once the pastry softens a bit from the moisture of the fruit.
This is a fantastic recipe that you’ll want to be sure and file away next time you’re craving a different take on pie.
How to make this high altitude adjusted recipe:
Sour Cherry Slab Pie adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- PIE PASTRY:
- 3¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ tablespoons sugar
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 12 oz (3 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
- 1-1½ cups cold water
- CHERRY FILLING:
- 6 cups pitted sour cherries (if using frozen, thaw and drain off liquid)
- ½-3/4 cup sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ½ tablespoon vanilla
- Juice of half a lemon
- Tiny pinch of salt
- Heavy cream for brushing the top crust and sugar for sprinkling
- POWDERED SUGAR ICING:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- To make the pastry, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
- Add the chilled cubed butter and use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dry mixture. Continue until the butter is the size of peas.
- Adding about a half cup of water at a time, stir the dough with your hands until it can be pressed together and holds its shape. You may need 1 cup, you may need 1½ cups. It just depends on how dry your flour is.
- Give the dough a quick knead or two to form a disc, and wrap in plastic wrap.
- Chill for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.
- Meanwhile, make your cherry filling:
- Combine the cherries and ½ cup sugar in a bowl. Taste and adjust for sweetness, if they still taste really really tart to you, add some more sugar.
- Add the cornstrach, vanilla, lemon juice, and pinch of salt.
- Once the pastry has chilled, preheat your oven to 360 F.
- Cut the pie pastry in two equal pieces. Wrap the remaining one back up and put in the fridge while you roll out the first piece.
- Roll the pastry into a 16 x 11" rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Lift the pastry every few rolls to keep it from sticking to the surface. It doesn't have to be perfect, and it will be very thin.
- Line a 15 x 10" baking sheet with parchment paper and give it a coating of baking spray.
- Transfer the pastry to the prepared baking sheet, pressing into all the edges.
- Pour the fruit mixture on top of the pastry and spread it out across the pastry until it is evenly distributed.
- Roll out the second piece of pie pastry in the same way; covering the cherries and sealing the edges.
- Brush the top with a little heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar, if desired.
- Use a fork to prick holes in the top of the pastry for steam.
- Bake until the crust is a golden brown and the cherries are bubbling, 35-45 minutes.
- To make the powdered sugar icing, whisk the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla together until smooth.
- Let cool for 10 minutes before drizzling with the powdered sugar glaze.
- Serve warm or room temperature.