Hand pies are great, aren’t they? I mean, the fact that a piece of pie doesn’t require a fork to eat it is pretty cool. And, that is not just because I don’t have a dishwasher. No, I’m more impressed by the ease in which it can move from the pan to my mouth.
I wanted some pie this weekend, and I liked the idea of not using forks, but I didn’t want to roll out and press a bunch of individual pies. So, I made a slab pie instead. (ASIDE: When I told my husband that what he was smelling was a slab pie baking in the oven. He replied that he had never tasted slab, but he hoped it was good.) No, silly, it is called slab pie for its shape, not its flavor. It is long, flat, and rectangular, like a stone slab. I figured it was a sturdy enough pie that once it was cut into slices, it could be eaten out of hand. I was right.
Strawberry Blueberry Slab Pie
Serves 8 to 12
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
18 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice (I mean it, really cold)
3 Tbsp cold vegetable shortening
1/3 cup cold water
4 cups berries (I used equal parts sliced strawberries and blueberries)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 Tbsp orange juice
1/2 Tbsp orange zest
To make the crust:
I experimented with a Fine Cooking recipe for pie dough because I wanted to use my food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, you can still make this recipe by hand, though.
Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor.
Add the really cold butter and vegetable shortening.
Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. It took me about 10 pulses. You want the fats cold when you mix with the flour so it will stay in little pieces and make your crust flakier instead of just melting together.
Sprinkle 1/3 cup cold water and pulse until it just starts to come together. It took me about 8 pulses. Be careful not to overprocess.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and with your fingers shape into a rectangle that is about 8 x 12 inches. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
In a bowl, toss together berries, salt, sugar, cornstarch, orange juice, and orange zest. Set aside.
Assemble and bake pie:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
Retrieve the dough from the refrigerator and turn out on t0 a lightly floured work surface. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough to about 1/4-inch thick rectangle. You can probably get as large as 12 x 18 inches, but it is okay if it is smaller. You may need to add a bit more flour as you roll, so it doesn’t stick. If you want it pretty, you should trim the dough and make the sides straight. If you don’t care how it looks, just how it tastes, leave it alone.
Transfer the dough to your prepared baking sheet and turn it so the long side if facing you. Spoon/spread the berry filling along the bottom half, leaving about a 1/2-inch border. Because my berries were so juicy, I used a slotted spoon to move the berries onto the pie crust.
Fold the top half down to cover the filling. I lifted the exposed bottom layer on top of the top layer to seal the pie, but you can line up the edges, if you prefer.
To seal the filled pie, press a fork along the seam or edges to secure the sides. Press the fork down gently, just enough to create a good bond, but not so hard that you push through to the second layer of dough and pierce it, which could cause the filling to leak. (Like what I did.)
In a small bowl, beat an egg with about 2 tsp of water to create an egg wash. Brush this mixture over the top of the sealed pie.
Using a sharp paring knife, cut 5 or 6 steam vents into the top of the dough.
Bake until the pie is golden brown, about 50 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
When ready to serve, use a serrated knife to cut into slices. It is best eaten within 24 hours, but it will keep for a couple of days, well-wrapped in the refrigerator.