Monday, August 24, 2009

Big Slab

Continuing my personal journey into Pie Making
A 10-inch pie can only feed so many, and certainly not nine members of my family. The slices would be sissy-small, not acceptable for Sunday tea while I'm hosting my parents, brothers, and grandparents.
I was inspired (and really excited!) when I saw this recipe on Deb's Smitten Kitchen. I can still serve one pie to that many people? Yes, in a big slab- what a concept!

Every male cast his eyes upon it and said "Oooo," followed by "it's like a giant Toaster Strudel!"

It does have that look, but a pretty refined toaster strudel. We like peaches here and they are gorgeous right now; clearly any fruit pie filling would work nicely. You could also make more filling for more of a domed, pie-like shape. In the recipe, I've noted that you can use 6-9 cups of fruit: 6 for a flatter slab like mine, 9 if you want it more stuffed. I like my filling so I'll increase it next time around.

The dough recipe that has become my standard for pastry. It's easy to put together, just don't ignore the 'very cold' instruction for the ingredients. I haven't been able to screw it up so far, which is miraculous. It's buttery and tender yet crunchy.

And you have to love that secret ingredient- vodka. When Ray opened the fridge and saw the bottle chilling, he gave me the most priceless look. As in "what the hay are you planning to do with that??" If you know me, you know I don't drink the stuff; this bottle is just for pastry-making (and the occasional party). Try it once, you may never go back.

Peach Slab Pie
serves 12 with healthy portions
pie dough:
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbs sugar
18 Tbs (2 sticks + 2 Tbs) unsalted butter, cut into cubes and very cold
3/4 cup (3/4 stick) vegetable shortening, cut into pieces and very cold
6 Tbs very cold vodka
6 Tbs very cold water

6-9 cups peaches, pitted, sliced and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbs cornstarch
juice from half a lemon
pinch or two of salt
1 egg + 1 Tbs water, beaten

1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 Tbs water + 1 Tbs lemon juice

For the dough:
Process 2 3/4 cups of the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor until combined, about 2 pulses. Add the butter and shortening; process until the dough forms uneven clumps. Scrape down the bowl and add the last cup of flour. Pulse until the flour incorporates and the dough starts to form. Empty the mixture into a large bowl. Pour the vodka and water over the mixture and fold together with a spatula until the dough sticks together. Divide the dough into two balls, one slightly larger than the other. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.

For the filling:
In a large bowl, combine the peaches, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt. Stir to combine, and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and lightly flour a large work surface and rolling pin.

Roll out the larger piece of dough to about 18x12 inches. Carefully transfer to the baking sheet, and stash in the fridge for a few minutes. Drain any liquid from the filling, and retrieve the baking sheet from the fridge. Evenly distribute the filling and return to the fridge while you roll out the second piece of dough.

This one should roll out a bit smaller, around 16x11. Drape the dough over the filling, and bring the bottom dough over the top and pinch to seal the edges. With a fork, prick holes across the top of the pie, and brush with the egg wash.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Cool on a rack for about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the ingredients for the glaze until smooth, and drizzle over the warm pie with a spoon. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Erica said...

ah! It looks so good! The peaches looke gorgeous too. What a great treat. You are such a wonderful hostess

mkp said...

The best Toaster Strudel ever.