Slab Pie

It's not a pie that's been run over by a steam roller. Or the biggest, thickest, juiciest Pop-Tart you've ever seen. It is, in fact, a slab pie. I've been eyeballing the various recipes for it in Martha Stewart magazines, on her website, and in her books for years, always intending to make one, but never getting around to it.

Then, yesterday, as I wandered the Noe Valley Farmer's Market, I came to a veritable mountain of ripe, luscious yellow peaches and knew in an instant that the time had come to make the slab pie.

I referenced Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook, as well as the website, and compared and contrasted recipes until I came up with one that seemed right. While a wee bit labor intensive, the pie couldn't have been easier to make and the results couldn't have been better.

The dough is a basic pate brisee and came together quickly and easily in the food processor. I took about 1/3 of the dough off of the second batch and added it to the first batch to use for the larger, bottom crust. I let both pieces of dough chill for an hour and then rolled the larger one out, lining a 15′ x 17″ sheet pan with it and leaving about an inch of overhang on all sides.

I then rolled out the second piece of dough and, using a very small pastry cutter, cut out a number of circles. Both pieces of dough then went back in the fridge to chill while I prepped the peaches.

They were firm enough to peel with a peeler and I was frankly thankful to avoid the tedious process of blanching and shocking the peaches to peel them. Once peeled and sliced, I tossed the peaches with sugar, a pinch of salt and tapioca starch (which I used in place of corn starch because that's all I had on hand at the time, but found that the end result was much better as there was none of that sometimes chalky mouthfeel you get when making pies with cornstarch).

With the filling finished, I retrieved the dough lined sheet pan and filled it with an even layer of the sliced peaches. I then placed the perforated piece of dough on top and pinched the edgestogether to seal the crust. As I egg washed the top, I decided to use the extra cut out circles of dough as decoration, using the egg wash to glue them on. I then sprinkled the whole pie with a thin layer of dark, crunchy demerara sugar and placed it in the oven.

After letting the pie bake for about 40 minutes, I covered it loosely with foil so that the little decorative disks didn't burn and after a little over an hour, the pie was golden brown, the peach juice was bubbling through the holes and I could tell just from the way it smelled that it was done.

As the pie cooled I whipped up a batch of vanilla bean ice cream and after dinner, delighted my guests with one of the best desserts I've made, or eaten, in years.

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