On a fine Saturday morning, everything seems possible. The day stretches before me, like a bottomless well of time, free to do something adventurous. Rested and ready, I make my way to the Farmer’s Market most Saturdays, where tables of colorful produce stretch out around me like a palette of juicy paints, begging to be stroked on a canvas. Sure, I tell myself, you have a bunch of work to do today, but those organic raspberries won’t last forever. Why not make a Raspberry-Nectarine Slab Pie?
Slab Pie Appeal
I always hit the market early, to beat the rush and get some of the more limited goodies before they sell out. This particular day, there was a table overflowing with just-picked raspberries. It’s Minnesota, and there is a short window for these Fall berries, before the cold snaps start. Fresh local fruit has a short window of time here. When I saw those perfect berries, I was overcome with the urge to make a slab pie.
Click here for my Apple Raspberry Galette
Before I could talk myself out of it, I had 2 quarts of berries in my rolling bag, balanced on top of a watermelon, corn on the cob and sprouts, and assorted onions and greens. What a haul. Once I got it all home and put away, I fortified myself with coffee and started making pie dough.
Whole Grain Pastry is Best
I’m lucky to have freshly ground flour from Baker’s Field Flour and Bread available to me. Their whole wheat pastry flour is fantastic. If you can’t get it, you can use a whole wheat pastry or white whole wheat flour.
I had a reason for making a big fat slab pie. I knew I was going out of town and leaving my husband home alone for a few days. A big slab of pie might give him some comfort and sustenance while I’m gone. I have a feeling that the pie will be gone when I get back.
Lest you think that a slab pie is somehow harder than a round pie, it’s actually easier. It’s basically two pies’ worth in one big rectangular slab, with a minimum of fuss.
Choose the Right Fat
I’ve been making my pastry with Melt Buttery Sticks lately, but I also use chilled coconut oil in the same way. You need a more solid fat that holds its shape when chilled, and creates a flaky texture. If you opt for coconut oil, choose refined for a mild flavor. I recommend melting the oil in the jar, either by placing it in a pot of warm water, or microwaving. Measure the liquid oil in a cup, then refrigerate until solid. Then you can grate it into the flour.
Wholesome But Still Dessert
I love dessert as much as the next person. I also love making them with real, whole foods, so that they aren’t nutritional disasters that pile nothing but sugar, fat and calories on the plate. Organic raspberries, nectarines, whole wheat flour and healthy fats give this dessert a firm foundation in the real food category. Don’t tell anyone it might be a little bit good for you, just let your family and friends revel in the luscious, juicy pie.
A slab pie is sure to make your family happy, even if it’s just one sweet guy left at home alone.
Raspberry-Nectarine Slab Pie
- 4 cup whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 sticks Vegan butter or 1 1/2 cups coconut oil (measure coconut oil then chill until hard)
- 1 cup ice water
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cup organic sugar
- 1/4 cup unbleached flour
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot
- 4 large nectarines sliced
- 4 cups raspberries fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup crystallized ginger chopped
- 2 tablespoons agave syrup
- 2 tablespoons water
- Turbinado sugar
- Make crust: Get out your 9x13 baking pan and reserve. In a large bowl, whisk the flour and salt. Using the large holes on a grater, grate the vegan butter or coconut oil into the mix, tossing every few strokes to coat the bits of fat with flour. in a measuring cup, whisk the vinegar and ice water. Stir gently into the flour mixture and use your hands to mix to form a dough. If needed, add a little bit more water. Form into a rectangular block about 2 inches thick on a counter sprinkled with a little flour.
- Cut off one third of the dough for the top crust; wrap each rectangle in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 425 F. In a large bowl, mix the sugar, flour and arrowroot. Add the sliced nectarines, raspberries, and crystallized ginger and toss gently to coat the fruit. Let stand while you roll out the crust.
- On a floured counter, roll out the larger rectangle to make the bottom crust. To judge the size, place the 9x13 pan over the dough and continue rolling until the dough is 2 inches wider and longer than the pan. Use a metal spatula to carefully remove the crust from the counter, folding it gently in thirds. Transfer to the pan and press the crust up the sides of the pan, trim any extra dough and press to make a neat edge.
- Roll out the smaller portion of dough to the length of the pan. Use a fluted pastry cutter wheel or a knife to slice the dough in 3/4 inch wide strips. I used decrative cutters to cut the scraps into little hearts and flowers, which I placed on a small sheet pan.
- Fill the pie with the prepared fruit, spreading it to make an even layer. Place the strips of dough across the pie in a lattice pattern. In a cup, stir the agave and water and brush the top crust and the decorative dough scraps, if you are making those. Sprinkle with Turbinado sugar.
- Bake for 25 minutes at 425, then reduce the heat to 375 and bake for 25 minutes longer, then raise the heat to 400 F and bake for 20 minutes. If the top crust is getting browned, cover loosely with foil. Bake for 10 minutes, until the center of the pie is bubbling. Cool on a rack.