I'm a baker. I couldn't resist visiting the Central Market Cooking Tent at the Texas Book Festival.
What is a slab pie? you might ask. A slab pie is "just like regular pie---only better (and bigger)! An unfussy twist on pie, the slab pie lets you skip the meticulous rolling out and crimping required for a round crust." Barrow goes on to tell us in her book, "a slab pie can make enough dinner or dessert for a crowd." Barrow includes her versions of traditional pies including Yankee Doodle Dandy Sour Cherry Slab Pie, Easy-as-Pie Apple Slab Pie, and Chicken Pot Slab Pie, as well as her own creations including Hawaiian Pizza Slab Pie, Zucchini, Feta, and Kalamata Olive Slab Pie plus No-Campfire-Necessary S'Mores Slab Pie and Grande Mocha Cappuccino Slab Pie.
It was fun to watch how casual Barrow was when she cut out her crust.
I bought the book and I finally got around to making one of the slab pies from the book this week.
Ham and Gruyere Slab Pie
With an All-Butter Crust
2 1/2 cups plus 2 T. all-purpose flour
16 T. butter, cubed and frozen for 20 minutes
1/2 t. salt
1/2 cup ice water
For the crust: In the food processor, pulse the flour, butter, and salt until the fats are in small pieces coated with flour, about 15 times. Add the water all at once and process until the mixture almost forms a ball. Form the dough into a 6-by-4-inch rectangle using plastic wrap and a bench scraper to firmly press the dough into a cohesive form. Wrap tightly and refrigerate a minimum of 4 hours.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to warm slightly. Divide the dough into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Roll out the larger piece to 11 by 15 inches and place in the slab pie pan, pressing it into the corners of the pan and allowing the excess to drape over the sides. Refrigerate. Roll out the second piece of dough to 10 by 14 inches, place it on a lightly floured sheet of parchment, and refrigerate.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place a baking stone on the center rack to heat.
5 large eggs
1 c. half-and-half
3 T. honey
1 T. snipped fresh chives
1 t. fresh thyme leaves
1 t. salt
3 T. Dijon mustard
8 oz. sliced smoked ham, chopped
8 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated
For the filling: Whisk the eggs and half-and-half until frothy. Add the honey, chives, thyme, and salt and whisk again. Spread the mustard thickly across the bottom crust. Scatter the ham and cheese evenly across the mustard, and pour in the egg mixture. Cover with the top crust and crimp and slash. Bake on top of the stone until a knife plunged into the center of the custard comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.
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