Friday, September 06, 2013

Cherry-Raspberry 'Slab Pie' and Confidence

Fifty is...... Confidence!
More Specifically? Confidently Sharing your Love Of VEGAN Cooking With Others - And Feeling Confident Enough In Your Cooking Skills To Volunteer To Cook For Anyone, Any Time.

Recently a well known author was scheduled to give a book talk and signing at a smaller indie bookstore that I happen to frequent from time to time.
I overheard the owner discussing the book signing - AND the well-known author, and lamenting that he wished he could bake, as rumor had it that this author loved cherry pie.

Being the shy wallflower that I am, I jumped in and volunteered my services without really thinking it through. And the owner took me up on my offer!
"Could you make enough for about fifty people?"
Of course, any sane person, at that point, would have said NO!
But I simply nodded, star-struck that I would be baking for MR. BIG FAMOUS AUTHOR MAN.

And I went home and pondered what I had gotten myself into and HOW to serve that many people. Then I whipped out 4 sheet pans of my cherry-raspberry slab pie.

There it is!
Mr. Big Famous Author Man's serving!
Maybe I should have cut the
slice into a "Red Pyramid"?
Hmmm, never mind...
 And it served everyone, and it was amazing just like I knew it would be, and no one asked if it was vegan and no one said it was terrible and MR BIG AUTHOR had three servings.
And over and over, people said to me "I NEVER would have had the confidence to bake something for MR. BIG FAMOUS AUTHOR MAN, I don't even bake for my family!"

And that's just sad.
Yes, I've said many times that I "don't bake" but I do have a couple recipes in my repertoire that I'm confident enough to pull out when needed.
We all should have a few (or many) of those. And we all should feel confident in sharing lovely vegan food with people, no matter the occasion.

Anyway, I digress.
A "slab pie" is one of my "go-to" desserts because it feeds a lot of people and is embarassingly simple. It's simply a shallow pie that's made in a rimmed baking sheet, usually a jelly roll pan.
It feeds more revelers than a standard 9-inch pie will, with less mess and fuss. Martha Stewart has made all kinds of versions, should you want to try more.

 Makes one 15-by-10-inch pie

Cherry-Raspberry Slab Pie: 

  • All purpose flour, for dusting
  • plant milk, just a little for sticking pastry together
  • 6 sheets frozen puff pastry dough, thawed (most are vegan, read the box)
  • 3 cups fresh sour cherries, stemmed and pitted and 3 cups raspberries or blackberries (Or 6 - 7 cups fruit total)
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
 Fit aprox 2 or 3 sheets of puff pastry (sizes vary) dough into bottom of a 15-by-10-inch rimmed baking sheet, pressing into corners (pastry will hang over sides).

Assemble filling: In a large bowl, stir together fruit, granulated sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt. Spread mixture over pastry.

 Cut remaining 3 sheets of puff pastry into 2-inch strips and drape over filling. They should just about cover it or overlap even.
Fold edge of bottom dough over top dough.
Brush pastry edges with a little milk and squish/crimp together. Prick top dough all over with a fork.
Brush entire surface of pie with plant milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar. (These directions sound vague and complicated but just do it, there is no rhyme or reason to how the pie is assembled and any rustic arrangement will look good in the end. That's the beauty of this dessert.)

Bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, 25 - 35 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack, (leave in pan) and let pie cool until it is just warm to the touch, about 45 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into 12 - 16 pieces (depending on how many people and the size dessert you want).
Slab pie is best eaten the same day it is baked, but it can be kept at room temperature, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for up to 2 days.


Anonymous said...

This sounds amazing! Thanks for the recipe.

Anonymous said...

This sounds amazing! Thanks for the recipe.

Abby Bean said...

What a great story! I always find it funny that people will eat just about anything appetizing that's placed before them (free food!), but tell them it's vegan and the questions and trepidation ensue. I hope you told people it was vegan afterward; it would have gotten their wheels turning. Never miss an opportunity; baking is activism!