Pie–she’s often the underappreciated sister in the dessert family. Cake gets all the glory—candlelit entrances at birthdays and tiered seating at weddings, and all eyes are on her first slice at a host of gender reveal parties.
But, have you ever heard of a savory cake? I think not! Pie can flex her ingredient muscles into sweet and savory recipes. More bakers and cooks are appreciating the nuances of pie by elevating traditional slab pie recipes. Made in (mostly) a 9x13-inch rimmed pan or a larger jelly roll pan, these lovelies are great for serving a crowd or adding to a buffet lineup. Diners can cut the entrée or dessert any way they like, including into squares, or they can just grab a serving spoon and dig right in.
For a delicious take on sweet and savory slab pies, we turned to Taylor Ellingson of greens & chocolate—“where” the website notes, “healthy cooking meets sinful indulgence.”
Maple grove Magazine: On what occasion does it make sense to serve slab pie?
Taylor Ellingson: I think slab pies are perfect for serving to a larger crowd. While a pie will serve around eight people, a slab pie makes around 16 servings. For savory slab pies, such as my ham and cheese slab pie, I love making it for a family brunch or dinner at home and having leftovers.
How do standard pie recipes need to be retrofitted?
Slab pies are, generally, not as thick/deep as circular pies, which will affect cooking time. The thinner filling will require less baking time than a deeper circular pie. To adjust to the decreased baking time due to the shorter height of filling, when you are baking a slab pie with a liquid or custard filling, you will have best results if you par-bake the crust prior to adding the filling. Since slab pies are traditionally baked in a jelly roll pan [check your recipes for pan size], … approximately double the amount of pie is needed to accommodate the large size.
… If you’ve never made a homemade pie crust, there’s no shame in using store-bought. I have used store-bought refrigerated pie crust many times and find it yields great results. If you have a favorite go-to pie crust recipe, I would double the recipe for a slab pie. For the filling, avoid the temptation to overfill the pie crust to avoid spilling on the transfer to the oven and while baking.
Let's talk about the perfect crust-to-filling ratio.
The perfect crust-to-filling ratio is all personal preference. Slab pies have a high crust-to-filling ratio, meaning the filling is much thinner, and, for people who love crust, that is definitely a good thing. For people who love filling, I would suggest making a slab pie recipe with a fruit or no-bake filling, which can be piled a little bit higher than custard fillings.
What about go-to ingredient brands?
… For butter, Land O’Lakes is my go-to butter for all baking. My pie crust recipe is an all-butter recipe, so the quality of butter definitely makes a difference.
Ham, Egg and Cheese Slab Pie
- 2 refrigerated pie crusts or one batch of Taylor Ellingson’s go-to homemade pie crust *
- 8 eggs
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 cups diced ham
- ¼ cup diced green onions
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a 15x10-inch jelly roll pan. Stack pie crusts on top of each other, and roll them out into a large rectangle, about 18x10 inches. Press the crust into greased jelly roll pan, pressing it up the sides of the pan to form edges. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Meanwhile, make the filling. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard and salt until well combined. Once the pie crust has parbaked, sprinkle the diced ham, green onions and shredded cheese evenly over the crust. Pour the egg mixture over the ham and cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the egg is set and the top is golden brown. Cut into squares, and serve.
Apple Slab Pie with Crumb Topping
- 2 refrigerated pie crusts or one batch of Taylor Ellingson’s go-to homemade pie crust*
- 8 apples, peeled, cored and cut into thin slices (about 10 cups)
- Juice from ½ lemon
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. ground cloves
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and diced
- ½ tsp. salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 15x10-inch jelly roll pan. Stack pie crusts on top of each other, and roll out into a large rectangle, about 18x10 inches. Toss the apple slices with the lemon juice. Add the sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and cloves, and stir well to combine. Spread out evenly on top of the pie crust. Make the crumb topping by combining all the topping ingredients in a large food processor, and pulse until it comes together into a coarse crumb. Sprinkle over the apple mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, until golden brown.
* Taylor Ellingson’s Go-To Pie Crust Recipe
Makes two pie crusts (enough for one slab pie)
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ tsp. salt
- 1 ¾ cups unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- ¾ cup ice water
In a food processor, add the flour and salt, and pulse to combine. Add the butter, pulsing until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Drizzle in the cold water, 2 tablespoons at a time, pulsing the food processor as you go. It should form a big clump as you add the last 1-2 tablespoons. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface, and fold the dough into itself until the flour is fully incorporated into the dough. Form the dough into a ball, divide in half, and flatten each half into a thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for two hours, up to three days.