cherry slab pie with brown butter oat streusel
It’s Saturday morning, I’m sipping on my first coffee of the day and writing this post from my patio that I recently finished getting set up for the summer. The planters are now fully bloomed and the warm breeze today is truly therapeutic. Having a private outdoor space in NYC is like owning a unicorn amongst a sea of concrete pets. Ha! I’ll be soaking up all its unicorn magic this summer and every post will be composed from here. I’ll share some pics in a future post. Also speaking of NYC summer, the other magic that’s happening is that it’s fruit season at our green markets!
The other week, Erin and I decided to have an extreme baking day, which became two days because we hadn't fully realized what we wanted to achieve. So we made strawberry shortcake macarons, a strawberry shortcake macaron ice cream (recipe coming soon) and this Cherry Slab Pie with Brown Butter Oat Streusel!
I was at the green market that week and saw these amazing fresh cherries, and Erin had mentioned she wanted to bake a pie with streusel, so we knew we needed to combine them in some way. We settled on a slab pie with a lattice top and a boarder of brown butter oat streusel, which adds an exciting, and slightly untraditional, texture/crunch on the top of the pie.
As always, most of the components may be made ahead of time, which will make for an even easier baking day. This pie isn’t that complex with techniques, which makes it great for summer gatherings. It travels well and can feed an army! You can also use your own pie dough recipe as well if that makes preparations easier for you. Please check out my Good to Knows, where I have consolidated a few tips for perfecting this particular recipe.
I am excited to share more fruit recipes that I have in the works and I hope you bake and love this slab pie as much as we do! Now I am going to enjoy the rest of my day on my patio and hope a slice of this pie materializes in front of me!
…Good to Knows…
If you have a tried-and-true pie dough recipe, please use it! However, make sure you have enough dough for this size of a pie. Depending on your recipe, make enough for 3 single crust pies.
Between having Erin (Cloudy Kitchen) as my neighbor and assisting Erin (Erin McDowell) I have the best of the best pie queens at my disposal. But! The best video that I turn to all the time is one that EMcD (that’s my code name for Erin McDowell) did last year for Food52. She answers all your pie questions. Watch right here!
Here is a link to my most favorite sheet pans, USA Pan.
Cherry pie, as with most fruit pies, can be very runny straight out of the oven. Although this sucks, you want to allow the pie to cool enough for it to set up completely before cutting and serving. Trust me, this is vital although cruel to have to wait!
Adding the streusel onto the pie after about 20 min in the oven will ensure that it does’t brown too much or even burn. With this pie baking for over an hour, you don’t want to have bitter burnt flavor notes.
If streusel isn’t so much your thing, you may omit the streusel and make the cherry slab pie as is. Both ways are delish!
cherry slab pie with brown butter oat streusel
…makes one 9x13-inch (quarter sheet pan) pie…
540g all purpose flour
2 tbsp granulated white sugar
1 tbsp salt
339g (12 oz, or three sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
60g (1/4 cup) apple cider vinegar
240g (1 cup) ice cold water
1 cup ice
Brown Butter Streusel
225g (8 oz, or two sticks) unsalted butter
200 dark brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or the seeds from one vanilla bean pod
200g all-purpose flour
80g rolled oats
Fresh Cherry Filling
1500g fresh cherries, pitted and halved
420g turbinado raw sugar
120g tapioca starch - or corn starch
1 tsp salt
1 large brown egg, beaten
1 tbsp water or whole milk
turbinado sugar for topping pie dough
As always, weigh out, gather and prepare all ingredients prior to mixing. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients and set aside. In a small bowl, add water, apple cider vinegar, and ice, and set aside. If there is too much ambient warmth in your kitchen, keep liquids in refrigerator.
Pull out your very cold butter and cut into small chunks, cutting lengthwise, turning and cutting lengthwise again, then into approximately 8 pieces of 1/2 inch squares. I do this to make sure the butter squares are all uniform. That way I know when it is all incorporated.
Now, toss your butter into the large bowl with your prepared dry ingredients, and make sure the butter is all evenly coated in flour. Then take the pieces and shingle them: this is the method of smushing the butter between your thumb and index finger to incorporate the flour into the butter. Continue until all is incorporated.
The mixture should feel like lightly wet sand with shingled bits/shards of butter throughout.
Once the butter is fully incorporated into the flour and you have your desired texture, build a well in the center and add 4 tablespoons (or a 1/4 cup) of your water/apple cider vinegar mixture into the well. Mix with your hands, tossing from the outer edge of the bowl and coming up and under the water and sifting it through. Build a well again and repeat, adding another 4 tablespoons (or a 1/4 cup). Your mixture should begin look shaggy and feel like dough when you press the mixture into the side of the bowl. You may need to add 2-6 more tablespoons of the water/apple cider vinegar mixture until you have a moist, but not wet, shaggy dough mixture. Here is a video of Erin McDowell explaining pie dough that I reference often!
In the large bowl, split dough into two sections, 1/3 for bottom and 2/3 for top/lattice. You can always weigh it out if you’re more comfortable with weights than eyeballing. Mold these portions, just slightly, into the sides of the bowl and roll each one onto a piece of plastic wrap. Form into a loose rectangle, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and press lightly again into a rectangle. Place in refrigerator to chill for 1-2 hours.
After 1-2 hours, pull out of refrigerator. While plastic wrap is still on, press down with rolling pin just a few times. On floured work surface, unwrap dough and roll out to a 8 x 10 inch rectangle. Fold from the long ends into a trim-fold (as if you’re folding a letter). Roll out again to an 8 x 10 inch rectangle. Repeat two more times. Your dough should now be folded in half and placed back into the plastic wrap. Repeat these steps with both portions of dough. Place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight.
Brown Butter Streusel
Place the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Heat the butter, stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted. Continue cooking until the butter begins to foam and starts to give off a nutty aroma. You will notice it turning a rich, deep golden brown color with little dark bits on the bottom of the pan. This is what you are looking for. Remove pan from the heat and pour the browned butter in a medium heatproof bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, and mix well with a rubber spatula until everything is incorporated to the size of a pea or thumb nail. You may use your hands to mix if you'd prefer.
Set streusel mixture aside.
…ASSEMBLY and SERVE…
Like a broken record, weigh out, gather and prepare all ingredients prior to assembly.
When it’s time to prepare your pie, pull out the smaller dough, and let sit on counter for approximately 5 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 16 x 12 inch rectangle, then roll dough onto rolling pin and drape over quarter sheet pan, leaving 1/2 inch over-hang. Tuck under and press down to seal for your decorative border. Place dough into refrigerator for a minimum of 30 min to an hour while you prepare the cherry filling and lattice top.
Repeat rolling step above for second dough, and cut into your chosen lattice strips. We opted for a braided border and a classic lattice on an angle. Place all lattice/braid pieces on a parchment lined baking sheet refrigerate until needed.
In a large bowl, toss the fresh cherries, sugar, tapioca starch, and salt until well-combined. After your pasty lined sheet pan has properly rested, fill with cherry mixture, ensuring mixture is evenly disrupted and level. Now top with your chosen lattice/braid decor (adhering edges/braid with egg wash) and place finished pie in the refrigerator for 30 min to an hour. This final rest/chill is essential for a perfectly baking pie.
As the pie rests, place oven rack on the lower level of the oven and preheat 425˚f/ 220˚c. Place pie onto a baking sheet, as fruit pies may leak, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar and place into the lower rack. Bake for approx. 20 mins, until the pie is beginning to turn golden. Remove the pie and top with prepared streusel topping around the boarder. Return pie to the lower rack in the oven, reducing temp to 375˚f / 190˚c and continue to bake for an additional 45-50 mins, or until the pie is a deep golden brown with toasty streusel.
Remove pie from the oven and allow it to cool enough to where it has set, and is no longer lava, before cutting it. This is best served warm, but it’s still delish at room temperature! Enjoy!