Slab Pie: The Bar Cookie of Pies Is a Piece of Cake

Updated on September 18, 2019
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Exploring food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes, one ingredient at a time.

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As food timelines go, the slab pie is a relatively new invention. Jessie Sheehan, author of The Vintage Baker, says:

“I was thrilled to discover a crack slab pie recipe in a 1974 recipe booklet published by McCall’s, leading me to conclude that, at the very least, home bakers have been assembling slab pies for almost 50 years. The core components are no different from your typical round pie—a buttery, flaky crust, filled with fruit that cooks down and thickens in the oven.”

So, what’s the big deal about a slab pie? Why not just bake a “normal” pie? Here are a few reasons:

  • The slab pie is a good investment—you make double the filling of a traditional pie, but get three times as many servings.
  • Every slice is guaranteed to have equal amounts of filling and crust (no fights).
  • While deep-dish pies can be disastrous (massive quantities of juice flooding out from the first slice, pooling in the pan and making a soggy mess of the bottom crust), slab pies erase the fear factor.
  • It’s perfect for large gatherings—potlucks and picnics.
  • The bottom crust won’t shrink and slump.

By the way, the slab pie isn't just for dessert. You can use the same plan to create a supper pie or a quiche. Let's get started.

Recipes: Dessert Pies

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Apple With Maple Icing

Sally is one of my favorite bakers. She always provides clear, well-written instructions, precise measurements, tips on specifics (which type of apple should you use?) and beautiful photographs.

For this apple slab pie, she makes a buttery crust and uses a combination of Honeycrisp and Granny Smith apples for the perfect blend of tart and sweet.

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Cherry

Becca, Emily, Kate, and Megan are four sisters, with 12 children, and (admittedly) kitchens full of crumbs and chaos, hence the name of their blog. Their cooking and baking is simple, made-from-scratch, full of flavor but kid-friendly.

My husband's all-time favorite pie is cherry, so I can guarantee that this slab cherry pie has been Mr. Carb Diva tested and approved.

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Chocolate Cream

I wish that Jessica Merchant was my next-door neighbor. We would have so much fun together because we think so much alike. A Readers' Digest version of her "about me" reads as follows:

"I’m seriously, passionately, inexplicably in love with food. Bacon makes me beam. Chocolate makes me shout from the rooftops with joy. . . . I have a terribly horrifying amount of cheese in my cheese drawer. . . . I am totally self-taught/mom-taught/grandma-taught and have no formal culinary training, just tons of mess-ups in the kitchen. I test most of my recipes at least once, but by no means claim to be a culinary genius."

She's about as natural and down-to-earth as they come, and says that slab is code for "holy-cow-this-is-a-boatload-of-pie." Despite the size of Jessica's chocolate cream slab pie you probably won't have to worry about leftovers. She shares with us a perfect buttery crust and then explains how to create a dark, rich chocolate pudding that's not too sweet. Chocolate lovers beware; this one is addicting.

On second thought, perhaps it's just as well that Jessica and I are not neighbors. My waistline would definitely suffer.

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Peach

Kay Little (Cooking with K) is a southern gal and shares her passed-down-from-generations cooking with us. Her recipes are straightforward and uncomplicated. Kay uses fresh (not canned) fruit for her fresh vanilla peach slab pie. Since peaches are a seasonal fruit, you might be limited on when you can bake this pie, so bookmark it. It's worth saving and pulling out when the peaches are ripe.

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Pumpkin

Tracey has had several careers: first as a businesswoman, then as a teacher, and now (lucky for us) as a food blogger. She says this is the best job she's ever had and her enthusiasm shines through in the luscious savories and sweets she shares with us.

Her pumpkin pie would be perfect for a Thanksgiving Day gathering. No more fighting over the last piece of pumpkin pie; with this slab pumpkin pie, everyone gets a slice.

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Strawberry Cream

Nikki is a stay-at-home mom with four little ones in her care. I honestly can't imagine how much work that entails. Nevertheless, I know that I can always depend on her to have beautifully photographed and tested recipes to share. Like me, she's a self-taught cook. The name of her blog is "Chef in Training." I think it's time for her to delete the "training" moniker and call herself Chef because the meals she creates are stunning. (She posts a new recipe every day!)

Her strawberry cream pie is no exception. Nikki blind-bakes her pie crust in a sheet pan and then combines whipping cream and cream cheese for a rich, slightly tangy filling. Beautiful fresh strawberries are nestled on top and then drizzled with dark chocolate.

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Triple Berry

As I write this article, the blueberries and blackberries in my garden are calling to me—it's time to start picking. I don't really like having my fingers stained purple for days, but it's a small price to pay when in the end you can have a delicious pie such as this one from the kitchen of Julie.

If, by chance, you don't have access to fresh berries, don't worry. Julie's recipe for triple-berry slab pie (she uses blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries) relies on frozen berries from the supermarket. Yes, the crust can be a bit fussy to work with, but it all gets covered up with a lovely layer of berries and, when it's all baked, a dusting of powdered sugar can cover up (as she says) a "multitude of sins."

Recipes: Quiches and Savory Pies

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Bacon-Cheddar Quiche

The cooks in the Pillsbury kitchen have created a bacon-cheddar quiche large enough to feed a hungry group of people, and it takes only 20 minutes to assemble. They use chopped bacon, but you could substitute diced cooked ham, or crumbled sausage if you prefer. Steamed broccoli florets or spinach and red bell pepper would also make wonderful additions.

So, clean out the fridge, use whatever you have available and make this quiche your own.

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Breakfast

Jess proclaims that cooking is her sport and the kitchen is her arena. She reads cookbooks "like they're the latest Harry Potter novel" and, given a chance to watch TV "there's a 99 percent chance it will be something on The Food Network."

Jess and I think alike. And I think you will enjoy her breakfast slab pie. Two pounds (that's not a typo) of breakfast sausage, spinach, bell peppers, and a dozen eggs are sandwiched between two supremely buttery, flaky layers of pie crust to create breakfast for a crowd.

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Chicken Pot Pie

I found this recipe, which was the inspiration for this article, in the January/February 2019 issue of my Eating Well magazine. The classic chicken pot pie is super-sized to easily feed eight people. Because the recipe comes from Eating Well, you can be assured that it is tasty but healthy. One serving is only 484 calories.

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Italian

I want you to take a good look at the above photo. Do you see all of those amazing thin, flaky layers of pastry? This slab pie doesn't rely on mere pie crust. You're looking at phyllo pastry—yes, the same pastry used to make baklava.

Jas was born and raised in Bosnia, and but now lives in the United States. She's the author of "Balkan Comfort Food" and the author/photographer/recipe developer for the blog "All That's Jas." Her goal is to demonstrate that comfort foods from around the world can be made simple and accessible while preserving their true flavors.

She was inspired by the cuisine of Italy for this dish. Jas fills a phyllo dough casing with Italian sausage, spinach, fennel, ricotta, and a rich marinara sauce.

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Tex-Mex Frito Pie

For the uninitiated, a Frito pie is savory comfort food in a sack. Simply open a bag of Fritos, ladle in some chili, a sprinkle of cheese and a dollop of sour cream. Grab a spoon and go. It can't get easier unless you need to feed more than one person.

That's where this recipe, originally published by the Washington Post, comes to the rescue. The bottom layer of Fritos in a bag is replaced by cornbread, next chili spiked with chipotle, then a layer of cheese, and on top Frito chips. This Tex-Mex Frito slab pie makes a whopping 24 servings and is perfect for a backyard gathering.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Linda Lum

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      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        12 hours ago from Washington State, USA

        Lawrence, a walk with you and yours would be lovely. I'd even furnish the pie

      • lawrence01 profile image

        Lawrence Hebb 

        17 hours ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

        Linda

        Many of these pies have graced our table, though mostly it would be the savouries.

        Every summer we try and do a few of the walks around here and there's always a Bacon, egg and Cheese pie in a big dish for us. Three of us means a piece on the way and a piece after the walk.

        Then there's the apple pies I make

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        10 days ago from Washington State, USA

        Patricia, you've made this old gal happy. Yes, Sunday is a special day and we always strive to do something "extra special" for our meal also. Blessings to you.

      • pstraubie48 profile image

        Patricia Scott 

        10 days ago from sunny Florida

        O my...what a collection of mouth watering goodies you have shared. As I often say in comments on foods, I am always looking for something special for our Sunday brunches. You have hooked me up. Angels are headed your way this evening. ps Pinning

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        Flourish, at least you narrowed it down to just one. I want them all. Thanks for your kind words.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        4 weeks ago from USA

        OMG, Linda, this is incredible. I think that cherry pie has my name all over it!

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        Oh, Miss Dora, they ALL look good to me right now. I'm in the midst of a diet and am trying my best to behave, but it's difficult when one's job is working with and writing about food. Poor little me!

        Thanks, as always, for stopping by. I pray you are well. This is stormy season for you.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        4 weeks ago from The Caribbean

        All these recipes look scrumptious. Thanks for the recipes. Cherry and berry never looked so good. Sure they taste good too.

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        Li-Jen, I'm so happy to hear from you. I like cake but pies are my absolute favorite. I always try to provide the background on my sources. I would hope that any of them would treat my recipes with such respect as well.

      • Li-Jen Hew profile image

        Li-Jen Hew 

        4 weeks ago

        Hi Linda. These are lovely ideas. I like pie! Good of you to introduce the background of each baker!

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        Linda, I hope to find a (valid) excuse for making that chocolate one very soon. (The simple fact that I WANT it is not reason enough). Dang, it's hard to write about food for a living and be on a diet.

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        Mary, that's what I'm here for. My job is complete LOL.

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        MizBejabbers, I have looked and looked and cannot find a gluten-free phyllo dough anywhere. However, it is possible to purchase GF puff pastry. It's not identical, but it will have plenty of thin crunchy layers--similar enough that in my little mind I think it's worth giving a try.

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        Shauna, I hear ya. I don't dare make one of these for my family. There are only 3 of us (Pumpkin isn't allowed people food).

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        Mary, there are so many variations; that's one of the reasons I wrote this and decided to share it with all of you. Something for everybody.

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        Hi Kari, if I've enticed you to try them all I feel a bit devilish. I am glad you liked the article, however (I don't think that's a sin).

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        Bill, it's good to hear from you. Glad to know I finally found a topic you could (imagine) sinking your teeth into.

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        Eric with all of your hiking any of these COULD probably be an energy bar. I'll just drool over the photos. I'm about 14 pounds away from allowing myself a slice.

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        RTalloni, I had fun putting this one together. The hardest part is not baking (and eating) all of these.

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        Pamela, we're done with barbecues and picnics for the year, so now it's time for church potlucks don't you think? Any of these would fit right in. Glad you enjoyed this.

      • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Lum 

        4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        Louise, quiche is one of my favorite things. How can one go wrong with eggs and cheese?

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 

        4 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

        These pies sound very tasty, especially the dessert ones. The chocolate cream one looks wonderful! It sounds like a delicious treat.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 

        4 weeks ago from Brazil

        Well darn, I was going to go to bed but now I'm hungry. All of these look fabulous. I was hooked from the apple one and it just got better and better.

      • MizBejabbers profile image

        Doris James MizBejabbers 

        4 weeks ago from Beautiful South

        Linda, this is a yummy bunch of pies. I’m really not familiar with slab pies, but I do like fruit cookie bars, which are very similar. I would love to sample the one made with phyllo dough, but I’ve never found gluten-free phyllo although I’ve looked for it. I’m still going to make the September scones from a previous hub of yours. The ingredients are sitting in the kitchen waiting to be put together

      • bravewarrior profile image

        Shauna L Bowling 

        4 weeks ago from Central Florida

        Linda, I've never heard of slab pies, but what a concept! Especially for cooks/bakers who are just starting out. They seem kinda no fail.

        Jess's slab breakfast pie looks so yummy! So does the pot pie. I'll have to consider this type of baking the next time I offer to make something for a party. If I were to make any of these recipes for me and my son I'd be eating leftovers for a month!

      • aesta1 profile image

        Mary Norton 

        4 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        I have not heard of slab pie before but seeing from your pictures, this is what I will be comfortable making. Looks tasty, too and there are many variations.

      • k@ri profile image

        Kari Poulsen 

        4 weeks ago from Ohio

        I want to try each and every one of these. I've never had slab pie, but i will soon! Hope you are having a happy day, Kari

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        I've never heard that name before, although I have eaten it in the past. You nailed it this time. I would eat most of these. :)

        Nasty day, my friend. Bundle up and stay warm.

      • Ericdierker profile image

        Eric Dierker 

        4 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

        Great Linda, I assume you are home safe and sound.

        Now this can be adapted for hiking. I can see me under a Huge boulder for shade. Just loving my new style energy bar.

      • profile image

        RTalloni 

        4 weeks ago

        Such great recipes for a crowd. Thanks for the introduction to slab pies and for a variety of recipes.

      • Pamela99 profile image

        Pamela Oglesby 

        4 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

        What a plethora of great choices! Each of these pies look delicious. It is nice that they feed so many people as that makes them perfect for feeding a hungry group. Thanks for all these great ideas Linda.

      • Coffeequeeen profile image

        Louise Powles 

        4 weeks ago from Norfolk, England

        Oh I love the look of the quiche, I always enjoy eating this. =)

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