Last updated on July 16th, 2019
When you think about it, it’s pretty arbitrary that pies are round 99 percent of the time.
After all, there are sheet cakes and square cakes, cakes in the shape of Fudgie the Whale or SpongeBob Squarepants, and the omnipresent battalion of cupcakes overrunning our bakeries.
Why is it that pies basically come in either circular or Pop-Tart form?
Sure, we get a crescent-shaped hand pie here and there, but for the most part, pies are relegated to roundness.
Well, not in my kitchen, they’re not.
Sorry, Chicago pizza fans. Did I disappoint you? My affection for Lou Malnati’s is well-known, but today we’re talking about a different kind of deep dish pie.
Whether it’s a fruit pie or chicken pot pie, I want my filling to be overspilling. And in the summer—yes, ironically, when the humidity and heat are turning my little un-air conditioned 1920s home into a sauna—my desire to eat pies goes through the roof.
I will eat cold sour cherry peach pie for breakfast every day if left to my own devices, but I’ll also share with others. (Reluctantly? Perhaps. I’ll never admit to it.)
When doing serve-yourself dessert bars at backyard parties, I can’t think of a better selection than a pie and a platter of s’mores ingredients. But I’ve noticed that people are more hesitant to slice wedges of round pies or cakes than they are to snag squares of other desserts.
Whatever psychological factors are at play here, estimating a portion size with four corners seems to be easier than trying to shave off a triangular sliver from a circle.
Science has been trying to solve the cake-cutting dilemma for a century, but I’d rather just change the shape of the pie I’m serving.
I wouldn’t call this sour cherry peach pie a slab pie, though both share a geometric similarity.
Slab pies, which are baked in low-sided metal jelly roll pans, are a great idea for feeding the masses. The shallow pan makes a slab pie equally low-slung, more akin to a fruit bar or rectangular tart. (Or, yes, an enormous Pop-Tart.)
The slices are easy to grab and eat without utensils, making them a potluck and picnic favorite. But I’ll forego the ease of eating pies by hand if it means I can get a 2:1 ratio of fruit to crust in each bite.
When doing deep dish pies, you’ll want to use a lasagna pan or ceramic baking dish with high sides (at least 2 inches deep). Your basic clear glass Pyrex will work like a charm for this, but you can feel free to get fancy with colorful ceramic pans.
Following is my basic recipe for a deep dish sour cherry peach pie. Though they’re my favorite summer combination, you can use 5 pounds of whatever fruit you’d like and adjust with 1/4 cup less sugar if you’re working with very sweet fruit like blueberries or Bing cherries.
You can also switch out the top crust for a streusel topping.
And if you’re afraid of making your own pie crust, I encourage you to give it a try here, since this shape covers a multitude of sins, including slumped crusts and less-than-perfect shapes.
It’s a perfect excuse to go rustic. Take a look at my complete pie crust tutorial from ReadyMade magazine, with expert tips from King Arthur Flour.
- 1 full recipe perfect pie crust, chilled
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons (32 grams) cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest (from 1 small lemon)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 pounds pitted fresh or thawed sour cherries
- 2 pounds fresh or thawed peach slices (can be left unpeeled)
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream (optional, for glazing the crust)
- 2 teaspoons turbinado sugar (optional, for glazing the crust)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Roll out 1 of the pie crust discs into a rectangle large enough to fit a 9x13-inch baking dish with about 1 inch overhang. It's not an exact science here, though in theory it's easier to roll dough into a rectangle than a circle.
- Drape the crust into the pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes or freeze for 15 minutes. (Keep the second half of the pie crust refrigerated for the time being.)
- Whisk the sugar, flour, lemon zest, and salt together in a medium mixing bowl.
- Toss the cherries and peaches together in a large mixing bowl, then gently stir in the sugar mixture until combined.
- Roll out the second pie crust as you did the first one.
- Sprinkle the flour evenly over the bottom of the chilled pie crust.
- Pour the filling into the pan and dot the filling evenly with the cubes of butter.
- Cover the pie with the top crust, tucking the edges in and filling any slumped sides or corners as needed. Slice vents into the center of the crust with a paring knife.
- With a silicone pastry brush, lightly brush the top crust—but not the edges; they’ll brown well enough on their own—with cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar, if desired.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for 45 minutes more, until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown.
- Cover the edges of the crust with foil if it starts to brown too much before the filling is set.
- Cool the pie completely on a wire rack before serving.