Transform regular pie into slab pie: Dessert for a crowd

Be it blueberry, pumpkin, or bright lemon meringue, pies have been bringing families and friends to the table for generations. While delicious and filled with love, some pie recipes simply don’t make enough to go around. If you need to feed a crowd, and rolling out crust after crust doesn’t sound like the ideal way to spend a day, slab pie is the answer.

A slab pie baked in a 13″ x 18″ half sheet pan can serve upward of three dozen hungry mouths. And you can turn just about any pie crust into a slab pie with some simple multiplication.

After some experimentation, I came up with two quick conversions that should work with any pie crust recipe. Note that these conversions work whether you’re measuring by weight or by volume.

To make a single crust slab pie, make 2.5x a single crust recipe. Our favorite single crust recipe: Classic Single Pie Crust.

To make a double crust slab pie, make 3x a double crust recipe. Our favorite double crust recipe: Classic Double Pie Crust.

Need to bake pie for a crowd? Turn your favorite pie recipes into slab pies — big enough for everyone to have a second slice! Click To Tweet

Classic Single Pie Crust and Pumpkin Pie transformed into a slab pie.

Single crust slab pie

For pies that use only a bottom crust — custard pies, pumpkin pies, pies topped with a buttery crumble, etc. — start with a single crust recipe and multiply every ingredient by 2.5.

You want to be able to roll the dough to the size of the pan (13″ x 18″) plus an extra inch on each side, making for a 15″ x 20″ rectangle that’s about 1/8″ thick.

Once the ingredients come together, form the dough into a rectangle about 3/4″ thick and cover it in plastic wrap. That shape makes it easier to roll out the final shape after it chills in the refrigerator.

Slab Pie via @kingarthurflour

Classic Double Pie Crust and Anytime Peach Pie transformed into a slab pie.

Double crust slab pie

To make enough pastry for a top and bottom crust, a triple batch works wonderfully.

If you’ve made a traditional double pie crust before, you know that the amount of dough needed for the top and bottom crust isn’t equal. This is mainly because the bottom crust needs to be large enough to cover the bottom and sides of the pie pan, plus some overhang for crimping.

Since a standard half sheet pan is much shallower than normal pie dishes — usually just 3/4″ deep — the amount of dough needed for the top will be only slightly less than what’s needed for the bottom. Think 55:45 instead of the usual ratio of 2:1.

Slab Pie via @kingarthurflour

Classic Double Pie Crust and Apple Pie with Cranberries transformed into a slab pie.

Increasing the filling

Now that we know how much crust to make, it’s time for the filling. A 2x batch will work for any fruit or custard pie filling. This double batch should make enough to fill the pan level.

If you want a fuller fruit pie, make a 2.5x batch. Since fruit tends to shrink down as it bakes, feel free to pile it up.

That said, since pies tend to leak over the edges of the pan while baking, I recommend lining the bottom of your oven or bottom rack with foil, depending on what your oven manual suggests.

Slab Pie via @kingarthurflour

Also, don’t make the same mistake I made in the photograph above! Carrying a full pan — custard and all — from the kitchen counter to the oven is just a smidge terrifying. I recommend putting the crust-filled pan on your oven rack and then slowly pouring the filling from a pitcher or measuring cup.

Slab Pie via @kingarthurflour

Changes in bake time

While the oven temperature shouldn’t change from the original recipe, the bake times could vary. I recommend checking the pie around the 30-minute mark. Look through the window of your oven rather than opening the door, if possible.

When the crust seems fully browned, tent the pie with foil, then check for doneness at the 45-minute mark. If it’s not ready at that point, continue baking and check for doneness every 5 minutes.

With fruit pies, make sure that the liquids bubble thoroughly and that the crust is golden brown. In custard pies, the center can still be somewhat wobbly, but the edges should be set. For details see our blog post, How to keep pumpkin pie from cracking.

Slab Pie via @kingarthurflour

If you prefer a crunchy bottom crust rather than soft, I recommend blind baking the bottom crust for about 15 minutes before adding your filling. Then bake as directed for the full 30 to 45 minutes, tenting with foil if needed.

In my experimentation, both of my fruit pies were done around the 50- to 55-minute mark and my pumpkin pie was perfectly done after 45 minutes. The sides were set, the custard center was a little jiggly — perfect!

If you’re turning a regular pie recipe into a slab pie for the first time, keep an eye on it. When it’s done, write down the total bake time on a recipe card for next time.

Slab Pie via @kingarthurflour

Key takeaways

The next time you need pie for a crowd, there’s no need to fret! Pull out a half sheet pan, your favorite recipe, and a pencil — you’ll be passing slices around in no time.

  • To transform a single pie crust recipe into a single-crust slab, make a 2.5x batch.
  • To transform a double pie crust recipe into a double-crust slab, make a 3x batch.
  • Make a 2x or 2.5x batch of fruit filling, depending on how tall you want the finished pie to be.
  • Make a 2x batch of custard-type fillings.
  • Check pies around the 30-minute mark, covering with foil if needed.

And the most important takeaway? Experiment! Spend a weekend playing with some well-loved pie recipes. No one will complain if there’s a leftover slice or two for breakfast the next day.

Which family favorites will you turn into a slab pie first? Let us know in the comments section below.

Thank you to Anne Mientka for taking the photos for this article.

Annabelle Nicholson
About

Annabelle grew up in New Hampshire and Vermont and attended New England Culinary Institute to study baking and pastry arts. She works on the Digital Engagement Team, and spends her non-baking time playing board games and cuddling her hedgehog.

comments

  1. Pia

    I just made a half-sheet slab pie! I found it very difficult to roll out the dough large enough to cover the entire pan. Lots of cursing and trips back and forth from the freezer. I only used a double recipe of pie crust (enough for 4 single crusts) and I see this article calls for a triple recipe so maybe that would be easier. Still, next time I will roll out two 15×10 rectangles (the size of a quarter sheet pan) and then lay them side by side rather than making one huge 15×20 rectangle.

    Reply
    1. Annabelle Nicholson, post author

      Nothing wrong with that, Pia! I hope the two-rectangle method works out with using a triple batch. Annabelle@KAF

  2. Agnes Farres

    I have a very small oven and can only fit 10×15 pans or quarter sheet pans (9×13). How would you adjust this recipe for these smaller pan sizes?

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      Agnes, this is an easy one! As the names imply, a quarter sheet pan is half the size of a half sheet pan, which means everything halved should fit your quarter pans just right. Susan

  3. Leo

    What a fabulous idea! And you included the math too. Thankyou for taking the time. So much appreciated as I now feel so much more confident about this weekends dinner party.

    Reply
    1. Annabelle Nicholson, post author

      I’m so glad this article was useful, Leo! Any ideas on the flavor you’ll be making? Annabelle@KAF

  4. Kimberly Petrich

    I love to make banana cream slab pie! I’m looking forward to trying it with my favorite fruit pies, apple and cherry. I’ve also done pumpkin and it’s amazing too! I wonder how pecan pie would work out?

    Reply
    1. Annabelle Nicholson, post author

      I think a pecan pie recipe would make for a glorious slab pie, Kimberly! A double batch of the filling should be perfect, but if you want to make the filling a little more robust, a 2.5x batch will be great. The bake time will likely be similar to what I had for pumpkin pie which was 45 minutes. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

  5. Suzanne R.

    Slab pie is the best! The ratio of buttery, crispy crust to the filling is perfect. We will have slab pie for Thanksgiving again this year – a mixture of summer fruit, mixed up with sugar, lemon juice, a sprinkle of nutmeg, then frozen into a “slab” shape. The pie will be baked Thanksgiving morning and warmed gently while we eat dinner. Such a treat to have summer fruit in late November – the pie is impressive when brought to the table, and so easy to cut/serve.

    Reply
    1. Annabelle Nicholson, post author

      Slab pie is definitely an under-utilized dessert, Suzanne. I love the idea of using summer fruits on Thanksgiving — after a delicious, rich meal, I can see a slice of bright summery pie as a refreshing end to the day. Not to mention — it smells heavenly! Annabelle@KAF

  6. Viv

    Oooh, the bright lemon meringue you mentioned in the first paragraph sounds LOVELY. 2x the meringue topping as well as the lemon filling?

    Reply
    1. Annabelle Nicholson, post author

      I’m one of those people that wants a mile-high meringue pie, Viv, so I’d make a double batch of the lemon filling and a triple batch of the meringue. More is more when it comes to meringue! Annabelle@KAF

  7. Michelle C

    One VERY IMPORTANT thing to keep in mind with many newer ovens – you are not supposed to line the bottom of the oven with anything – no foil! So read the owner’s manual first.

    To get around this, put a rack on the lowest level and put the aluminum foil on that rack, then put the pan with the pie above it. You’ll catch the drips and not violate the warranty or damage your oven.

    Reply
    1. Annabelle Nicholson, post author

      Thanks Michelle! I’ve been doing it my whole life but wouldn’t want anyone’s oven getting damaged. I’ll add a note. Thanks for reading — happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

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