Easy Cherry and Cognac Slab Pies
Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
small slab pies
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes
For Presidents Day, in honor of Mr. Washington, our first president and a man with a history as rich as his mythology, try this cherry-filled puff pastry slab pie. Frozen puff pastry makes it a quick and easy treat; allow time for the pastry to defrost in the refrigerator before you bake. Cognac, a brandy, was a beverage of choice for the founding fathers' financiers, the French, and it makes this filling differently delicious. And that’s no lie.
5 ounces dried, pitted cherries
¾ cup Cognac
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch
2 tablespoons cane syrup
1 teaspoon water
1 pound puff pastry defrosted in the refrigerator
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw)
- Make the filling: Combine the dried cherries and Cognac in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Mix the sugar and cornstarch in small bowl. Strain the hot cherry liquid into the sugar, whisking vigorously. (If a few cherries fall in, it’s okay, but try to keep them in the pot.)
- Pour the now-liquid sugar mixture back into the pan and set over medium heat, stirring gently, until the mixture reaches a rolling, strong boil. While it boils, add the cane syrup and stir to thoroughly combine. Remove from the heat and let to cool to room temperature. This filling can be made up to 2 days in advance, and will keep, covered and refrigerated, but it must be brought back to room temperature before baking.
- When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper and set aside. Gently beat the egg and water in a small bowl and set aside.
- Unfold one piece of the defrosted puff pastry on a work surface, and following the folds of the pastry, cut it into 3 long rectangles. Transfer them to a platter.
- Unfold the second piece of puff pastry on the work surface and again following the folds of the pastry, cut it into 3 long rectangles.
- Spoon one-third of the filling along the center of each of the 3 rectangles, making sure to leave about 1 inch around the edges. Brush the edges with some of the egg wash.
- Top each with one of the remaining pastry rectangles and press the edges gently to seal. With a sharp knife, make 3 (1-inch) slashes through the top of each sealed pie.
- Place the pies on the prepared baking sheet. Brush liberally with egg wash and sprinkle liberally with turbinado sugar. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown and puffy. These are best if served immediately, but they will keep, covered, for 1 day.
The directions above will make three slab pies. To make individual hand-pies, cut each pastry rectangle into three equal pieces. You will end up with 18 pieces. Fill with about 1 tablespoon of the filling, brush the edges with egg wash, press to seal, brush all over with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar just as above. Bake for about 5 to 8 minutes, until golden brown and puffy.