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Benjamina Ebuehi’s Cherry Slab Pie

With its buttery pastry crust and sweet cherry filling, this crowd-pleasing dessert is perfect for summertime gatherings but can be made year-round using frozen cherries.


If you’re bringing a dessert for a crowd, consider making this slab pie. Made in one large tray, it feeds plenty and is ideal for those who aren’t keen on the lower crust-to-fruit ratio you get in deeper filled pies. Plus, you get corner pieces! This is one you can make all year round by using frozen cherries, which I often do. A little lemon and balsamic vinegar brings enough acidity to make the cherries sing as they bubble away in the crust. I always bring this in the pan it was baked in; it makes it super-easy to pop back in the oven to reheat.

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For the pastry:
250g (9oz/1 cup plus 2 Tbsp) cold unsalted butter, diced, plus extra for greasing
430g (15oz/3¼ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp fine sea salt
45g (1½oz/¼ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
60–90ml (2–2½fl oz/4–6 Tbsp) cold water
For the filling:
1kg (2lb 3oz) pitted cherries (fresh or frozen)
130g (4¾oz/2/ 3 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
15g (½oz/1½ Tbsp) cornflour (cornstarch)
juice of ½ lemon
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
To finish:
1 egg, beaten
demerara (turbinado) sugar

Essential kit

You will need: a 33- x 23-cm (13- x 9-in) sheet pan (or you can use a baking tray with sides about 2.5cm (1in) high and a rolling pin.


To make the pastry, add all the ingredients except the water to a bowl and give it a quick mix to coat the butter in the flour. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until you have a coarse mixture with some pieces of butter a little larger than peas.

Make a well in the centre and add in 60ml (4 Tbsp) water. Use a table knife to stir to get a shaggy dough. If the dough still looks really dry, keep adding water a tablespoon at a time. You don’t want a sticky dough, so be careful not to add too much. Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and use your hands to bring it together into a thick, rough rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 2–3 hours or until firm.

Lightly grease a 33- x 23-cm (13- x 9-in) sheet pan (or you can use a baking tray with sides about 2.5cm (1in) high.

Once chilled, split your dough into 2 pieces, with one portion being a little bigger than the other (about a 60/40 split). Lightly dust your work surface and roll out the bigger piece about 4cm (1 ½ in) bigger than your pan. Line your pan with the pastry, making sure to press it into the edges and leaving an overhang of pastry around the rim.

If you’re using frozen cherries, make sure to thaw completely and get rid of two-thirds of any liquid that’s released. Add all the ingredients for the cherries to a bowl and mix to combine. Fill the pastry-lined pan with the cherries and any of the liquids left behind. Roll out the second piece of dough and carefully lay it on top of the cherries. Pinch the edges of the top and bottom crust together to seal and use your fingers to crimp.

Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes (or the freezer for 15 if you have space).

Preheat the oven to 210ºC (190ºC fan/ 410ºF/gas mark 7) and place a large baking sheet inside to heat up too.

Brush the surface of the pie with the beaten egg and sprinkle generously with demerara sugar. Make 4 small slits in the centre of the pie to let steam escape and place it directly on the hot baking sheet in the oven (this will help to evenly cook the base).

Bake for 20 minutes before lowering the oven temperature to 190ºC (170ºC fan/ 375ºF/gas mark 5) and baking for 45–50 minutes until the pie is deeply golden and the cherry juices are bubbling.

Remove from the oven and let it cool for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

I’ll Bring Dessert by Benjamina Ebuehi (Quadrille, £24), Photography by Laura Edwards.

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