Pie Squared - You Need This!

 Just like artichoke dip slab pie - trust me you want this for the holiday season!

Just like artichoke dip slab pie - trust me you want this for the holiday season!

The holidays are upon us, and that means entertaining. Whether you’re having guests over for cocktails and nibbles or hosting a full-on spread for family and friends, it’s nice to have a few tricks up your sleeve for quick and easy events. 

That’s why I’m so excited for my friend Cathy Barrow’s new book, Pie Squared. She has crafted tons of pie recipes, sweet and savory, that you make in a quarter sheet pan. They can be then cut down to small pieces as a passed hors d’oeuvre, or larger pieces as a main or side. Her basic pie crust recipe is foolproof and as easy as, well, pie. 

My inaugural effort from the book was the Just Like Artichoke Dip Slab Pie (p. 95), and wow is it delicious. We took it as an appetizer to a dinner party, and it was a big hit. Slab pies are going to be a staple of our entertaining routine from now on.

Just Like Artichoke Dip Slab Pie with a Cream Cheese Crust

Serves 15 to 24

We all have our comfort foods, and artichoke dip is mine. It’s soothing and familiar and cheesy and goes with a rainy day and a Netflix binge. Next time, invite a few friends over, wrap that familiar combination in a tender cream cheese crust, and make a pie. Select artichokes packed in water, not marinated or in a vinegar brine. Chop the artichokes into small pieces, pressing the liquid out as you go. The drier the artichokes, the better the texture and flavor of the filling. Add a lattice or open-work crust that you dusted with cheese, cut the pie into tiny bite-sized pieces, and you have a fancy pass-around for a swanky cocktail party.

Make Ahead: Combine the filling ingredients up to one day ahead.

Ingredients

Cream Cheese Crust
2 1⁄2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (325 g) all-purpose flour
8 tablespoons (113 g)
Unsalted butter, cubed and frozen for 20 minutes
8 tablespoons (113 g) cream cheese, cubed and refrigerated for 20 minutes 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄2 cup (120 ml) ice water

Filling
2 (14-ounce) cans artichoke hearts in water (800 g), drained and chopped 3⁄4 cup (170 g) mayonnaise (not low-fat)
1 cup (100 g) grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1⁄2 cup (30 g) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1⁄2 cup (30 g) snipped fresh chives
2 garlic cloves, grated or minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon cold water
3 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Method
For the crust: In the food processor, pulse the flour, butter, cream cheese, and salt until

the fats are in small pieces coated with flour, about 15 times. Add the water all at once and process until the mixture almost forms a ball. Form the dough into a 6- by 4-inch rectangle using plastic wrap and a bench scraper to firmly press the dough into a cohesive form. Wrap tightly and refrigerate a minimum of 4 hours.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to warm slightly. Divide the dough into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Roll out the larger piece to 11 by 15 inches and place in the slab pie pan, pressing it into the corners of the pan and allowing the excess to drape over the sides. Refrigerate. Roll out the second piece of dough to 10 by 14 inches, place it on a lightly floured sheet of parchment, and refrigerate.

Heat the oven to 400F; if you have one, place a baking stone, Baking Steel, or inverted baking sheet on the center rack to heat.

For the filling: Combine the artichokes, mayonnaise, 1 cup Parmigiano,
the parsley, chives, garlic, lemon juice, and pepper and scoop into the chilled bottom crust. Cut lattice strips from the chilled top crust. Spread the filling evenly in the bottom crust and lattice the top.

Combine the egg yolk and water in a small bowl. Dip a pastry brush into the egg wash and lightly glaze the lattice. Scatter the 3 tablespoons Parmigiano over the surface of the pie. Slide the pie into the oven (on top of the steel, stone, or baking sheet, if using) and bake
until the filling is bubbly and the crust is browned and glossy, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

Swaps:

• Add a small can of green chiles or small jar diced pimentos, drained, to the filling—or add both. Top with crushed Bugles.

 Yours truly, Cathy Barrow, and my husband Sean Timberlake.

Yours truly, Cathy Barrow, and my husband Sean Timberlake.

dpaul brown