Cherry Almond Slab Pie with Marzipan Crumble

I have a special place in my heart for slab pie, which is traditionally baked in a rimmed baking sheet. It is for crust-lovers and those fond of Pop-Tarts. The recipe for Company Cherry Pie in "McCall's Book of Cakes and Pies" (1974) caught my eye and I modified the recipe, substituting a cherry filling from scratch for the canned cherries and red food coloring. I also added crumbles of almond paste and almond flour, as there is no more harmonious flavor combo.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 3 hr 30 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 16 servings
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Ingredients

Almond Piecrust:

Nonstick cooking spray

2 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour

3/4 cup (90 grams) almond flour

1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon table salt

3/4 cup (165 grams) unsalted butter, chilled

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 egg yolk

Marzipan Crumble:

1 cup (140 grams) all-purpose flour

7 ounces (200 grams) almond paste

2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (110 grams) unsalted butter, chilled

Cherry Filling:

10 cups (1.3 kilograms) pitted cherries, fresh or frozen (do not thaw if frozen)

3/4 cup (105 grams) cornstarch

2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon table salt

2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Sliced almonds, for sprinkling

Almond Glaze:

1 cup (120 grams) confectioners' sugar

1/4 cup (60 milliliters) heavy cream

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

To Serve:

Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Grease a 13-by-9-by-2-inch (33-by-23-by-5-centimeter) pan with nonstick cooking spray or softened butter, line the bottom with parchment paper, and grease the paper.
  3. For the crust: Combine the all-purpose and almond flours, the granulated sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processer fitted with the metal blade and pulse to combine. Cut the butter into small cubes, add to the bowl, and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Add the almond extract, egg yolk, and 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) cold water and continue to pulse until the dough begins to come together as a cohesive mass. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and evenly press it into the bottom and two-thirds of the way up the sides of the pan. It will rip, but that is not a problem--simply press it back together again with your fingers. It may seem like there is not enough dough, but there is. Place in the freezer wrapped in plastic wrap while you assemble the filling and crumble, or for up to 3 days.
  4. For the crumble: In the same bowl of the food processor (no need to clean it), add the flour, almond paste, and granulated sugar and pulse to combine. Cut the butter into small cubes, add to the bowl, and process until a cohesive mass forms. Break the mass into crumbly bits, transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until ready to use.
  5. For the filling: Combine the cherries, cornstarch, granulated sugar, and salt in a large bowl and mix together. Add the lemon juice and almond extract and stir to combine.
  6. To assemble the pie, place the filling in the crust and top with the crumble. Sprinkle a handful or two of sliced almonds on top.
  7. Bake for 80 to 90 minutes, less time if you are using fresh cherries, rotating the pan after 30 minutes, and tenting the top with aluminum foil. The pie is ready when the filling is visibly bubbling and the center looks set. Let cool to room temperature before glazing.
  8. For the glaze: Combine the confectioners' sugar, cream, and extract in a small bowl and whisk until smooth and glossy. Transfer the glaze to a zippered bag and cut a small hole in one corner. Squeezing gently, decorate the pie with the glaze. Let the glaze set, about 30 minutes, before serving with vanilla ice cream. 

Cook’s Note

The pie will keep tightly covered in plastic wrap on the counter for up to 3 days.

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