Inspired by a friend’s recipe and nostalgia for summer days from youth spent in Romania, this Sweet Cheese Slab Pie, is worth turning your oven on during a heat wave.
Sweet Cheese Slab Pie
During the unusual heat wave we have been experiencing in Minnesota lately, I have been feeling pretty nostalgic for the lazy summer days of my youth spent with friends at the beach in our wet swimsuits eating slab pies wrapped in greasy brown paper.
So, the other day, while I was absent-mindedly scrolling through recipes on the internet and enjoying my air-conditioning, I saw a great recipe on a Romanian site for a slab pie with Greek yogurt that reminded me of one of the most wonderful sweet cheese slab pies I had eaten at a dear friend’s house years ago made with farmer’s cheese.
Since I always have frozen phyllo dough or puff pastry and farmer’s cheese in the house for those times when my husband and I crave a baked treat or a simple snack, I got to work on this very easy, summer heat wave approved Sweet Cheese Slab Pie.
Just like my friend’s sweet summer treat, this slab pie has a creamy sauce poured over it towards the end to make it soft inside, yet crispy on top.
By the way, did you know you can make your own farmer’s cheese at home? If you need a reminder on how easy it is to make it, follow my recipe here.
how to make this sweet cheese slab pie
So, while I had a talk with myself that turning on the oven in a heat wave was not absolute madness, I preheated the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and took out the phyllo dough out of the refrigerator.
Follow the package instructions on how to thaw yours, but in general, the phyllo dough needs to be defrosted in the fridge overnight, not on the counter.
It could become soggy on the counter if there is too much condensation during the thawing process and it will get sticky and pretty much ruined.
I took out the butter, farmer’s cheese, eggs, sour cream, milk and the raisins.
I like to soak the raisins in a little rum because it gives them a little more flavor while softening them up, but when I don’t have rum, I also soak them in a little hot water so they get nice and plump and soft.
Plump raisins are preferable in any recipe that requires them. Once I started soaking mine in some liquid, it completely changed my baked goods, and I will never go back to using my raisins straight out of the package.
While your oven is preheating and your raisins are taking a drunken bath in the rum, melt the butter, open your package of phyllo dough and take out a 9×13 inch baking pan and start assembling the slab pie.
Grease the pan with some of the melted butter,
then place four sheets of phyllo dough in the pan, one by one while brushing each one with the melted butter.
Start making the filling by mixing together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla and farmer’s cheese. I used an electrical mixer, but if you don’t have one, use a whisk.
Once you have a pretty homogenous mixture, take out the raisins from the rum and fold them into the cheesy mixture.
You might ask if you can drink the rum once you take the raisins out, and I will give you the same answer I gave my daughter when she asked me that same question one year when we were making our Christmas bread. I wouldn’t because it will taste gross, but you do what you want while I’m not looking.
Now that you have your mixture, you can assemble the slab pie.
I spooned some of the mixture onto the sheets
and spread it around so it evenly covered them.
I repeated the process
until I was out of the cheese mixture
and the last layer were the phyllo dough sheets.
This is a very important last step! Make sure your velvety mixture is covered up by the phyllo dough, otherwise, you won’t have a crispy top later.
Take out a sharp knife and cut the slab pie into squares. Put it in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes.
While the pie is baking in the oven, make the sauce that you will pour over in a little bit. Mix the milk, sour cream, egg, and sugar together until you have a sweet, creamy sauce.
Once the slab pie has baked for 40 minutes, take it out of the oven.
Pour the velvety sauce over it.
It will look like your pretty pie is taking a bath. Do not worry if it looks too watery because the egg will stiffen it up and it will also get soaked up by the rest of the layers.
Put it back in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed and the surface is golden brown.
I know you will want to cut into it and eat it immediately because of how tasty it will look, but it is summer after all and this pie is best served cold.
Let it cool off and then put it in the fridge. Just like you in a heat wave, this slab pie is happiest in a dry, cool environment.
Serve it with some iced tea or some coffee, or just eat it by itself while enjoying your air conditioning or the pool.
Let me know how it turns out because I tell you, this pie is worth turning on your oven in a heat wave. The cold pie you will be eating in a few hours, will cool you off and also satisfy your sweet tooth!
PIN THIS FOR LATER:
- 1 package(16 oz) phyllo dough
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter melted
- 32oz farmer cheese(or ricotta)
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup raisins or to your taste
- 1/2 cup rum or hot water to hydrate the raisins
- powder sugar for dusting the pie
- To pour over the pie:
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 350F and remove the phyllo dough from the fridge. If you kept it in the freezer, it needs to defrost in the refrigerator(better overnight)
- Soak raisins in a little bit of rum or hot water. Set aside.
- Melt the butter.
- Brush a 9x13 inch baking pan with melted butter.
- Place 4 sheets of phylo dough in the pan, one by one, brushing each one with butter.
- In a medium bowl, mix together farmer cheese, egg, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla.
- Drain the raisins and add them to the cheese mixture.
- Spoon few tablespoons of cheese mixture over the sheets and spread it even.
- Place another 4 phyllo sheets on top of the cheese, making sure to butter each sheet.
- Place another layer of cheese on top of the sheets and continue the process until you finish the phyllo and the cheese mixture. The top layer should be phylloo sheets.
- Cut the pie in squares and bake at 350F for 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile mix milk, sour cream, egg and sugar together.
- When the pie is baked, remove it from the oven and pour the milk mixture over the entire surface.
- Return the dish to the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the surface is golden brown. Let it cool, refrigerate and serve.
- This pie can be served warm or cold, both ways are delicious.
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Amount Per Serving:Calories: 368 Total Fat: 25g Saturated Fat: 14g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 115mg Sodium: 510mg Carbohydrates: 22g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 17g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 14g