A Step-by-Step Guide to the Perfect Strawberry Slab Pie
Erin Brown of Dolce Bakery, home to some of Kansas City's sweetest eats, walks us through her favorite summertime recipe.
The beginning of summer means the beginning of the season's sweetest fruit: strawberries. To make a true farm to table pie, head to Gieringer's Orchard in Edgerton, Kansas and pick your own in their delightfully pungent strawberry fields.
The pick-your-own season runs through the end of May or early June depending on the crop, so if you run out of time– or if you'd rather just take the fast track to dessert (no one will blame you!) you can pick up some fresh ones at farmer's markets across the city like the ones at City Market, Brookside, and Overland Park.
Dessert wasn’t complicated in my house growing up, and I think that influences my overall approach to it. In the spring and summer, we dipped fresh strawberries straight into the sugar bowl. So good! This slab pie is inspired by and only a step or two beyond that. With a little planning, it comes together quickly. You can use almost any seasonal berry or fruit in place of the strawberries.
My adaptation is slightly less sweet than the original, but if you like things sweeter, you could add more sugar or pour a glaze/icing over the top. Honey would also be a delicious substitute for the sugar! Be sure you make this on the day you are serving it. Strawberries have a high water content (92%) and your pie will get soggy.
For weekend entertaining, make your pie dough in the food processor on a Thursday or Friday. Wrap it well and store in the fridge. On the day you plan to bake/serve, roll out your dough to line the pan, refrigerate it while you rinse and cut up your berries. Assemble and bake! This should serve about 12 (or 4 at my house!).
Makes one 15-by-10-inch pie
Slab Pie Pate Brisee (Crust)
· 5 cups all purpose flour
· 1 tablespoon coarse salt
· 2 teaspoons sugar
· 1 pound (4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
· 12 to 16 tablespoons ice water
1. Process flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor until combined. Add butter. Process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream just until dough comes together. (Do not process more than 30 seconds.)
2. Turn dough out in two portions onto two pieces of plastic wrap, with one slightly larger than the other (this will be your bottom crust). Flatten dough, and shape into rectangles. Wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (or overnight).
Strawberry Slab Pie
· All purpose flour, for dusting
· Pate Brisee (recipe above)
· 10 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and quartered (I don’t recommend slicing them- they tend to get mushy and fall apart)
· ½ cup granulated sugar
· ¼ cup cornstarch
· Juice of ½ a lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· ¼ teaspoon salt
· ¼ cup sanding sugar (or granulated sugar)
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out larger piece of dough to an 18-by-13-inch rectangle, trimming excess dough. Fit into a 15-by-10-inch rimmed baking sheet, pressing into corners (pastry will hang over sides). Chill while assembling filling.
2. In a large bowl, stir together berries, granulated sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and salt. Spread mixture over chilled pie shell. Chill again while you roll out the top crust.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out remaining piece of dough to a 16-by-11-inch rectangle; drape over filling. Fold edge of bottom dough over top dough. Crimp if desired. Prick top dough all over with a fork. Brush entire surface of pie with cream and sprinkle with sanding sugar.
4. Bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, 40 to 55 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let pie cool until it is just warm to the touch, about 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into 12 pieces. Slab pie is best eaten the same day it is baked, but it can be kept at room temperature, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for another day. Serve with lightly sweetened freshly whipped cream or ice cream.