Did you do any strawberry picking as a child? We did. Every. Single. Blazing. Hot. Summer.
I didn’t appreciate it so much then, in fact, I’m still carrying some guilt with me now as an adult, about our shenanigans in the fields. We pelted those gloriously plump berries at each other. It didn’t matter how many rows away from each other we were, we whipped those summer jewels as far as they would go. All with an eye on mom, who was filling up those flats as fast as she could. When we came home, we looked like we had been shooting paint balls at each other and our bellies were so full of berries. If we weren’t throwing them, we were eating them. Sorry mom, I know you’re reading this, but big brother made me do it!
Now, years later, I really appreciate being able to drive 5 minutes from my house to pick a flat of berries. I’m very lucky to have access to fresh, local produce all summer long. And believe it or not, my mom still wants to pick berries with me, so we head out each June baskets in hand, to pick berries for pies, jams and to stock the freezer for winter.
I love pies in the summer. I actually prefer a home baked pie over cake most times. It’s one of the best ways to showcase summer fruits, all packaged up in a flaky golden pastry. This Strawberry Pie is usually our summer kick off to pie baking. I’ve made it in small pies, tarts, and even used the filling as layers in parfait cups because it tastes that good. It uses fresh berries, that are not cooked, but topped with a gel layer, that glazes and holds all of those juicy berries in. Each bite is literally a mouthful of fresh strawberries. What’s not to love about that?! The beauty of making it into a slab pie, is that it is made in a sheet pan, and feeds a crowd. There’s enough here for 24 pieces to share, which makes this a no brainer for barbecues, potlucks and summer parties.
So that’s it. I’ve confessed my misbehaving deeds as a kid in the strawberry fields and I’ve professed my love of summer pies. My work here is done.
Happy baking friends!
Fresh Strawberry Slab Pie
*yield is 24 pieces
For The Crust
*I’ve included the pastry recipe from thekitchn.com here because it doesn’t need to be rolled out. It’s an easy pastry that is simply pressed into the sheet pan.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and chilled
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, cut into small cubes and chilled
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar
- 5 to 7 tablespoons ice water
Preheat oven to 375°
- Pulse the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor just to combine. Add the butter and shortening and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand with a few pieces of fat the size of small peas.
- Whisk together the egg, vinegar, and 5 tablespoons of the ice water and pour over the flour mixture. Pulse to form large clumps of dough; if it doesn’t hold together, sprinkle in more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Pulse only until water is incorporated.
- Press the dough evenly across the bottom and up the sides of a 12″ x 18″, parchment lined (bottom only), rimmed baking sheet. Use floured fingers or the bottom edge of a metal measuring cup to press the dough evenly into the pan and up against the edges. Prick holes in the pastry with a fork, about every inch or so – don’t forget the sides! Refrigerate for 30 minutes and then bake for 15-18 minutes. Set aside while you make the filling.
For the Strawberry Filling:
- 16 cups of fresh whole strawberries (about 6 quarts), rinsed and hulled
- 2 1/2 c sugar
- 2 1/2 tbsp corn starch
- juice from 2 lemons
- 3 pkg clear gelatin (or 3 tbsp.)
- 3/4 cup cold water
- whipped cream for garnish
1. Place 10 cups of whole berries, standing up on the cut end, into the cooled pie shell (or however much that you can neatly fit).
2. Mix the gelatin powder in the cold water and let it sit while you prepare the filling. Crush the rest of the berries (6 cups) and place them in a medium pot. Add the sugar, lemon juice and corn starch. Cook on medium heat until mixture begins to thicken, stirring often. Remove from heat and add gelatin mixture. Mix well. Poor over berries in shell. Chill until set.
3. Cut the slab into 3″ pieces and garnish with whipped cream. Store remaining pie, if there is any, in the fridge for up to 3 days.