Strawberry Slab Pie
On Juneteenth, which celebrates the abolition of slavery in the United States, the picnic table overflows with summertime pies and red foods, a symbol of perseverance. That makes this festive strawberry slab pie ideal for Juneteenth, though it’d be welcome anytime in berry season. The rectangular pie is made in a quarter sheet pan; if you don't have one, use a comparably sized casserole dish. Cracked black pepper in the crust and fresh ginger in the filling add a bit of spice. This isn't an especially sugary dessert, so if you want something sweeter, top it with vanilla ice cream.
- Serves: 12 persons
- 2 ½cups plus 2 tablespoons/360 grams all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough
- 1tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1cup/226 grams cold unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus more for buttering the pan
- ¾cup/177 milliliters ice water
- 2tablespoons buttermilk
- 3pounds/1.3 kilograms fresh strawberries, small berries cut in half and larger berries cut in quarters (see note)
- 3to 4 tablespoons/40 grams loosely packed dark brown sugar, depending on how sweet your berries are
- 1tablespoon cornstarch
- ½teaspoon grapefruit zest
- 1 ½teaspoons grapefruit juice
- ½teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- ¼teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛teaspoon coarse kosher salt
Step 1Make the crust: In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, the salt and the pepper. Using a pastry blender, cut butter into flour until the largest pieces of butter are the size of lentils.
Step 2Sprinkle ice water over dough a tablespoon at a time, stirring and scooping the dough with your hands as you go to incorporate the water, until the dough just begins to adhere and you can gather it into an imperfect ball. (You may not need all the water.) Transfer dough to a piece of plastic wrap and press into a disk. Wrap tightly and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Step 3Lightly butter a quarter sheet pan with a 1-inch rim, including the top edge of the rim, and set aside. (Quarter sheet pans are usually 8 by 11 inches or 9 by 12 inches, depending on the manufacturer.)
Step 4Lightly flour a large work surface, a rolling pin and the dough. Roll the chilled dough into an 1/8-inch-thick rectangle. From that, cut a rectangle three inches bigger than the dimensions of your pan on each side (i.e., an 11-by-14-inch rectangle for an 8-by-11-inch pan, or a 12-by-15-inch rectangle for a 9-by-12-inch pan). Reserve the extra dough.
Step 5Gently press the dough rectangle into the quarter sheet pan, trimming excess dough at the edges. The dough should go all the way up and over the top edge of the pan, if possible. Transfer pan to refrigerator and chill for 1 hour.
Step 6Meanwhile, line another baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out reserved dough to 1/4- to 1/8-inch thickness. Using 1- and 2-inch biscuit cutters, cut out about 30 circles of different sizes (or use all one size if you prefer), rerolling dough as necessary. Transfer circles to parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate.
Step 7Make the filling: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir well. Set aside for about an hour, while crust chills.
Step 8Heat oven to 375 degrees. When oven is hot, paint some of the buttermilk on the edges of the pie crust. Transfer berry mixture to crust, patting the berries down into a roughly even layer. Place pan on a larger baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake for 30 minutes.
Step 9Paint buttermilk over reserved pastry circles and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon granulated sugar. Place circles all over the bubbling berries. Continue baking pie until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, an additional 50 to 60 minutes.
Step 10Run a small knife around the edge of the pie while it's warm. Transfer the pie in its quarter sheet pan to a wire rack. Let cool for at least 2 hours before cutting and serving from the pan.