I’ve been seeing strawberries popping up in stores since February, but I find it’s worth waiting for the smaller, more flavorful strawberries that ripen in spring. Once those arrive, it’s time for two things: eating my fill right out of the container and, most importantly, making pies!
A family birthday provided the perfect excuse for a party-size strawberry pie, so I set to work. If you’re not familiar with a slab pie, allow me to introduce you! These large pies are a good way to feed a crowd and the thinner layer of filling makes them ideal for juicy fruits like strawberries. Slab pies also lend themselves to inventive crust designs; here, I went with small, irregular polka dots, which gave the pie a festive feel.
What You Need
For the Crust
- 1 (13 x 9 x 1-inch) jelly roll or quarter sheet pan
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 16 tablespoons unsalted butter
For the Filling
- 6 cups quartered strawberries
- 3/4 cup sugar, divided
- 6 tablespoons arrowroot
- 4 tablespoons ground instant tapioca (use a coffee grinder to pulverize tapioca pearls)
- zest of 2 lemons plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and sea salt. Grate in the cold sticks of butter. Rub butter into the flour with your fingertips until well-combined. Drizzle ice water over the flour mixture, and gently fold in, mixing just until dough holds together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, gather into a rough mound, and divide dough in two. Shape each half into a small rectangle, wrap tightly with plastic, and chill for 30 minutes or longer.
On a lightly floured sheet of parchment, roll each rectangle of dough out into a 15 x 11-inch rectangle. Set both dough rectangles in a baking sheet and chill until you’re ready to assemble the pie.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F; set a large rimmed baking sheet in the oven to preheat as well (the hot pan helps the bottom crust brown and prevents sogginess). Butter a 13 x 9 x 1-inch jelly roll or quarter sheet pan and set aside.
Gently fold the strawberries, all but 1 tablespoon of the sugar, arrowroot, ground tapioca, lemon zest and juice, ginger root, and sea sat together and set out at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Working quickly, press one of the sheets of chilled dough into the bottom of the jelly roll pan. Spoon in an even layer of the filling. Set out remaining sheet of dough and use a small to cut out 18 – 20 (1-inch) circles. Set on top of pie, crimp edges, brush with the egg white, and sprinkle with reserved tablespoon of sugar.
Set pie on preheated baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn heat to 350, rotate pie, and bake 50 – 60 minutes longer, or until crust is a rich golden brown and filling is bubbling vigorously.
Cool for 1 – 2 hours or longer, slice, and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Pie crust will have the best texture day-of, but pie will keep well covered at room temperature for up to two days.