Alaska’s strawberry season is months off, but in the stores, strawberries are plentiful and cheap right now. This little slab-pie number is kind of perfect for your end-of-school parties and first-of-the-season barbecues. (Double it for a casserole pan). The secret to getting the perfect texture on this pie is three-fold. First, use tapioca, either flour or instant, to thicken. It works really well with acidic fruit. Second, make sure that the filling is really bubbling when you take it out. Three, LET IT COOL. I know, I know, seems hard, but if you can, for example, bake it and leave it alone overnight, you’ll be really happy with its slice-able crimson gel. Also, if you’re feeling really pressed for time, nobody is saying that you can’t used store-bought raw pie crust. That makes putting the pie together super fast.
Strawberry slab pie
Serves nine, generously
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks of salted butter, very cold
2-4 tablespoons ice water
1/4 cup sugar
5 cups fresh strawberries, tops removed, quartered
1 cup white sugar
Juice and zest of one orange
1/4 cup tapioca flour or 3 tablespoons instant tapioca
1 egg, beaten
Method: To make the pastry, put flour, sugar and butter in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse into a fine meal. Drizzle water in the processor as you pulse until dough comes together. Form into two balls, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. When you’re ready to assemble pie, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix berries with sugar, juice, zest and tapioca flour. Roll out the dough and line a 9-inch square baking dish. Pour in the berry mixture. Roll pastry dough and set on top. Pinch edges to close and make vents in the top with a sharp knife in whatever decorative pattern you like. Brush with beaten egg. Bake for 48-55 minutes, until filling is bubbly and top is golden. Allow it to cool completely before slicing. Allow filling to set overnight for maximum firmness.