Summer pie season is here and that’s nothing to take lightly! I’m kicking it off with a free-form slab pie made with a flaky all-butter pie crust, juicy strawberries, fresh blackberries, and a squeeze of lemon to brighten the whole dessert up. I love slab pies because not only are they 100x easier than an actual pie, they’re essentially a giant pop-tart. If that doesn’t convince you, I’m not sure much else will. But I’ll give it a shot!
5 REASONS TO MAKE SLAB PIE
- Slab pie is cut into bars so it’s easy to slice, serve, and eat.
- Keep your options open: eat with a fork or hands.
- Slab pie feeds a crowd.
- Easier to freeze leftover slab pie bars compared to traditional pie slices.
- No strict measurements for rolling out the dough.
I made this strawberry blackberry slab pie specifically to freeze the pie bars. Our summer calendar is quickly filling up and I always try to have a stocked freezer. And by stocked I don’t mean with frozen vegetables and casseroles— I mean with muffins, quick breads, cookies, and pie. I suggest doing this anytime during the year so you can easily defrost a treat and take it on the go.
BEHIND THE RECIPE
I began with the same all-butter pie crust that I use for my apple slab pie. Since there’s pie crust on both the top and bottom of each bite, the crust can’t just be mediocre. It’s gotta be GREAT. This pie crust recipe yields 3 9-inch pie crusts or 1 double crust slab pie. You know I’m a cheerleader for the shortening/butter blend in pie dough, but I find this particular all-butter pie dough is both buttery AND flaky. It’s a fantastic balance of tender and crisp and browns beautifully in the oven. It’s my definition of pie-perfect and I’m confident you’ll love it too. I’m working on reducing the recipe down so I can dedicate a blog post specifically to this all-butter crust.
The pie dough needs to chill for a couple hours, so I find it’s easiest to prepare in advance. It can hang out in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezer for 3 months. Rolling out the chilled pie dough is nothing to stress over. Grab your rolling pin and let the pie dough take on whatever shape, as long as it’s about 1/8-inch thick and can fit onto your baking pan. Unlike my apple slab pie where I molded the pie dough to a baking pan’s measurements, I let this pie do it’s thing on a large baking sheet. To make transferring easier, roll it out on parchment paper. Then pick up the parchment and place it on your baking sheet. I recommend a rimmed baking sheet, like a jelly roll pan, so any possible filling juices don’t go overboard!
Low maintenance free-form pies are my new favorite.
I love combining fruits to create unique pie fillings with varying textures. Juicy strawberries pair wonderfully with the more sturdy blackberry. The duo yields a hot pink filling and if the giant poptartness doesn’t make you smile, this barbie pink filling will.There are some exceptions, but whenever you make pie filling, you’ll need anywhere between 6-10 cups of fruit. For this slab pie, you’ll need about 8 cups. Use half chopped strawberries and half blackberries. The blackberries I bought were gargantuan, so I chopped them in half. And then had splattered blackberry juice on my chin for the remainder of the day that no one told me about.
Not many extras in the filling. A little sugar to sweeten, cornstarch to thicken, vanilla extract, a squeeze of lemon, and a pinch of salt for flavor. Berries are in their prime right now, so you don’t want anything taking away from their pristine flavor.
MY #1 TIP!
My #1 tip!!! Berries are naturally juicy and will excrete even more juices after you mix the filling ingredients together. You’ll be tempted to pour the filling on the crust but DON’T DO THAT. There’s soooo much liquid at the bottom of the bowl— I measured about 1/3 cup— and that excess liquid leads to a soggy crust. A slotted spoon helps transfer the filling to the pie crust, leaving excess liquid behind. Don’t worry, the baked pie filling will still be very juicy!
Roll out the top pie crust in the same-ish shape as the bottom. Or you can cut into strips to weave a lattice topping. If topping with a full pie crust, cut a few slits so steam can escape. For a golden sheen, brush the top crust with egg wash. And because it’s fun to be EXTRA, add some sparkle with coarse sugar.
After baking, you can either serve warm or wait until the whole thing cools down. You’ll get neater slices if the pie has cooled down, so I suggest waiting if you’re looking to serve the strawberry blackberry slab pie as bars. If you’re simply serving on plates, cut and serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Told you… low maintenance.
Celebrating summer pie season just got a whole lot easier and if you’re looking for more pie inspiration, I’m your gal.
ALLLLLL THE SUMMER PIES
- American flag pie
- Homemade cherry pie
- Key lime pie with macadamia crust
- S’mores brownie pie
- Strawberry rhubarb pie
- Brown sugar peach pie
- Deep dish apple pie
- Blueberry crumble pie
- Banana cream pie
- Creamy lemon pie
Will you look at how flaky this pie crust is?! 🙂
Strawberry Blackberry Slab Pie
- 4 cups (500g) all-purpose flour
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 and 3/4 cup (3.5 sticks; 400g) unsalted butter, very cold and cubed
- 3/4 cup (180ml) ice cold water
- egg wash: 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 Tablespoon (15ml) milk
- optional: coarse sugar for sprinkling on top
- 4 cups (650g) hulled and chopped fresh strawberries
- 4 cups (500g) halved fresh blackberries
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (28g) cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- Make the pie crust: Mix the flour, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the butter. Using a pastry cutter, a food processor, or two forks, cut the butter into the mixture until you have pea-size crumbles with a few larger crumbs of fat. (I prefer a pastry cutter for control, ease, and so it's not accidentally over-mixed.) Drizzle the cold water in, 1 Tablespoon (15ml) at a time, and stir after every Tablespoon added. Do not add any more water than you need to. Stop adding water when the dough begins to form large clumps. I always use about 3/4 cup (180ml) water. Transfer the pie dough to a floured work surface. Using floured hands, fold the dough into itself until the flour is fully incorporated into the butter pieces. The dough should come together easily and should not feel overly sticky. Form dough into a ball. Divide dough in half. Flatten each half into 1-inch thick discs using your hands. Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (and up to 5 days) or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using.
- Make the filling: Gently mix all of the filling ingredients together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Roll out the chilled pie crust: Remove 1 disc of pie dough from the refrigerator. Keep the other in the refrigerator as you work. I highly suggest rolling the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper or silicone baking mat fitted to your baking sheet. This way you can lift the entire piece of parchment/silicone baking mat off the counter (with the rolled out dough on top) and place on the baking sheet. Roll the dough out into a rectangle or oval shape. I find anywhere around a 10x16-inch size is great, though I've stretched it to a 13x18-inch size. Anywhere around this measurement will work. Dough should be about 1/8-inch thick. Make sure to turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls. Carefully place the dough (with parchment/silicone baking mat) onto a large rimmed baking sheet.
- Spoon filling evenly on top of crust, leaving any excess liquid in the bowl. Leave a bare 1-inch border around the edges.
- Roll out the 2nd pie dough disc in the same-ish shape as the 1st. (If desired, you can cut into strips to weave a lattice on top.) Drape over filling, then use your hands to seal the top and bottom crusts together around the edges. Flute the edges or crimp with a fork. Cut slits into the top of the crust, then brush with a thin coating of egg wash. Sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired.
- Bake the slab pie for about 45-55 minutes until the crust is golden brown and you can see the filling bubbling. Remove from the oven and, if serving as hand-held bars, allow to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack. If serving on plates, allow to cool for at least 45 minutes in the pan set on a wire rack. This pie is fantastic served a little warm with vanilla ice cream or at room temperature (or as cold leftovers, yum!).
- Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Make ahead tip: The pie crust dough can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using. Baked whole pie or sliced pie bars freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving.
- Avoid using frozen berries. Pie filling does not set when using frozen or frozen thawed berries. You'll need about 1 and 1/2 pounds of both whole strawberries and blackberries.
- Quick links to special equipment: any large rimmed baking sheet (I love these), rolling pin, pastry cutter, and pastry brush (I have the 1.5 inch size).
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