Strawberry-Date Slab Pie with Thyme Crust

Serves 10 to 12

Think of this rustic free-form pie as a big fancy pop tart. The buttery, thyme-scented pastry is filled with sweet strawberries and gooey Medjool dates and then baked in the oven until the filling is bubbling and juicy and the crust is golden brown and perfectly flaky.

This recipe makes a lot of pie crust, but that is because it is a BIG pie. Feel free to riff on the filling, too. So, if you have some blueberries, raspberries or rhubarb on hand, they’d work nicely in the mix. Most of the sweetness comes from the dates here. If you are using a mix of tart fruits or your strawberries aren’t at their peak-summer sweetness, then consider replacing some of the strawberries with more dates. For a pie this size, you’ll need about 8 cups of fruit.

The key to achieving perfect results with this pie is to keep your dough cold before it goes in the oven and to use a slotted spoon to fill your pie, leaving any excess liquid in the bowl. Otherwise, you’ll have a soggy bottom on your hands (and nobody likes that). Serve this pie warm and topped with ice cream, whipped cream or creme fraiche, or let it cool completely and enjoy as a hand pie.



  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1¾ teaspoons salt
  • 1½ teaspoons granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1¾ cup unsalted butter (3½ sticks), very cold and cubed
  • ¾ to 1 cup ice water


  • 6 cups hulled and sliced fresh strawberries (about 2 quarts)
  • 2 cups pitted and chopped Rancho Meladuco medjool dates (about 16 dates)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest, plus 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Demerara sugar, for sprinkling

Make the crust In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the salt, sugar and thyme. Using a pastry cutter or two forks, mix the butter into the dry ingredients until you have pea-sized clumps. (Alternatively, you can do this in a food processor.) Drizzle the ice water over the top, adding gradually and stirring after each addition, until the dough begins to form large clumps and the flour is moistened (you may not need all of the water). Dump the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and begin folding the dough over itself and gathering any crumbs until the butter is fully incorporated into the flour. Press the dough into a ball, then cut in half. Flatten into two discs and then wrap each half tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

Make the filling In a large bowl, combine the strawberries, dates, brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Toss to combine, then let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove one half of the dough from the refrigerator (keep the other half chilled while you work). On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 10-by-16-inch rectangle, about ⅛-ich thick. Drape the dough over your rolling pin and then carefully transfer it to the prepared baking sheet.

Using a slotted spoon, pile the strawberry filling on the sheet of dough, leaving any liquid behind in the bowl. Spread into an even layer, leaving a 1-inch border. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the second piece of dough to a 10-by-16-inch rectangle. Carefully lay it on top of the filling. Crimp the edges of the top and bottom crust to form a tight seal all around the pie. Use a paring knife to cut 2-inch slits in the top of the pie. If possible, place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes before baking.

Brush the beaten egg all over the pie and then sprinkle with demerara sugar, if using. Bake the slab pie for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Place the sheet pan on a wire rack and let cool for at least 45 minutes. Slice and serve warm with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream and more fresh thyme leaves for garnish. Alternatively, let cool completely for a hand-held dessert.

Recipe & Photos: Julia Heffelfinger @juliaheff

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