This vibrant Strawberry Balsamic Pie from Four & Twenty Blackbirds pie shop in Brooklyn, NY is the perfect pie for springtime. Loaded with juicy strawberries and pungent balsamic vinegar, it’s as delicious as it is beautiful.
When spring arrives, I’m excited to have a new bounty of ingredients for cooking and baking. There are so many wonderful seasonal flavors that remind me of spring, but strawberries are one of my favorites. Although they are prominent in summer, and in many cases ripe for picking at local farms, strawberry love for me begins in springtime.
For years I’ve been a big fan of The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book. It’s the source of one of my absolute favorite spring pies, rhubarb custard pie. While strawberries often pair with rhubarb for phenomenal seasonal pies, rhubarb takes a backseat to balsamic vinegar for this creative spin on strawberry pie.
Boy is this strawberry balsamic pie a showstopper! The filling reminds me of syrupy homemade strawberry preserves. The balsamic vinegar adds a bit of complexity to the strawberry filling. Along with a couple dashes of Angostura bitters and a bit of black pepper, these sophisticated and peculiar flavors take things up a notch. The strawberries are definitely the star here, but are enhanced by these subtle accents.
How to make the pie crust
I highly recommend making your pie crust from scratch. Store-bought just isn’t the same. For a pie as delicious as this one, you really want to go the extra step and make it completely from scratch if you can.
Start by combining flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add cubes of cold butter, and toss to coat. Use a pastry cutter or your fingers to cut/squish the butter pieces into the flour mixture until crumbly, and mostly pea-sized pieces of butter remain.
Combine water, apple cider vinegar, and ice. Sprinkle a little bit of the cold water mixture into the flour mixture, being careful to avoid getting the ice in your dough. Mix with a spatula until incorporated, adding more cold water as needed, a little at a time, until the dough comes together in a ball. A few dry bits should remain. Squeeze with your fingertips to see if the dough holds together.
Divide the dough in half, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour but preferably overnight.
How to make Strawberry Balsamic Pie
When you’re ready to start making your pie, remove the cold pie dough from the refrigerator, and give it about 5 to 10 minutes at room temperature before you start rolling it out. Lightly dust your work surface with flour, and roll out one disc of dough until about 1/8-inch thick.
Carefully set it into the bottom of a 9-inch pie dish, leaving a bit of overhang on the edges. Trim the overhang to allow about 1 to 1 1/2 inches. Cover the crust with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
Roll out the other disc of dough the same way, and either leave it as a circle or cut it into strips to form a lattice. Transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
While the crust is chilling, make the filling. In a large mixing bowl combine strawberries with 3 tablespoons sugar, and let them macerate at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Drain the strawberries of excess liquid, and then combine with shredded apple, balsamic vinegar, and Angostura bitters (a cocktail ingredient). If you don’t have this ingredient, you can leave it out, but it adds a nice complexity.
In a separate bowl combine the remaining granulated sugar, brown sugar, arrowroot (to thicken), black pepper and salt. Fold this into the strawberry mixture.
Pour the filling into the chilled crust, and then top with the circle of dough or the lattice pieces, arranging them to overlap as desired. Then crimp the edges. Refrigerate for another 10 minutes to set the pastry while you preheat the oven.
Brush the top crust with egg wash, then sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake until the filling is bubbly, and the crust is golden brown. Cool the pie completely before serving.
Other pie recipes you may like
- Pineapple Pie
- Bellini Pie
- Blackberry Pie
- Blueberry Nectarine Pie
- Sweet Cherry Streusel Pie
- Rhubarb Custard Pie
- Earl Grey Cream Pie
- Malted Chocolate Pecan Pie
- Junipear Pie
- Sweet Potato Pie with Gingerbread Crust
- Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie
- Maple Buttermilk Custard Pie
- Nutella Pie
When I originally make this pie, the filling did not set quite as much as I would have normally liked. But I actually enjoyed scooping up some of the syrupy strawberries that fell behind and enjoying them by the spoonful as a little post-pie snack. You can also bump up the amount of arrowroot, although the recipe below includes the original quantity.
A scoop of vanilla ice cream would also be pretty epic alongside this lovely pie. P.S. If you call this a fruit casserole instead of a pie, you can totally eat a slice for breakfast without feeling guilty!
What kind of pie is your favorite in the spring? Have you ever tried strawberries with balsamic vinegar (or even a balsamic glaze)? It’s really a great flavor combo. Please don’t forget to leave me a comment if you’ve tried this Strawberry Balsamic Pie! I’ve love to hear what you think!
Strawberry Balsamic Pie
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup ice
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 pounds strawberries rinsed, hulled, and quartered (5 to 6 cups)
- 1 small baking apple (such as Northern Spy or Golden Delicious)
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons ground arrowroot
- 2 grinds fresh black pepper fine setting
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Egg wash (1 large egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water and a pinch of salt)
- Demerara or raw sugar for finishing
- To make the crust: Stir the flour, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the butter pieces and coat with the flour mixture using a bench scraper or spatula. With a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture, working quickly until mostly pea-size pieces of butter remain (a few larger pieces are okay; be careful not to overblend).
- Combine the water, cider vinegar, and ice in a large measuring cup or small bowl. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the ice water mixture over the flour mixture, and mix and cut it in with a bench scraper or spatula until it is fully incorporated. Add more of the ice water mixture, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, using the bench scraper or your hands (or both) to mix until the dough comes together in a ball, with some dry bits remaining. Squeeze and pinch with your fingertips to bring all the dough together, sprinkling dry bits with more small drops of the ice water mixture, if necessary, to combine.
- Divide the dough in half and shape the dough into flat discs, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight, to give the crust time to mellow. Wrapped tightly, the dough can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month.
- Remove the dough from the fridge 5 to 10 minutes before you being rolling. Dough that is too cold will develop cracks when it is rolled.
- Lightly flour your work surface and roll out one of the discs of dough until it is 2 to 3 inches larger than the pan you are using and about 1/8 inch in thickness. Fold the dough in half and lay it across one side of a well-buttered pie pan (no need to butter if you are using a ceramic pie dish), positioning the seam in the center. Unfold the disc and gently slide and fit the dough down into the pan; do not pull or stretch the dough. Make sure there are no gaps between the dough and the pan; if there are air bubbles, burst them with a fork.
- Trim the dough overhang to allow 1 to 1 1/2 inches of excess, measuring from the inner rim of the pan. Cover the crust with plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, preferably 1 hour or more, and tightly wrapped, up to 3 days before using. The rolled out, fitted, tightly wrapped crust can also be frozen for up to a month.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the other disc of dough into a circle approximately 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick. To cover pie with a pastry round, simply place dough round on a parchment lined pan and chill for a minimum of 30 minutes. If making a lattice top, use a pizza cutter or fluted pastry wheel to trim one inch of dough from either side of the circle, and then cut the remaining shape into 8 strips of equal width (this will result in a 4-by-4 lattice–you can cut from 12 to 18 thinner strips and create a 6-by-6 or 9-by-9 lattice respectively, depending on your preference of lattice style). Transfer the lattice strips to a parchment lined pan and chill for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- For the filling: Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the granulated sugar over the strawberries. Stir gently to combine and allow the fruit to macerate at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Peel the apple and shred on the large holes of a box grater. Drain the strawberries of excess liquid and combine with the shredded apple. Sprinkle on the balsamic vinegar and Angostura bitters.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, arrowroot, black pepper, and salt. Gently fold the sugar mixture into the strawberry mixture. Pour the filling into the refrigerated pie shell. Then arrange the lattice on top, and crimp as desired. Chill the pie in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to set the pastry.
- Meanwhile, position the oven racks in the bottom and center positions, place a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack, and preheat the oven to 425° F. Brush the pastry with the egg wash to coat; if your pie has a lattice top, be careful not to drag the filling onto the pastry (it will burn). Sprinkle with the desired amount of demerara or raw sugar.
- Place the pie on the rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry is set and beginning to brown. Lower the oven temperature to 375° F, move the pie to the center oven rack, and continue to bake until the pastry is a deep golden brown and the juices are bubbling throughout, 35 to 40 minutes longer (mine baked an additional 53 minutes).
- Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, 2 to 3 hours. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The pie will keep for 3 days refrigerated or for up to 2 days at room temperature.