Happy Memorial day weekend! I caught myself doing a wee happy dance at the farmer’s market recently when I discovered Strawberries have arrived for the season! Growing up, there were loads of pick your own strawberry places near us, so I have all kinds of memories of hiding within the rows sneaking strawberries that we most definitely should have paid for before I ate them. I hadn’t baked with strawberries too much until I moved here - we usually just have them fresh with a little powdered sugar (which is still one of my favourite ways to have them), but I also love how they bake up - particularly in this strawberry balsamic pie!
Strawberries are definitely on the sweet side, so when I bake with them I like to balance them out with something either tart or acidic, which is why you so often see them paired with rhubarb. Instead of using rhubarb, in order to really let the strawberry flavour shine through, I balanced out the sweetness with a little Balsamic Vinegar of Modena from Filippo Berio. It is the perfect pairing - the balsamic balances out the sweetness of the strawberries just enough, while not taking away from the flavour. The first test I found was a little soggy for my liking - strawberries are about 92% water, similar to that of watermelon, so you either need to remove some of the liquid, or add more starch than you think, or a combination of both, to avoid a sog fest! I went for a wee combo of both - macerating the strawberries to help draw out some moisture (which makes a super yum strawberry syrup), and then using more starch than I would for an apple or stone fruit pie.
I hope that you give this one a go - it would be perfect to take to a summer bbq as an easy dessert, and it is fairly quick to put together thanks to strawberries being fairly no-fuss when it comes to prep. The sweet fruit goes so well with the flaky crust, and then the Filippo Berio vinegar rounds everything out. I gave this a pretty easy lattice - using a multi-wheeled cutter (which I think is a pasta cutter), I just cut loads of strips, and used three small strips in the place of one larger strip when making my lattice. This is a super easy way to switch things up a little when it comes to latticing, without having to worry about any fancy weaving techniques or braiding. I think it is going to be my new go to, just like this pie! Happy pie making! x
A few wee tips:
I have included a recipe for a regular double crust pie here, but I sometimes like making a little extra so that I don’t have to worry about running out of crust - so if you like, you can make a 1.5x of the recipe to have some wiggle room.
I found that the first time I made this, it was a little on the soggy side, so I included a step of macerating the berries a little in some sugar to help draw out some excess moisture. I found 15 min was enough, but you can leave them up to an hour.
Berry pies do tend to be a bit wetter than other fruit pies, so make sure that your bottom crust is nice and thick, and gets nicely cooked - having the pie near the bottom of the oven at the start of the baking process helps this a lot.
Ideally, you want to give your dough an overnight rest so that it is easy to work with, but a few hours works in a pinch.
I like using a wee tip that my friend Erin taught me to make the pie dough nice and smooth and easy to work with. I make the dough, shape it into two rectangles, rest it in the fridge wrapped for about an hour, then remove it and roll it out into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface. I then give it a letter fold (as you would a letter), roll out to a rectangle, letter fold again, then roll out slightly, and shape into a disc or a rectangle (I usually do a disc for the bottom crust and a rectangle for the piece I will use for a lattice). I then re-wrap it, and leave it to rest overnight. This makes the dough more homogenous without compromising the flaky texture that you want in the pie dough, and it makes it a total dream to work with. For me, it’s a game changer.
You want to let this cool completely before slicing, or it’s going to juice everywhere. Trust me on this.
Don’t bake this without a sheet pan underneath. Strawberries are juicy, and will very likely leak. A sheet pan helps catch everything nicely and avoid an oven disaster.
Strawberry Balsamic Pie
- Makes one 9” pie -
2 ½ cups (375g) Flour
Pinch of Salt
2 tsp (8g) sugar
225g (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup (240ml) cold water
1 cup ice
¼ cup (60ml) Apple cider vinegar
1200g trimmed and quartered strawberries (weight was taken after they were trimmed)
80g granulated sugar
6 Tbsp tapioca starch
75g granulated sugar
75g raw / turbinado sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
2 Tbsp Filippo Berio Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
Raw sugar to finish (optional)
- PROCESS -
Place flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Mix to combine. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat. Working quickly, using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.
Combine ice, water and cider vinegar in a bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I normally need about ½ to ¾ cup, but add slowly) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Divide the dough into two - I like to do a ⅓ to ⅔ split. Shape the smaller portion into a disc and the larger into a rectangle. If desired, roll out and perform letter folds (see notes) Rest in the fridge for at least two hours, or preferably overnight.
FILLING AND ASSEMBLY
Place the chopped strawberries into a large bowl. Sprinkle with the first measure of sugar, then toss to combine. Leave to stand for 20 minutes at room temperature.
Meanwhile, on a lightly floured surface, roll the disc into a circle slightly larger than your pie dish. You want it to be approximately ⅛ inch (3mm) in thickness. Line a 9" pie dish, leaving the extra dough overhanging. Trim the dough so there is about 1 inch overlapping the edge of your dish. Place in the fridge while you prepare the lattice.
Roll out the second piece of dough (the rectangle) into a rough rectangle approximately ⅛ inch thick. Use a pastry cutter to cut strips for your lattice. Place your strips onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and store in the fridge until ready to use. Press together the scraps and re-roll - these are good for extra lattice strips or for using pie stamps to cut out for the border.
In a small bowl, whisk together the tapioca starch, granulated sugar, raw sugar, and salt. Drain the strawberries, reserving the liquid if you like - it is delicious in soda water or cocktails! Add the whisked starch and sugar mixture, then add the vanilla and Filippo Berio Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, and mix well to combine.
Transfer the filling to the prepared pie dish, packing the strawberries in slightly - it is ok if they mound a little as they cook down a lot.
Arrange the strips of pie dough on the top of the pie, weaving into your desired lattice. Either crimp the edges, or trim them flush to edge of the pie dish using kitchen shears or a sharp knife. If you are crimping, trim the crust with a little overhang and then crimp as desired.
Rest the pie in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. While the pie is resting in the fridge, preheat the oven to 425˚f/ 220˚c. Place a baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven.
Brush the pie with egg wash, and sprinkle liberally with raw sugar. Bake at 425˚f / 220˚c for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is set and beginning to go golden. Reduce the temperature 375˚f / 190˚c, and bake until the pastry is deeply golden and the filling is bubbling - 40 to 50 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before serving. Store leftovers at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Thank you so much to Filippo Berio for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.