Balsamic Strawberry Pie Recipe

Balsamic Strawberry Pie Recipe

Written by Christie

Lessons from a Life Well Lived

Today I attended the funeral of a woman I never met and was reminded that in the end, nothing is more important than how one makes people feel. It was a sad day for many, but also a joyous one because it was unquestionable that this woman lived fully by caring for others. She made it her life’s work to connect authentically and meaningfully, often using food made at her hands as the conduit for these connections.

I wish I had known Fani Haim. I imagine learning to make baklava or comparing recipes for bourekas in her kitchen, while enjoying one of her delicious cappuccinos. Certainly she would impart some simple wisdom that would cut right through the complex dance of the modern working mother. Because of today’s beautifully told stories of the moments of her life, Fani’s memory has already been a blessing for me.

The lessons of Fani’s blessed memory?

  • Tell the truth (gently and lovingly).
  • Show up.
  • Love.
  • Dance.
  • Tell (inappropriate) jokes.
  • Laugh.
  • Take care of others with your presence, your joy, and your food.
  • It always come back to the food.

We’re in week three of strawberry season in Northeast Ohio and my family has eaten our way through 8 quarts of strawberries in that time. Strawberry shortcake has been on the menu twice, I’ve baked strawberry rhubarb pie two ways, and eaten fresh strawberries for breakfast with greek yogurt or oatmeal. I adore the way that the tartness of rhubarb balances the otherwise cloying sweetness of baked strawberries. But I wasn’t able to make it to the farmer’s market Saturday morning, and this week’s Fresh Fork share included strawberries but not rhubarb, so the strawberry pie challenge was on!

Strawberries with balsamic vinegar, or balsamic strawberries are a delicious and simple summer dessert. You combine strawberries with some sugar and vinegar and (optionally, but highly recommended) freshly cracked black pepper and serve them with mascarpone or ice cream, on top of poundcake or buttermilk biscuits, or simply enjoy them plain. Why not make a pie with balsamic strawberries, you ask? I can’t think of a single good reason.

Like rhubarb, the tartness of balsamic vinegar and the spicy sharpness of the black pepper balance the sweetness of the peak season strawberries beautifully. Holy smokes this pie is delicious! My boyfriend’s dessert palate favors the sweeter side and he said that this was his favorite fruit pie ever.

I tried using potato starch because somebody who likes sweet desserts (eh hem) missed the corn starch on the grocery list, and the resulting pie was a bit runny. It doesn’t really bother me, but in the unlikely event that this pie sits around for a few days the bottom crust will get mushy from the liquid, so I substituted for my first choice thickener in the recipe below.

This pie was experimental in both filling and adornment. I played around with a heart-shaped pie stamp emblazoned with the word LOVE. The results were delicious and stunning and a lovely tribute to Fani’s memory.

Print Recipe

Balsamic Strawberry Pie



  1. Roll out the larger piece of dough (keep second piece refrigerated) into a 13-inch round. Fit into a 9” pie plate. (If you will later use a decorative pastry stamp for the top crust like I did, fold and crimp the edges). Refrigerate (or pop in the freezer if your fridge is too full like mine).
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with the rack in the middle of the oven. Place a lipped baking sheet lined with foil on the rack to catch any juices that might bubble over.
  3. Combine strawberries with granulated and brown sugars, followed by balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Stir in the salt and corn starch, and then add the black pepper. Let the fruit filling sit for at least 20 minutes.
  4. Roll out the dough for the top crust into an 11-inch round. (If using a pastry stamp, now is the time to make cutouts.)
  5. Toss the berries gently and spoon into refrigerated shell. Cover with the top pastry round (or decorate top with stamped shapes). Press or fold edges to seal and crimp decoratively. Brush top of pie with milk or cream, cut steam vents, and sprinkle crust with sugar.
  6. Put pie in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees, and bake until crust is deep golden and filling is bubbly in the center, 20-35 minutes more.
  7. Cool completely on a rack. Enjoy with family and friends (with a nice cappuccino).

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