I have a garden! A real live garden that actually produces vegetables! We have cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, zucchini squash, green beans, jalapeños (well we had a jalapeño, some critter came by in the middle of the night and stole our lone spicy guy), and lots and lots of herbs. I’m trying my best to utilize all the herbs we have so I’m throwing them in anything and everything I can…starting with this strawberry balsamic pie.


Special occasions call for special desserts and when Kevin’s birthday fell on our honeymoon, I knew we needed a celebration of sorts when we got home, much to Kev’s dismay. Typically, for his birthday I’ll get an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen or Stone Cold Creamery because he loves them and it’s the only time of year we will ever eat a giant ice cream cake, but this year I wanted to go a different route. He’d been asking for pies the last three months while I was dieting and I, of course refused, so for his 27th birthday, I decided it was time to finally start baking (and eating!) pies again. So here we are.


Strawberry Basil SmallAlmost Done Small

Being that it was my first time making a pie in like a bazillion years, a lattice crust was a necessity.

Because a lattice crust was a necessity a baked filling was a necessity.

And because I just can’t leave a good old-fashioned pie alone and there are oodles of herbs in our garden, the addition of basil and balsamic vinegar to my strawberry pie was also a necessity.

Now, I won’t lie, a lattice crust is rather labor intensive, not hard per se, just a process. You have to make not one, but two pie crusts; you have to roll out those two pie crusts; and you have to perfectly position and layer even strips while simultaneously making sure not to tear the fragile dough. I might have had a few choice words with my pie crust when every single strip decided to tear…

BUT once you get those little suckers perfectly weaving in and out of each other and stop pulling your hair out from anger and frustration, you can marvel at your work of art…and suddenly all of the time and effort spent making this beautiful pie, becomes totally worth it.

And you know what?? It’s pretty tasty too…

(I have no idea why this post is showing up wonky in your readers)


For a great visual tutorial on lattice crusts, see Smitten Kitchen’s Latticed and Loony

Strawberry Balsamic Basil Pie
Recipe type: Nicole-Cooking for Keeps
  • Crust:
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable shortening cut into small piece
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 5-7 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 tablespoon cold vodka
  • Filling:
  • 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved (quartered if they are large)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  1. For the crust:
  2. Whisk flour, sugar and salt together in a large bowl.
  3. Add pieces of shortening and butter into the flour, evenly distribute pieces. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut butter and shortening into the flour mixture until the mixture is crumbly. (There should be a mixture of course meal and shortening and butter that is the size of small peas)
  4. Start by adding in five tablespoons of ice water and vodka. Stir to combine, if the dough is not coming together add more ice water. It’s ok if the mixture is slightly crumbly still.
  5. Divide dough into two even pieces and form into round discs.
  6. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. When ready to roll dough out, flour a large surface.
  7. Remove one disc from the fridge and roll dough out to the size of your pie pan. Carefully transfer to a greased pie dish. After you pour the filling into the crust, remove other disc from fridge. In the same manor, roll out dough. Cut into even ½ inch strips, you’ll need 12.
  8. Now, it’s time to lattice. Place one strip horizontally at the top of your pie. Place six strips on top of the first horizontal strip, vertically. Pull back every other vertical strip, and then place another horizontal strip on top. Bring strips back down. Pull back the opposite three vertical strips you pulled back before, lay another horizontal strip back down. Repeat process until there are six horizontal strips and six vertical strips, woven in and out. Crimp pie edges. Note: For a great visual tutorial on lattice crusts, see Smitten Kitchen
  9. Filling: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine strawberries, sugars, salt, vinegar basil and cornstarch together in a large bowl. Pour into prepared crust. Top with lattice. See above.
  10. Bake at 400 degrees for five minutes, then turn the heat down to 375 and bake another 35 minutes.

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