Ever since strawberries started making an appearance in the grocery store this spring, I’ve been wanting to make a pie. I didn’t want to go the easy pre-made pastry crust and weird red food coloring and corn syrup goop route; I yearned to make something different, and maybe a bit healthier. Is that too much to ask?
I took inspiration for this pie from one of my favorite summer salads, which features strawberries, pecans and a balsamic vinaigrette. I’ve had strawberries and balsamic vinegar as a dessert, so why wouldn’t it work in a homemade pie glaze? I didn’t find any reason not to try it, so I gave it a go!
I’m pretty happy with how this pie turned out. Don’t expect a light, flaky crust, it’s closer to a graham cracker crust (but it doesn’t get as soggy after a day or two in the fridge–if there are leftovers). Next time, I might try to cut back on the sugar. I really wanted the sweet-tart flavor of the vinegar to come through more. I wonder if adding some fresh basil would be good? Have you tried a dessert with strawberries, basil and balsamic vinegar? Should I give it a whirl?
Strawberry Balsamic Pie with a Pecan Oat Crust
For the crust:
2 c. pecans
1/2 c. rolled oats
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 T. ground flaxseed
1/4 c. water
2 T. canola oil
For the filling:
2 c. mashed strawberries (A potato masher works great for this, or you can use a fork or run it through the blender… whatever you have handy.)
3 c. sliced strawberries
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
3 T. cornstarch, dissolved in 1/4 c. hot water
To prepare the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put all ingredients in a food processor, using the cutting blade. Blend until the nuts are finely chopped (mixture will be crumbly and resemble a graham cracker crust). Transfer mixture to a 9-inch pie plate and press out into a crust about 1/4-inch thick (Tip: Keep a small bowl of water handy to occasionally dip your fingers in–the crust mixture is sticky and this will help keep your fingers from sticking.) Bake for 12 minutes (or until edges just start to brown). Let crust cool completely before preparing the filling.
To prepare the filling: In a medium saucepan, combine mashed strawberries, balsamic, sugar and water. Turn heat up to high, bring to a boil and cook until the mixture starts to thicken. Turn off heat and use a whisk to blend in cornstarch. In a large mixing bowl, add sliced strawberries and gently mix with the glaze. Transfer filling to the prepared crust and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.