There's something special about pies. I mean, cakes are great and you can decorate them to create beautiful, ornate and intricate masterpieces, but pies are simply gorgeous, even when they're oozing out the sides with their brightly colored fillings. That ooze might even make them prettier. They resonate on a different level than most desserts because they aren't pretentious. You can only add so many layers to them and they conjure up feelings of nostalgia (or at least they do for me). In short, I love pie!
Do you remember that film, Michael, with John Travolta and Andie MacDowell? I can't help but sing the song Andie MacDowell's character sings whenever I see, think or make a pie (and by sing, I mean sing to myself, in my head, not aloud for the world to hear because then I'd have no friends). If you don't know it, I'll share a few lines. It starts out, "Pie. Pie. Me, oh my. Nothing tastes sweet, wet, salty and dry all at once so well as pie. Apple! Pumpkin!"...you get the idea. And this, in essence, captures a pie.
So yesterday, as I planned my menu for a Sunday dinner with friends and when that song popped into my head, I knew that today would be a day for pie. And with strawberry season in full swing, I thought I'd better make a strawberry pie. That thought immediately turned into an internal HOORAY, as I've been dying to try Four & Twenty Blackbird's Strawberry Balsamic Pie recipe (from their Pie Book)! Their book is beautiful and real (just see the photo for the Strawberry Balsamic Pie and you'll know what I mean) and it is sooo helpful. They walk you through the steps like your mom would, or your favorite, extremely patient aunty might. I've never been to their brick and mortar as it's in Brooklyn, NY but everyone I've met who has their book has simply raved about it. And as I've yet to try a recipe, today felt like a win before I even started baking.
While I'm sure Four & Twenty Blackbird crusts are amazing, and I really can't wait to try all of them, I am extremely attached to Epicurious's recipe for Buttermilk Pie Crust Dough, so I opted to use that instead today. I also wanted to go free form and make a galette versus a traditional double crust, so I made this modification as well. Here's the recipe, with my modifications. Please also note that because I went rogue and went galette, I had a lot of extra pie filling so I made six mini hand pies (not pictured, sorry, I know, they're so cute, what was I thinking!). All I can tell you is that this is a damn good pie. So good in fact, that Moses had two and a half of twelve slices, and only felt minor twinges of guilt. And with that, here is Strawberry Balsamic Galette (plus six mini hand pies).
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour (divided in half)
2 Tbsp. baker's sugar
1 tsp. fleur de sel
1 c. butter, diced and chilled
1/4 c. + 2 Tbsp. buttermilk
- 1/8 c. + 3 Tbsp. baker's sugar
- 2 lbs. fresh strawberries, quartered
- 1 Golden Delicious apple
- 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- 3/4 c. lightly packed light brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp. ground arrowroot
- 3 grinds fresh, fine ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. fleur de sel
- Egg wash (1 large egg whisked w/1 tsp. water + pinch of salt)
- Demerara sugar, for finishing
- Mixing bowls
- Silicone spatula
- Cutting board
- Chef's knife
- Paring knife
- Stand mixer
- Glass measuring cup
- Measuring spoons and cups
- Box grater
- Parchment paper
- Baking sheet
- Marble pastry board
- Wire racks
- 3.5" round cookie cutter
- Metal straw
Combine one-half of flour, sugar and salt in bowl of stand mixer on low.
Add butter by the fistful, stirring on low.
Stir until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Do not over mix.
Add in second half of flour and mix on low until just combined.
Pour buttermilk slowly in a continuous stream and stir until just combined.
Remove from bowl and press together to form dough. Divide dough in half.
Form each half into a ball and flatten each into a disk. Wrap separately and chill for two hours.
Let dough stand for five to ten minutes at room temperature to soften slightly before rolling each disk out to a 13" round.
Place on parchment lined baking sheets and refrigerate for an additional 30 minutes.
Note: Dough can be prepared ahead. Refrigerate 1 week or freeze 1 month.
Gently toss strawberries with 3 Tbsp. baker's sugar in a medium mixing bowl and allow berries to macerate for one hour.
Peel apple with paring knife and shred with large holes of box grater. Drain excess liquid from macerated strawberries and add shredded apples, balsamic and Angostura bitters. Gently toss.
In a separate small mixing bowl, combine 1/8 c. baker's sugar, brown sugar, arrowroot, black pepper and salt. Gently fold dry mixture into strawberry mixture.
Pull out one chilled 13" pastry round and arrange strawberry mixture in the center of the dough, leaving a 3-inch border uncovered.
Fold the edges of the dough over the strawberries, loosely pleating the dough and leaving the galette open in the center.
Reserve remaining mixture for mini hand pies.
Chill galette for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425°F and position racks at bottom and center of oven.
Pull chilled galette from fridge and brush the dough with egg mixture. Sprinkle with Demerara sugar and bake on lower rack for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, move to middle rack and lower oven temperature to 375°F and bake for another 5-10 minutes.
While galette is baking, pull second 13" round from fridge and cut 12 3.5" rounds using cookie cutter. Arrange reserved strawberry mixture on center of 6 rounds, leaving 3/4 in. border. Cut smaller holes in 6 the rounds using metal straw. Cover strawberry filled rounds with hole punched rounds and use a fork to pinch closed. Chill for 20 minutes.
- Transfer galette sheet to wire rack and allow to cool completely, 2 to 3 hours. Replace with mini pie sheet and bake at 375°F for 20-25 minutes.
- Transfer mini pie sheet to wire rack and allow to cool completely, for 2 to 3 hours.
- Serve and enjoy!
Note: Pies will keep refrigerated for 3 days or at room temperature for 2 days.