One flavor pairing I’m absolutely smitten with at the moment is strawberry basil; the sweet herb enlivens farm stand fresh berries in the best way possible. I’ve played with the two previously in popsicles; this time I opted for pie. Flaky, all butter pie dough married to sweet strawberries is the dessert equivalent of a balmy afternoon spent reading in the sun…bliss.
Basil-sugar and a touch of lemon zest adds depth to the strawberry filling, keeping it from being too one-note. I recommend serving slices just warmed with vanilla bean ice cream or whipped cream!
Buttermilk Pie Crust
- 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, divided
- 1 2/3 cups flour
- 3 Tbsp cornmeal
- 2 1/4 tsp sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 6 Tbsp low-fat buttermilk
- 1-2 Tbsp vodka
- 1/4 cup basil leaves
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 6 Tbsp arrowroot starch
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 5 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 1 Tbsp cold milk
- 1 Tbsp Turbinado sugar
- Prepare dough: Grate 6 Tbsp butter into a small bowl; cut remaining 6 Tbsp butter into small cubes and place in a second bowl; chill bowls in freezer for 15 minutes. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl; place bowl in freezer to chill for 15 minutes. Chill buttermilk and vodka in freezer for 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle cubed butter over chilled flour mixture and toss with a spatula to coat. Use a pastry blender to cut in butter until the biggest pieces are the size of peas; fold in grated butter. Drizzle buttermilk over flour mixture; use a spatula to gather dough together until it forms large clumps. If needed, add vodka 1 tablespoon at a time, then gently knead just until dough comes together. Gather 2/3 of dough into a ball, wrap in plastic and flatten slightly to form a disc (this will be your bottom crust). Repeat with remaining 1/3 of dough (this will be your decoration). Chill dough in the refrigerator at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days, or place in a freezer bag and freeze 1 to 2 months).
- Place larger disc of dough on a floured board and dust dough with flour. Roll out dough (roll dough in one direction, then lift up dough and rotate a quarter turn and roll, then repeat) until dough is a 12 to 13-inch circle. If dough starts to stick, use a bench scraper to lift dough from board. Transfer dough to a standard 9-inch pie dish; trim overhang to one inch and crimp edges. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Place smaller disc of dough on floured board and dust dough with flour. Roll out using same procedure, until dough is 1/8-inch thick. Flour a fluted biscuit cutter and cut out rounds for the top (re-roll scraps once if needed). Chill rounds in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Prepare filling: Pulse basil in a food processor until finely chopped; add sugar and pulse for 1 minute. Combine basil-sugar, lemon zest, arrowroot starch, and salt in a large mixing bowl; add strawberries and toss gently to combine. Spoon filling into chilled bottom crust and top with fluted rounds. Chill assembled pie in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425°F with a rimmed baking sheet in the center of the oven. Brush pie with milk and sprinkle with turbinado sugar; place pie on preheated baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375°F and continue baking another 35 minutes, until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown. If pie is browning too quickly, cover with foil for remaining baking time. Cool pie on a wire rack for at least 4 hours (filling thickens as it cools). Once pie is cut, store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Arrowroot starch is a natural thickener and creates a smooth, shiny sauce. Available online or in the natural foods section.
- Calories: 368
- Carbohydrates: 50