Eat & Drink

Balsamic Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I like adding balsamic vinegar to this filling because it contributes to the pie’s complex acidity and pairs nicely with the flavors of the rhubarb.

Last weekend Mike and I took a day trip down to Santa Cruz to drink beer at Sante Adairius, eat wood-fired pizzas, admire the Pacific Ocean, and (most importantly) get fresh strawberries from Swanton Berry Farm. I know I have waxed poetic about these guys before, so I will spare you a long rant. The point of all of this is that I had an excess of strawberries and decided to make a classic pie combo: strawberry rhubarb. I like adding balsamic vinegar to this filling because it contributes to the pie’s complex acidity and pairs nicely with the flavors of the rhubarb. You certainly could use this recipe without adding it, but I would recommend giving it a try at least once to see if you like it.


Pie Dough
2 1/2 cups AP flour
2 sticks cold unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
7 teaspoons very cold water

3 pints of strawberries
2 stalks of rhubarb
1/2 cup AP flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Crumb Topping
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Make the pie dough first so it can rest before rolling. Disclaimer: this recipe is for a full pie (crust and lattice top) so you can make it, cut it in half, and save the other half for later or use it as to topping if you’re not a fan of crumb topping.

To make the pie dough, cut the butter into small chunks and combine with the flour and salt. Using a food processor, stand mixer, or your hands, mix until crumbs begin to appear. Add half of the vinegar and water, mix together, and then add the rest of each. Cut the dough into two equally-sized pieces and wrap them in plastic. Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes in the fridge. When you’re ready, roll out one of the pieces to your desired thickness and place it in your buttered pie tin. If you’d like to save the other crust, throw it into the freezer for a pie adventure at a later date, or roll out and use instead of the crumb topping.

For the crumb topping, mix the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. With your hands, work in the butter until crumbs and clumps begin to appear. Cover the crumb topping and set it in your fridge to rest until you’re ready to use it.

For the filling, clean and halve the strawberries and cut the rhubarb into quarter inch slices. Combine all of the ingredients in large mixing bowl and add the filling to your pie crust. Top with the crumb topping and bake for 30 minutes or until the insides are bubbling and the crumb is toasted and golden brown. If the insides aren’t bubbling, the pie isn’t done. I would recommend placing the pie tin on a baking sheet in case it bubbles over to save yourself some clean up later!

Resist the urge to eat this pie right out of the oven! If you let it cool, the insides will come together so that you can cut a beautiful clean slice. If you eat it while it is still hot, though delicious, it will be a hot mess.

This recipe for balsamic strawberry rhubarb pie first appeared in The Coast Kitchen.

By Olivia Maki

Olivia Maki is an Oakland-based writer and blogger who focuses on agricultural and food system issues. She has programmed educational experiences at 18 Reasons, and worked on farms in California and Vermont. Follow her @livmaki and at her food blog, The Coast Kitchen.