Reconstructed Berry Pie

Reconstructed Berry Pie - lime macerated berries with basil, vanilla chantilly, pie crust


This "reconstructed" berry pie is a simple play on a traditional favorite. I love macerated berries in the summer time, and who doesn't like a good berry pie? This dessert takes half the work and a third of the time as a normal berry pie, and by rethinking its structure, it allows you to keep your berries moist and macerated in a delicious simple syrup while keeping your crust crisp and flaky. Served in a martini glass, this recipe will make you a star at your next summer get-together.


1 lb
Strawberries (Cut Into Quarters)
1⁄2 lb
1⁄2 lb
4 1⁄2 oz
Lime Juice (Freshly Squeezed)
4 1⁄2 oz
Sugar (Granulated)
Basil Leafs
Salt (For Seasoning)
300 g
All Purpose Flour
200 g
Butter (Cubed)
100 g
Water (Ice Cold)
1 pn
Fleur de Sel (Substitute Maldon)
4 oz
1⁄2 t
Vanilla Extract (Or The Insides Of One Vanilla Bean If You Have)


Start by slicing your strawberries into quarters and combine in a mixing bowl with fresh blackberries and blueberries.

Stack, roll, and chiffonade the basil leaves into very fine strips. If you're unfamiliar with this technique, this video on how to chiffonade herbs will teach you how to do it.

Add chiffonade basil, sugar, and fresh-squeezed lime juice to the berries. Although amounts were given in the ingredients section above, it's much better (and easier) to trust your own palate. What you're trying to achieve is a harmonious balance between the refreshing yet acid bite of the lime and the sweetness of the sugar. Add enough sugar to evenly coat the berries and make them sweet, then add enough lime juice to bring the sweetness of the sugar into balance.

Mix the berries and their liquid with a kitchen spoon (or clean hands) and let it sit in your refrigerator for at least three hours and as long as 48 hours.

While the berries are macerating, it's time to start your pie dough. We use a simple 3-2-1 pie dough made popular by Michael Ruhlman's book "Ratio". Using this ratio allows you to scale the dough recipe up and down as needed, measuring your ingredients by weight for accuracy. Here we use 300g flour (AP), 200g butter (unsalted) and 100g cold water.

Place the flour in a food processor with a pinch of kosher salt and add cubed butter right on top. Give the mixture a few quick pulses so that the butter and flour slightly start to incorporate. Start streaming in ice cold water a little at a time while quickly hitting the "Pulse" button to incorporate your water. The whole secret to a flaky pie crust is having large, whole chunks of fat dispersed throughout your dough mixture. Mix your pie dough quickly and just enough to incorporate all the ingredients but stop mixing before it comes completely together. Turn dough out onto a clean countertop and quickly squeeze together into a ball. Wrap in plastic and allow to chill in a refrigerator for about 15 minutes. This will keep the butter from melting too much during the rolling process. At this point, you can refrigerate the pie dough for up to 24 hours before using it as long as it's wrapped tightly in plastic or stored in an airtight container. If you refrigerate your dough for longer then an hour, it will need to temper for 10-15 minutes at room temperature before you can easily roll it out. When you're ready to finish the pie dough, lightly dust your work surface with flour and roll out the dough to a thickness of about a 1/4" or 1/2cm. Anything thinner then this and the dough won't flake properly when baked. Roll the pie crust around your rolling pin as shown in the picture below and transfer it to a sheet tray. In the picture below, we are making a slightly larger batch for that night's dinner service, so we are using a full size sheet tray. For the amount given in this recipe, a half sheet tray is more appropriate. Crack two eggs into an appropriately-sized mixing bowl and beat briefly with a fork. Brush egg wash on top of the crust, sprinkle with some fleur de sel (or coarse sea salt) and bake in a 375ºF/190ºC oven for 25-30 minutes or until the pie crust is a rich golden brown as shown in  the photos below.For the final plate-up, you can use either store-bought whipped cream (if you really must) or make your own by adding four ounces of cream, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and enough granulated sugar to make it sweet, to a mixing bowl. Whisk cream mixture by hand (or in a stand mixer) until firm peaks are formed. If using a stand  mixer:  the slower the mixing speed, the more stable the whipped cream will be but also the longer it takes.

When you're ready to plate, simply fill a polished martini glass with macerated berries and top with a dollop of freshly whipped cream. Break off a large piece of pie crust and stand up vertically in the whipped cream and berries. Serve immediately.

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There are 4 Comments

jacob burton's picture

@ pm_odonnell,

The word "reconstructed" was a bit of a tongue and cheek attempt to have fun with the name. Usually "deconstructed" means that different components that would normally make up the whole are separated out onto the plate. In rare occasions this can make a dish better, but usually it's just a self indulgent plate up that confuses the dinner and doesn't make much sense.


With this dessert we basically looked at what a berry pie is, questioned some of it's classic structure, and slightly changed the concept to get the result that we wanted; hence "reconstructed." The term was just meant to poke a little fun; it's not like we're reinventing the wheel with this dessert.

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