Because we were away for Independence Day, the boys asked for a July Fourth-ish barbecue last night.

Burgers …

Corn …

And pie.

I had a load of stone fruit on the kitchen counter: Peaches, nectarines and cherries just begging to be sliced, spiced and baked into pastry.

So that’s how this was born:

A cardamom- and balsamic vinegar-kissed concoction that celebrates the best of summer.

Happy belated Fourth, everyone!

Summer Spiced Pie

Some of the ingredients in this pie were born of necessity. I had no lemons (sacrilege!), so I used balsamic vinegar for acid. I used too much cardamom, so I evened the spices out with cinnamon and ginger. (I’ve reduced the amount of spices here to make a less-assertive dish.) I used bitters and baking techniques from the ladies behind Four And Twenty Blackbirds. Use whatever fruits you have on hand; I can’t wait to make this again come September, when the apples and pears start appearing!

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces shortening, diced
  • 8 ounces cold, unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 6 cups summer fruit, peeled if necessary, pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • Dash of bitters
  • 1 egg, beaten with a bit of water
  • Demerara sugar

Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.

Add the shortening and butter. Using your hands or a pastry blender, work the fat into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add the water and vinegar and toss together. You might have to add a teaspoon or so more water to make sure everything is moist.

Divide the dough into two balls and refrigerate for an hour.

Place the fruit in a large bowl.

Add the sugar, flour, vinegar, spices and bitters. Stir gently:

Let the fruit sit while your crust finishes chilling.

Place your oven’s racks in the bottom and top thirds of the stove. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Remove one ball of dough. Roll it out and fit it into a 9-inch pie dish. Place the dish in the freezer as you roll out the second ball of dough and cut strips from it. Set the strips aside.

Remove the crust from the freezer. Sprinkle a bit of sugar and flour on the bottom of the crust to keep it crisp. Lift the fruit from the bowl and place it in the crust:

Note: You want to leave the accumulated juices in your bowl; otherwise, they’ll overwhelm your pie crust and make it soggy.

Weave the dough strips you cut into a lattice pattern on top of the fruit:

Brush the beaten egg on top of the lattice. Sprinkle the lattice with demerara sugar.

Place the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet. Put the baking sheet on your oven’s bottom rack. Bake for 25 minutes.

Reduce the oven’s temperature to 375 degrees. Move the pie and baking sheet to the oven’s top rack. Bake an additional 30-35 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the juices are bubbling thickly. (Loosely cover the pie with foil if it’s browning too quickly.)

Remove from the oven and cool at least two hours before slicing.

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