I seem to be haunting Smitten Kitchen a lot these days, as this one is another of her recipes, updated and improved since she had the Strawberry Rhubarb Pie contest and didn’t come out so well. Read the whole story on her blog–it’s in vintage Deb language, and I love reading it. I was in the market, thinking about this pie, and luckily it was online, so I picked up the pound-and-a-half of rhubarb and the strawberries, then went home to make it.
I’m sure hacking the rhubarb out of your own garden would be the Best Thing, but the local grocery store is the best I can manage, and it seems they only carry rhubarb for a very limited time, so I have to jump right on it, when it shows up.
You’ll also need your favorite recipe for a two-crust pastry pie. Here’s my favorite: Quick and Easy Pie Crust. AVOID those nasty pre-made pie crusts in the grocery store. It’s quick and easy to make your own.
3 1/2 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds, untrimmed) rhubarb, in 1/2-inch thick slices
3 1/2 cups (about 1 pound) strawberries, hulled and sliced if big, halved if tiny
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
OPTIONAL: 1 large egg yolk beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water (for glaze — see below)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a well-floured counter, roll half of pie dough into a 12-inch circle and carefully transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. (I like to roll it up over my rolling pin — gently — then lift it over to the pie plate and unroll it. I then ease it into the plate.)
Stir together rhubarb, strawberries, sugars, lemon, salt and tapioca in a large bowl.
Mound filling inside bottom pie crust and dot with bits of unsalted butter. Trim bottom pie crust even with pie plate edge, then moisten the exposed edge by running your finger, dipped in water, over the dough.
Roll second half of pie dough into an 11-inch circle and cut decorative slits in it. (I used a tiny heart cookie cutter for my vent holes.) Transfer it to center over the pie filling, as above. Trim top of pie dough so that it hangs over the pie plate by 1/2 to 1.”
Tuck rim of dough underneath the bottom crust and crimp it decoratively. (I sprinkle a little bit of sugar on top of the pie crust. But others like to use the egg wash mentioned above. Do one or the other.)
Place in preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes, until the pie is golden and the juices bubble visibly. Mine weren’t visible, so I lifted the pie to the stovetop, and listened — I could hear it bubbling.
Transfer pie to wire rack to cool. When full cool (several hours later) the juices gel.
She notes that pie can be made 2-3 days ahead. But why? Make it fresh and eat it all up.
Something we like to do at our house is to place the cut pieces of pie dough on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon-sugar, then bake at 400 degrees until they are lightly golden, about 6 minutes. We call them “crusties.”
Based on the old-fashioned taste test, this is a winner pie crust recipe, and it’s easy, too. And it tastes WAAAAAY better than those things you buy in the store, although if you have broken your hand or something, you’ll just have to buy those instead. This recipe makes a one-crust pie shell. For a two-crust pie, please double.
In a medium bowl, place:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Blend together, then cut in 1/2 cup shortening until the pieces look like little peas. Here’s a video, with an annoying beep, with the cook using a pastry blender, OR, here’s a video, with narration, of the cook using two knives.
I’ve done both (the pastry blender is easier). Pictured above is my favorite kind. If the dough stuff gets caught in the loops, just run a knife over it to get it out. You’ll know what I mean when you use it.
Toss in 3-4 Tablespoons of really cold water, about 1 Tablespoon at a time, fluffing and tossing with a regular dinner fork, until the dough starts to hold together in clumps, and when you try to gather it together in a ball with your hands. . . you can. The less you work your pie crust, the more tender it will be. And the least amount of water you can put in keeps it from being soggy.
Roll it out to the desired size, usually about 11″ round for a regular pie, then roll it back onto your rolling pin, and lift it onto your pie plate. This website has some pretty good pictures of the process, including the cutting in business (it’s where the picture above was taken from).
Follow the directions in your recipe for baking and filling, but generally, if you are going to cook an unfilled pie crust, you’ll need to weight it down with a square of tin foil, on which you’ve placed uncooked rice or beans. Bake for about 10 minutes at 425 degrees.
Above you see my Foley Pastry Frame, which is a square of canvas stretched between two bars and held in place by wire thingies. I also have a stockinette for my rolling pin. I wash this only when it becomes heavily spattered with food, and believe it or not, I store it in the freezer to make sure the cupboard moths don’t find it.
And one last detail: I think a rolling pin with ball bearings makes life easier, but you get to choose.