I bought my house in November, which means anything that had grown over the past season was long gone, with the exception of some tall, dead grasses, that still stubbornly hung on for dear life.
It wasn't until the following spring that I joyfully discovered, I had inherited a rhubarb patch. And while I was truly joyful over that discovery, I was absolutely overjoyed to discover I had, in fact, inherited a second rhubarb patch!
As far as I am concerned, strawberry rhubarb pie is one of the true joys of spring. It's beautiful, pinky/red filling, its sweet/tart flavor, combined with a flaky, flavorful crust, is a treat for the senses.
And when you pair it with vanilla ice cream, or homemade, billowy, lightly sweetened whipped cream? Well, that's a treat that can't be beat!
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie:
Preheat oven to 350º
2-1/2 cup Fresh Strawberries, diced
2-1/2 cup Fresh Rhubarb, diced
1 cup Sugar (I like mine tart, if you like it a little sweeter, add another 1/2 cup)
3 tblspns Corn Starch
1 tspn Vanilla
3 tblspn's Cold Butter, diced small
-Dice Strawberries and Rhubarb and put them in a large bowl.
-Add the Sugar, Corn Starch and Vanilla and mix it through.
-Add the Butter and mix it until it's well combined.
-Divide the pie crust 2/3 (bottom) -1/3 (top) and using a well floured rolling pin, roll out
the bottom crust, then gently place it in the pie plate, leaving some hanging over the
-Roll out the top piece, and, using a pie crimper, cut 6~1" wide lengths of pie dough.
-Spoon the fruit filling into the pie plate, then starting in the middle of the pie, place 1 length of crimped dough over the pie, then going the opposite side start to weave the crust, there should be 3 pieces of crust on each side.
-In a small bowl, whisk the egg white so it's frothy, then using a pastry brush, brush the
Egg White on to the top layer of pie until it's thoroughly covered.
-Sprinkle the sugar over the crust (coarse sugar is nicer but ANY will do!)
-Bake at 350º for approximately 1-1/4 hours. If your oven runs hot, take it out earlier or your crust will burn.
TRADITIONAL PIE CRUST (Yields 2 full crusts -both top and a bottom)
Easy as pie. Well, yes and no. With practice, pie crust is super easy! But there are some things to know about it as well. Let’s first talk about the fat content.
Lard: For many old timer, using lard is the only way to go because it makes a crust super flaky. But while a lard crust is particularly flakey, the flavor doesn’t even begin to compare to that of butter.
Butter: Makes a delicious, buttery-flavored crust, but the texture leaves a lot to be desired. Using butter exclusively makes a crust heavy, tough and, not particularly flakey.
Shortening: Also gives a flakier crust. It is easy to work with (it’s soft) but it's less good for you than lard (it’s made of hydrogenated soybean oil), plus, the flavor also leaves a lot to be desired
Given all these factors, generally, I use a combination of lard or shortening and butter because I want both flakiness and good flavor in my crusts.
Also, when it comes to traditional pie crust, there’s good news, bad news, and more good news. The good news is that pie crust is easy. If it gets a little too stiff, the best way to soften it up is to add a little fat (read butter/lard/shortening NOT water) and work it in gently.
The bad news is that you really can overwork your pie dough (although it takes some doing); it can reach a point where it will simply refuse to work well for you.
The more good news is that if you can no longer use it for pie, you CAN still use it for pie dough cookies—and that isn’t just good news, it’s wonderful news!
Ingredients for Crust
2 cups flour
1⁄2 cup shortening/lard
51⁄2 tablespoons salted butter 1⁄2 cup water, VERY COLD
Instructions for Making the Dough:
Put flour in a large bowl. Add the fat (shortening, lard, and/or butter), and using a hand-held pastry blender, cut it into the flour. By pastry blender, I am referring to a simple tool with a wooden, metal, or plastic handle on one side and 4–6 metal strips or wires on the other side that curve at the bottom, making the tool look something like a capital “D.” These simple tools are incredibly efficient for cutting ingredients like butter or lard into flour. If you want to be a pie maker, you need one.
Add the cold water and, using a wooden spoon, mix it into the flour mixture as best as you can. Use your hands to finish incorporating it.
Transfer the dough into a small bowl or container, cover it, put it in the fridge, and LET IT REST for at least 30 minutes. Letting the dough cool and rest might just be the most important step of all for the pie crust. The reason this is important is that by letting it cool and rest, it relaxes the gluten strands, which helps to make the dough easier to work with.
Instructions for Rolling Out the Crust:
Generously flour a large board, piece of marble, or clean countertop. Also, on the side, make a pile of flour for your rolling pin—to keep the dough from sticking to it.
Divide the pie crust into four pieces, making two of the pieces a little smaller for the top because we’re making egg pie that uses a lattice crust (and not something like an apple pie where the apples are heaping and you’ll need a more generous amount of dough to cover the filling).
Roll each of the four pieces into a ball and one at a time, place them into the middle of the floured surface to be rolled out into a round.
Using a heavy, well-floured rolling pin, start in the middle of the dough and roll it in one direction. Then start again and roll in another direction. Keep going around until you have a flat, even circle that is at least 10 inches in diameter or at least 2 inches bigger than your pie plate.
Note: You risk having the crust tear if 1) You don’t keep your pin very well-floured, and 2) You roll the pin back and forth over the dough rather than rolling out from the center in one direction.
Here are a few helpful techniques.
Have your pie plate ready, then pick up your crust (no, it really shouldn’t break), place it over the pie plate, and gently push it down to follow the contours of the plate.
If you are making a single-crust pie, roll the dough onto the sides of the pie plate and press down either with fingers or with a fork, or any way you think is pretty—though bear in mind that a single crust often doesn’t stay in place, rather it will slide down into the pie plate or over the lip.
If you are making a double-crust (covered) pie (for example, apple pie or egg pie), roll out both crusts, place the bottom one over the pie plate and gently push it down to follow the contours of the plate. Put the filling into the bottom crust and then put the top crust over the filling, press the crusts together, and roll them up to the side of the pie plate and crimp. This is why you need to be sure to roll the pie crust to a large enough circle!
If you’re making something like a strawberry rhubarb pie or an egg pie, it can look enticing to do a lattice-work top. Cut 6–8 even strips from the rolled-out top (second) crust. Place the first strip over the center of a filled pie, put the second piece opposite the first piece like an X (either straight across or at an angle). The next pieces should be on either side of the center strip. Then continue weaving in the same order until you’re satisfied at the edge