Pie is the queen of baked goods. Even guests who claim they don't like sweets and want to skip dessert cave when they see a slice of warm pie up for grabs. I do bake pies a good deal but I have never made a strawberry rhubarb, this is my very first. When I saw these beautifully minimal photos I got into a strawberry-rhubarb lather and knew it had to happen.
Often people are intimidated by making pie crust, but in fact it's very easy and I use a recipe with all butter (no shortening) which means that you probably have all the makings of a great crust in your pantry right now... so what are you waiting for?! Let's make a pie.
Flaky Pie Crust: from 'How to Cook Everything' by Mark Bittman
(this makes two 9"crusts for top and bottom, if you want to do a crumb topping you can cut this portions in half)
- 2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 sticks cold unsalted butter cut into tbs slices
- 6 tbs ice water
Combine the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the butter and blend until it looks like coarse cornmeal (little balls of butter),this will only take a few seconds.
Transfer to a bowl and add the water, gathering the dough together with a wooden spoon. If it looks too dry to gather you can add another tbs of water. Gather the dough into a ball with your hands. Cut in half and make each half a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and flatten slightly to a disc. Freeze for 10 minutes or refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (Of course you can also freeze it ahead of time and let it soften a little before working or keep it in the fridge for a few days).
Rolling out the dough between layers of plastic wrap helps prevent sticking (you can also roll it out on a lightly floured countertop). Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap, flour the dough lightly and lay another piece of plastic wrap on top. With a rolling pin, roll from the center out adding a little flour as needed to prevent sticking. Turn and flip the dough occasionally so that you get an even circle. Go slowly so that you minimize cracked edges, but you can repair the cracks with the ends of the dough using water to 'glue' the pieces together.
When the dough is about 10" you can transfer it to your pie plate. Fold it in half and center it on the plate, then unfold and press the dough into the plate all around. Trim the excess from the edges leaving about a half inch. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Repeat the process with the top crust but leave it between the sheets of plastic wrap and lay it on a baking sheet to refrigerate.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie: slightly adapted from a combination of Mark Bittman and 'The Joy of Cooking", 1997 ed.
- 2 1/2 c strawberries, stems removed and sliced in half
- 3 c rhubarb sliced in 1" chunks
- 1 c sugar plus a bit for sanding the top
- 2-3 tbs cornstarch (more cornstarch will make for a less runny pie)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ginger
- 2 tbs butter
- milk for brushing on top
Slice the berries and rhubarb and mix in a bowl with the sugar, cornstarch, and spices. Set aside for at least 15 minutes then remove your pie crust from the fridge and fill with the fruit mixture.
Carefully remove your top crust from the plastic and cover the pie. Press to seal the edges, then trim the top crust leaving a 1/2" slack. Fold the edges under and either press all around with the tines of a fork or press one finger out while you push in with two fingers from the opposite hand to decorate the edges.
Refrigerate while you heat the oven to 450 degrees, then brush the top with milk, sand lightly with sugar, and cut three 2" slits in the top to release steam.
Place the pie on a baking sheet to collect any juices and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake another 45 minutes or until the pie is golden brown in color. Remove and let cool on a rack, it's best to let it cool to almost room temperature so that the juices don't run too much.
This really is the perfect summer pie, sweet and delicious and the beautiful bright pink color. I'm going to be making a few more of these. Plus rhubarb is so exciting that if you budget for an extra stalk it's ready-made toddler entertainment while you bake.
I do know that raw rhubarb is supposed to be tough to digest, so he wasn't eating this... more using it as a trumpet, sword, and conductor's wand. He's a pretty good sport helping out in the kitchen and he was very pleased to be rewarded for the patience with a (small) slice of pie. Too bad it's all gone, now I want some more!