Monday, May 13, 2013

Summer can be summed up in a Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

Now that the Farmer's Market is back up, I've promised myself to go each week and get a pound or two or rhubarb. I found some great recipes for jam, and lately, I've been obsessed with strawberry-rhubarb pie. I think I've settled on the best recipe. At least, I've received a lot of good feedback on the results, so I think this will be my go-to recipe from now on!

It looks just like Mom's!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

prep time – about 30 minutes

bake time – 50-60 minutes

makes one regular-sized pie with a crumb topping.

3/2 cups shortening
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup boiling water
1 ½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour

1 cup white sugar
½ cup flour
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 heaping cups chopped rhubarb
2 heaping cups sliced strawberries

1/3 cup butter (softened
½ cup sugar
¾ cup flour

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Use generous cups of fruit. I had about 2 and ¼ cups of each, and as long as you heap it near the center, it will make for a full pie. Frozen is fine, but will have more liquid, so you may need to add more flour.

Cream shortening and salt together in a bowl. Add boiling water, then flour. Mix together until a soft dough has formed. Add more flour if it seems too soft, a tablespoon at a time. Press the dough into a pie pan, crimp edges and set aside.

Mix flour, sugar, and nutmeg in a small bowl. 

In a larger bowl, combine the flour mixture with the rhubarb and strawberries. More or less sugar can be used, depending on the sweetness of the fruit. Later rhubarb and earlier strawberries tend to be less sweet, and need extra sugar. It's a good idea to taste your fruit before hand, so you'll have an idea of how tart you would like your filling. If it turns out to be too tart after baking, don't worry. This is why God gave us ice cream!

This isn't even as full as it could be. You can pile more up in the middle there! More fruit!

After transferring the filling to the pie crust, mix up the crumb topping. You can use any of your favorite crumb toppings. It's also fun to add a teaspoon of cinnamon once in a while. But this is a simple topping that complements the rhubarb and strawberries very well. Cream all three ingredients together until it is crumbly and coarse. Spoon it onto the pie.

Bake the pie at 400 for 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350 and bake for 40 to 50 minutes longer, until the top of the crust is browned, and the filling is bubbling around the edges. You may need to put a pan on the lower rack under the pie to catch the drips.

Cool the pie for at least 20-30 minutes for best results. It will still be warm, but the filling will have a chance to set, and it won't be too runny. I have seen a number of recipes calling for tapioca or gelatin to combat the runny filling issue. But I'm convinced that this is a very easy-going pie, and trying to firm the filling up is sort of defeating the purpose of summer fruit. Besides, tapioca is just plain weird! It has no place in a fruit pie, ESPECIALLY not during the summer months.

Serve with vanilla ice cream for best results. Research shows that this pie tastes best when eaten on your grandparents back patio, or on your family picnic bench.
It was hard to wait for this to cool down enough to cut. But it was worth it. I like it to be still warm, but cool enough so that your ice cream doesn't completely melt in the first five minutes - if the pie lasts that long on your plate :D