I’ve had a prejudice against pies for years. Admittedly, a pie maker I’m not. I can’t pinpoint the reason for this prejudice but it’s been lurking around my kitchen. Lurking like your slightly off-kilter college roommate does when your suite is brimming with friends. And like this college roommate situation, it’s unnerving. I want to make pies. I’ve seen some jaw-droppingly gorgeous pies around the blogs for years and yet each summer passes by without the sign of a pie on Smells Like Home. I’m sorry that I’ve been a wimp. I’m working on it.
This strawberry rhubarb pie is the first plunge I’ve taken into pie making this summer. I hope you like it. I loved it. I pulled the strawberry rhubarb filling together in about 5 minutes and the dough took even less time to make. Shockingly easy. Not ever having had rhubarb, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the flavor but it blended so beautifully together with the strawberries – a little tart and a little sweet with a pie crust that made me burst with pride when I took my first taste. Judging by my 92-year-old grandmother’s ecstatic reaction this pie, and considering she has vivid memories of slimy rhubarb that her mother used to boil to all hell, I’d say that this pie is a resounding success. I’ve invested in a pie cookbook to assist me through the summer and after this strawberry rhubarb triumph, there will definitely be more pies to come soon.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
source: Filling from King Arthur Flour; Pie Dough slightly adapted from Williams-Sonoma via Annie’s Eats
For the Pie Dough:
Yields: 1 9-inch crust – you’ll need to increase the recipe by half if you want the star shapes
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon zest
8 tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 tbsp very cold water
For the Filling:
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 tbsp Instant ClearJel or 7 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
3 1/2 to 4 cups lightly packed fresh rhubarb, diced
3 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 tbsp butter
Coarse white sparkling sugar, to garnish, if desired
To make the pie dough:
Combine the flour, sugar, lemon zest, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse briefly to blend. Add in the butter pieces and pulse a few times just until the butter incorporates into the flour, the mixture resembles coarse sand, and the largest butter pieces are not much bigger than peas. Add in the cold water through the feed tube and pulse just until the dough comes together.
Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. (This dough can be frozen for up to 2 months.) Remove from the refrigerator. If you’ve increased the recipe by half to make the star shapes, cut off 3/4 of the dough and proceed with the next step with the larger piece of dough (wrap the smaller piece of dough back up and refrigerate). Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface into an approximately 12-13 inch circle.
Gently transfer the dough to the pie plate, laying the dough onto the bottom and up the sides – do not press the dough into the dish. Allow the edges of the dough to hang over the rim of the plate. You may need to trim off some of the dough to even it out. Using your fingers, flute the edges of the dough (see Annie’s tutorial linked above). Move the pie plate to the refrigerator while you make the filling.
To make the filling and put the pie together:
Whisk together the sugar, thickener, and salt.
In a large bowl, toss the rhubarb and strawberries with the sugar mixture. Spoon the fruit into the pan, filling it about 3/4 full and mounding the filling a bit in the center. Place dabs of the butter atop the filling. Return the pie to the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Roll out the remaining dough from the refrigerator, and cut it into star shapes. Place the stars atop the filling. Brush with water and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired.
Bake the pie for 30 minutes then reduce the oven heat to 375°F and bake for an additional 35 to 40 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the crust nicely browned. If you have a stainless steel crust cover, place it on top of the crust after 20 minutes to prevent the crust from browning too much.
Remove the pie(s) from the oven, and let them cool for an hour or so before serving.
The pie may be served warm, but it’ll be a bit messy; it sets as it cools. Top with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.