Friday, April 15, 2011

Classic Strawberry Rhubarb Pie


This is the best pie I've ever tasted.  I remember the first time I ever tasted it, a coworker had brought it in to work to share.  How generous, knowing now how good it is I would have kept the whole thing to myself.  But from that moment on I persistently nagged him for about a month straight until he finally got sick of hearing me, or really wanted some more strawberry rhubarb pie, and sent the recipe my way.  

Never having much pie success in the past, or more specifically pie crust success, I decided I was going to give this pie my all and make it for Greg's birthday.  That was two years ago and I have since recreated this pie numerous times.  This pie is like the security blanket you keep with you no matter where you go.  It's like a trusty friend who you know will never let you down.  What I'm trying to say is, use this recipe when you don't want to stress about the outcome, because even when it's bad, it's still good!  
So naturally, when we decided to have friends over last night, I settled on burgers, oven baked potato wedges, and my best friend, strawberry rhubarb pie.
Since those first attempts at making the perfect pie crust, I have learned several secrets that make success a bit more certain.  Granted, I still have my days when, for the life of me, I cannot get the crust to turn out (I think sometimes it has to do with humidity and things like that, that's what I tell myself anyway), but here are a couple tricks that seem to help:

1. Cold ingredients, even frozen!  Putting everything in the freezer prior to mixing (even your flour!) is a good start to making the perfect, buttery, flaky crust.

2. Don't mess with the dough too much.  It is perfectly acceptable to see bits of butter and shortening throughout your dough.  These will eventually melt into beautiful bites of flaky goodness. 

3.  Use a food processor or stand mixer to make your crust.  They are quick, hence your ingredients remain cold.

With these few tricks up your sleeve, let's get started.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
recipe can be found on Epicurious

Ingredients:
For crust 

3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
10 tablespoons (about) ice water

For filling
3 1/2 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices trimmed rhubarb (1 1/2 pounds untrimmed) I couldn't find fresh so I used frozen and it worked fine
1 16-ounce container strawberries, hulled, halved (about 3 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large egg yolk beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water (for glaze)

Make crust:
Combine flour, sugar and salt in processor. Using on/off turns, cut in shortening and butter until coarse meal forms. 

 
What, doesn't everyone have a shelf in their freezer filled with chunks of butter and shortening?

Blend in enough ice water 2 tablespoons at a time to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; cut in half. Flatten each half into disk. Wrap separately in plastic; refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling.) 

 
Make filling:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine first 7 ingredients in large bowl. Toss gently to blend. 

 

Roll out 1 dough disk on floured work surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish.   

 
Trick: Drape your crust over your rolling pin to prevent tears.


Trim excess dough, leaving 3/4-inch overhang.
Roll out second dough disk on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Cut into fourteen 1/2-inch-wide strips.  I use a pizza cutter but a regular knife would work too. 


Spoon filling into crust. Now comes the tricky part, making the lattice top.  Here is a YouTube video showing how to do it, once you see how it's done, you will find it isn't really that bad.  If you are still nervous about trying it on your actual pie, you can practice with strips of paper first.  Arrange 7 dough strips atop filling, spacing evenly. 

 
Trick: Use every other strip so that you will still have the correct lengths to go the other way.

Form lattice by placing remaining dough strips in opposite direction atop filling. Trim ends of dough strips even with overhang of bottom crust. Fold strip ends and overhang under, pressing to seal. Crimp edges decoratively. 

 
Brush glaze over crust. transfer pie to baking sheet. 

 
This is why you put your pie on a baking sheet!

Bake 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake pie until golden and filling thickens, about 1 hour 25 minutes. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely.

Enjoy with someone you love!

4 comments:

  1. Oh this pie looks awesome! Really like your blog!

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  2. @Alicia, Thanks for stopping by! This pie is a perfect combo of sweet and tart - let me know if you try it!

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  3. I'm so glad it is rhubarb season again! This pie looks delicious, and I agree with Justeen that your lattice crust looks perfect! Another pie crust tip I learned from watching Alton Brown is to roll it out between two pieces of wax paper to keep it from sticking to your rolling pin.

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