Thursday, April 8, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Pie is one of our serious obsessions.  Whenever we travel, we are on the lookout for the best local pie.  On a recent trip to Austin, we enjoyed several mini pies from the Cutie Pies food truck.  Our favorite was the bumbleberry.  Last weekend, we drove to New Orleans and stopped in Beaumont for the sweet potato pie at Willy Ray's BBQ.  (David ate more than just pie, but this is a vegetarian blog so we won't talk any more about that).    We love that Willy Ray's serves sweet potato pie as the side vegetable of the day.  In New Orleans, we had a slice of chocolate pecan chess pie at Dick and Jenny's.  And whenever we drive out to see the annual wildflowers in Texas Hill Country, we gorge on pie at Bevers in Chappell Hill.  Even the local Exxon station in Chappell Hill sells great pies, especially the coconut cream pie.

We will forever be on a quest for the perfect pie, but we frankly think there is nothing better than a pie freshly baked at home.  It is one of those homey desserts that is hard to perfect on a mass scale.   The trickiest element is the crust, which is often the most disappointing part of any store-bought pie.  We have tried many recipes at home, and have settled on what we think is the perfect crust.  We love our pie crust recipe and know that you will too.

When it comes to fillings, rhubarb is one of our favorites.  We love rhubarb so much that we are trying to grow it here in Houston even though these plants really prefer cool weather.  We started seeds last fall, but sadly many of the seedlings did not survive the winter.  Those that did are still so small that any harvest is many, many months away.  Luckily, rhubarb is now available, combining perfectly with the gorgeous local strawberries.  The filling for this pie is little more than fruit and sugar, so make sure to use strawberries and rhubarb that are packed with flavor.  The resulting pie is wonderfully sweet and tart at the same time, brimming over with gorgeous red fruit and thick juices inside a super-flaky crust.   After we made this pie, we checked on our rhubarb seedlings hoping that there had been a dramatic growth spurt in the last week.  Sadly, no.  But this pie has convinced us to redouble our efforts to grow rhubarb this year.  And we will have no problem using every last bit of our harvest.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Ingredients

Crust  (makes enough for 2 pies or a top and bottom crust)

2          cups     unbleached A.P. flour
1/4       tsp       salt
1          tsp       sugar
1/2       lb         unsalted butter, cubed and kept cold
1/4       cup      vegetable shortening, cold
1/4       cup      ice water

Filling
2                      pie crusts, one rolled out and lining pie pan, chilled
                        one rolled out and chilled for top
3 1/2    cups     strawberries, washed and sliced
3 1/2    cups     rhubarb, sliced into 1" pieces
1 1/4    cup       sugar, plus more for top
5          Tbs      unbleached A.P. flour
1/2       tsp        orange zest
1/8       tsp        salt
3          Tbs      butter, cubed
                        small amount of heavy cream for lattice top

Procedure

Crust
  1. Combine Dry.  Add half the butter and mix until resembles coarse meal.  Add rest of butter and the shortening and cut in, leaving larger pieces of fat (around 1/4").  Add ice water until dough forms a ball (you may not need all the water).
  2. Divide into two balls, wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Let dough rest at least 4 hours before rolling out, but will keep for several days in the refrigerator if you want to plan ahead.
  3. Roll out on a well-floured surface.  
Filling
  1. Preheat oven to 400° convection (450° conventional).  Place a shelf in the middle for the pie, and another shelf below.  On lower shelf, place a sheet pan lined with a silpat or parchment paper.  This pan will catch the dripping juices as the pie bakes.
  2. Roll out bottom crust and line pie pan.  Return pan with crust to refrigerator.
  3. Roll out top crust and refrigerate.  When chilled for about 15 minutes, cut into strips for lattice top.  Return to refrigerator.
  4. Combine filling ingredients (except the butter and heavy cream).
  5. Add filling to pie pan and dot the top of the filling with the butter cubes.
  6. Remove lattice strips from refrigerator and make lattice top.  Brush strips lightly with the heavy cream using a pastry brush or your finger, then sprinkle sugar on top.
  7. Freeze pie for 15 minutes before placing in oven.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, or until crust looks lightened and dry.  Reduce oven temperature to 325° convection (375° conventional) and continue to bake until crust is golden and fillings and thick and bubbling, about 45 minutes in our oven.
  9. Cool completely on a wire rack to allow juices to thicken before cutting into pie.  Store at room temp.
Printable Recipe

If you love rhubarb as much as we do, try our Rhubarb Strawberry Cobbler .
You can also make a delicious quick Rhubarb Sauce perfect on ice cream or pound cake

    StumbleUpon.com

    25 comments:

    1. This looks amazing- Perfect for rhubarb season. Would need rivers of custard with this. Argh, now i'm not going to be able to think of anything else all day..

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    2. YUM! Pie is like heaven! What a lovely pie--your crust, from the pic--looks perfect! And I just planted seven new strawberry plants for fun--we'll see if they produce any fruit! I am going to have to try this recipe. . . today--and maybe even try growing some rhubarb, too!

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    3. Nice comfort dessert. Thanks for sharing your recipe. The pie looks very nice.

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    4. What a beautiful pie..this reminds me of a story I read to my class written by Patricia Pollacco. I haven't tried rhubarb but I bet this pie is amazing, like everything else you make!

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    5. Oh my, look at that lattice work! It's a picture-perfect pie.

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    6. I LOVE rhubarb, and the local stuff is just starting to come into season now. Thanks for sharing this big pile of deliciousness with us, hopefully I can recreate the magic!

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    7. You lattice-top is so perfect! My husband would be like a kid on Christmas morning if I made him a rhubarb pie. I'm going to have to give this a shot.

      P.S. Would you consider adding an email or print option to your blog so it is easier to save your recipes? (If you need help with either, I'd be more than happy to oblige.)

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    8. This is one of my most favorite pies!! I can't wait to make it! Hope you are doing well Robin!

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    9. hmm rhubarb and strawberries, the perfect match! beautiful pie

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    10. Absolutely agree with you...the crust can be a deal breaker to an otherwise good pie! Your pie turned out beautiful!

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    11. I was thinking about strawberry tart yesterday. Although we don't have any rhubarb. But its' worth a try while the strawberries are still in season.

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    12. The crust looks stunning indeed!

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    13. So I made a "vegan" strawberry rhubarb pie yesterday thanks to your post and its irresistible photo and pie story--and mentioned you on my blog today, too! Thanks for the inspiration! Now I must grow rhubarb myself!

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    14. Wow, this looks amazing! You should consider entering it in our monthly pie-making club- "You Want Pies With That?"! (http://pieswiththat.blogspot.com)

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    15. This is my favorite pie flavor and yours looks just as amazing as my grandma's always did :D

      I'm [impatiently] waiting for my aunt's rhubarb to grow so I can make my own!

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    16. This looks so awesomea dn inviting. Im just drooling over that pic..

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    17. Hi Robin,
      Its great to see you back at my blog! That pie is well done. Btw what happened to Blog Bites?

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    18. looks amazing! so colorful and juicy - yum!

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    19. "with the BEST crust recipe ever" Where is it?

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    20. This is one of my favorite types of pies..gorgeous!

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    21. For the crust recipe, click on the link in the recipe

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    22. Waw!! What a stunning rhubarb & strawberry pie!!

      Looks truly mouthwatering!

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    23. Hi Robin, I love your blog!
      I am a freelance graphic designer and would like to talk to you about purchasing one of your photographs. Please email me at srkiefer@gmail.com as soon as you can. Thanks, hope to hear from you soon!
      Shannon
      www.shannon-rae.com

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