Farmers Markets · Just Dessert

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

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 I think this may be one of my husband's and my son's favorite desserts.  That was part of the reason I bought so many strawberries and so much rhubarb at the farmers' market last Friday - some for the jam, and definately some for pie. 

I have any number of books with recipes for Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, and this time I thought "I'll use that one – it's got to have good pie recipes in it."  And I pulled Christopher Kimball's The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook off a shelf.  Looked up the recipe, turned to the page – and guess what.  I've already used his recipe and liked it enough to put a star next to it.  Well okay, then! 

(Even better, when I was looking up the recipe, I noticed that there are quite a number of recipes for jams and the like, including a rhubarb-ginger jam that sounds pretty interesting.  I might have to make a batch of that next weekend.)

Anyway, while I was cutting up fruit for the jam, I also cut up the quantities I needed for the pie.  3 cups of strawberries and 3 cups of rhubarb.  Simple enough, right?

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Would you look at the color of those berries?  SO red.  The slices make me think of Valentine's Day hearts…only prettier, sweeter, and much better for you.

But I digress.

The rest of the filling consists of 1 teaspoon of orange or lemon zest (I used lemon), 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, 3/4-1 cup of sugar (I went with the smaller amount), 3-5 tablespoons Minute tapioca (did I even have Minute tapioca?  Apparently I did.  Probably from whenever I first made this pie) (oh, and I used 4 1/2 tablespoons of the tapioca), and 2 tablespoons butter (optional) (I used it).

You mix all that together and let it sit for fifteen minutes – I'm assuming that's to let the tapioca absorb some of the liquid.  The more tapioca you add, by the way, the firmer the cooked fruit will be, so if you like a very oozy pie, go with less tapioca, and if you like a nice, picture-worthy slice of pie, go with more. 

Oh, and at this point I also started preheating the oven – 400 degrees F.

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I had already made the pie crust, so it was already rolled out and in my pie pan at this point.  I used the crust recipe from the same book – it's 2 1/2 cups AP flour, 3/4 tsp salt, 2 T* sugar, 12 T unsalted butter, chilled in the freezer for at least 30 minutes, 8 T all-purpose vegetable shortening, chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes, and 7-8 T of ice water.

* "T" = tablespoons

I combined the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor, added in the butter and shortening (which I'd cut into small pieces), pulsed that til the mixture looked kind of sandy with a smattering of little pea-sized lumps of fat mixed in, then drizzled the ice water in, a little at a time, until the dough started to come together.

Then I dumped it out on the counter and kneaded it ever so briefly until it formed a ball.  I cut the ball in half, rolled one half out and lined my pie pan with it.  Rolled the other ball out and formed a rough circle, which I wrapped in plastic and folded in quarters to chill.  I put the pan and the folded disk of dough back in the fridge to chill.  (I skipped the "chill the dough first" step – I was kind of pressed for time.  I figured it could chill just fine already in the pan.)

After the fruit sat for about fifteen minutes,

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Next I carefully unwrapped and unfolded my disk of dough and gently placed it on top of the fruit.

Nighty-night, little fruit filling!

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Then I trimmed the excess dough and tried to decide what to do with the edges.  Sometimes I'm in a fancy mood, other times I'm more interested in quick and easy.

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I went with quick and easy – I just pressed-and-sealed the edges with the tines of a fork.  Then I cut a little vent in the center and folded the corners back – turns out I have to get a little fancy after all – and cut a few slits in the rest of the top crust, and there – pie crust is born.

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Then I whisked an egg and a bit of water together, and took out my Sparkling White Sugar.  More fancyness.  I painted the crust with the egg, sprinkled on the sugar, and at last, into the oven went the pie.

When you put the pie in, you drop the oven temperature down to 350 degrees F.  The pie gets a nice shot of really hot from the original 400 degrees, but at 350, you won't be serving blackened crust.

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Oh – and put the pie on a cookie sheet with a lip – you really don't want sugary fruit juices spilling onto the floor of your oven. 

 Because those juices will spill over.

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Bake the pie until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbly in the center.  (That's why I cut the little vent in the middle – so I can spy on the filling.)

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I love the drippy syrup pictures. 

Below is a picture of an actual bubble taking place in the center of the pie.  It's right there on the bottom left part of the fruit portion in my little spy hole.  Try to contain your excitment.

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After the pie came out of the oven we had to leave for the banquet, so no pie that night.  But the next morning Alex and Julia had some for breakfast.

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Julia had whipped cream on hers.

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And on her face.  She's so ladylike, isn't she?

Alex gave his official, professional pie eater opinion.  He loves pie.

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And, of course, Julia gave her opinion.  It had to be the opposite of Alex's, regardless of her personal feelings.

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Bill finally had a piece last night and said it was fabulous.  Sorry – no picture of him. 

And that's the story of this pie.  I might make one again next weekend.  I give it a thumbs-up, too.

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