Saturday, June 9, 2012


Today is strawberry-rhubarb pie day! Although, to be honest I haven't seen any rhubarb around. I'm not sure it's even in season . That's the funny thing about these official pie days, the fruit being celebrated is never quite in season. Oh well, I'll save this recipe for when I can actually find rhubarb. If you have better luck than myself, try the below recipe I found at KCRW's Good Food. I swapped out their all-lard crust for an all-butter crust.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 lbs rhubarb (about 5 cups), ends trimmed, outer layer peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons arrowroot*
pinch salt
1 1/2 lb strawberries (about 5 cups), hulled and quartered
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. Add the rhubarb and 1/4 cup of the sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until the rhubarb has shed most of its liquid but is still firm, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large plate and cool in fridge.
  2. Remove one of the dough disks from the fridge. Roll out on a lightly floured surface or between two pieces of plastic wrap to a 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie pan, trim the dough but leave a slight overhang. Refrigerate until needed.
  3. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position, place a rimmed baking sheet on it, and preheat oven to 500º F. 
  4. In a small bowl, mix together 3/4 cup of sugar, the arrowroot and salt. In a large bowl, toss together the strawberries, cooled rhubarb, vanilla and orange zest. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the top and stir to combine. Spoon the fruit evenly into the pie shell and pack lightly. 
  5. Roll out the second dough disk to a 12-inch circle and place over the filling. Trim the edges of the top and bottom dough layers to 1/2-inch beyond the pan lip. Tuck this rim underneath itself so that the folded edge is flush with pan lip. Flute the edges. Cut slits in the dough top. If the pie dough is very soft, place in the freezer for 10 minutes. Brush the top of the crust with the egg white and sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar. 
  6. Place the pie on the hot baking sheet and lower the oven temperature to 425º F. Bake until the top crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Rotate the pie and lower the oven temperature to 375º F; continue baking until the juices bubble and the crust is deep golden brown, 30-35 minutes longer. Cool the pie on a wire rack until room temperature, 3-4 hours, before serving. 
*If you don't have arrowroot on hand, you can make the following substitutions:
1/4 cup quick-cooking (pearl) tapioca // Note: Not recommended with lattice or open crust pies as it remains hard when exposed to the hot air of the oven. Always mix the thickener with the sugar first to prevent lumps, then add fruit. Let the filling mixture stand for at least 15 minutes before spooning into the pie crust. This allows for more efficient thickening.

Flour //Note: Rule of thumb is about 1/3 cup of flour to each quart of fruit, but each recipe varies. As well as sprinkling the flour directly on the cut fruit, but be sure to sprinkle an extra tablespoon of flour on the bottom of the crust before pouring in the filling which helps thicken the fruit juices that seep to the bottom when cooking.

Cornstarch //Note: It has twice the thickening power of flour, but also imparts a slightly starchy taste. This is why you should precook a cup of the fruit with the cornstarch before baking the pie.

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