Sweet as Pie ... Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Ah, it's May. It seems like all winter I've been pining away for warm weather (even though this winter wasn't exactly cold) and it's finally here. There's a really cute children's book by Nikki McClure called Mama, Is It Summer Yet? and it captures our anticipation of this time of year perfectly while celebrates the changes in nature as we move from chilly cold months to warm and steamy ones. (She also writes a few other books -- one about a farmers' market that is particularly adorable...)

Of course, after months and months of reading this book (that culminates with a little boy strawberry picking with his mother), the kids and I were thrilled to finally be able to go scour the fields for berries at a local farm the other day. We picked an Easter basket full of 'em and came home to make the first strawberry rhubarb pie of the season. Of course we ate some pie for dinner, and breakfast, and lunch the next day...this too seems like a rite of Spring passage.


So I wanted to share my recipe for strawberry rhubarb pie. I'm not a baker, but one thing I am totally anal about is making my own pie crust. If I can do it (and I mess up boxed cupcakes), you can too. It's easy. By using only a few simple ingredients (butter, flour, salt, sugar) you can avoid all the weird chemically ingredients that are in the store bought shells. I use my food processor to mix it, so basically, if you can flip a switch, you can master this crust. My three year old helped every step of the way and I must say it was a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

(for a typical 9" pie dish)

For the crust
2 sticks cold but not frozen, butter (I used Organic Valley)
2 cups flour (Daisy organic flour is simply the best for baking. SO fluffy)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup ice cold water
1 egg (for brushing the top of the pie)

For the filling
(Because I like a really full pie, I use mountains of fruit. This is all an estimate...just be sure to use the tapioca or else it will be too runny)

1/4 cup sugar (my strawberries were super super sweet so I didn't use much sugar at all)
3 stalks rhubarb, chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 quarts (or so) hulled strawberries, split in halves
1/4 cup instant tapioca (I think you find this by the pudding mix at the market)

Preheat oven to 375. Chop up butter into little pieces. Toss in food processor along with flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse for a few seconds. Add in water slowly while pulsing. You don't want to over mix it, just pulse until the pie mix becomes crumbly. Like this:

Then, dump the mix into a large bowl. Mush it together until you have formed to equally sized balls of dough. Wrap and chill in the fridge for 15-30 minutes while you prep the filling.

Mix the sugar, fruit, and tapioca in a large bowl. Stir until well combined.

I always think the hardest thing about your own crust is rolling it out. That's why I use this large piece of canvas to roll out my dough. You can cut one from the fabric store or probably buy one from Michael's. I also use a rolling pin cover so that the dough doesn't stick. I cut mine from a pair of funky socks I found at The Gap. Kind of strange to roll out dough with a sock, but oh well. On top of that, I douse the canvas with a handful of flour.

Once all that is ready, you can roll out your two dough balls into circles. Leave an inch or two extra at the edges that you can pinch into crust.

strawberryrhubarbpie3.JPG

Put the one sheet of crust on the bottom of your pie dish and cover with the filling mix.

Then place the other pie crust on top and pinch the edges together to make a pretty pie border. Cut a few slits in the top of the pie for steam to escape and brush with whisked egg.

I used the heritage breed egg so the yolk really made the pie a perfect golden brown crust when it was done.

Pop your pie in the oven and let bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. You'll know the pie is done when the crust is crispy and evenly golden on the top. I rotated mine a few times because my oven seems to have hot spots.

Let the pie sit overnight (if you can wait!) because it truly does taste better the next day. It's not so runny when you cut it, either. Enjoy!