Tuesday, September 10, 2013

strawberry rhubarb pie

When I saw the gorgeous red stalks of rhubarb at the NGO bazaar, I snatched up a few bunches for strawberry rhubarb pie.  In college, I had a roommate from Amarillo, Texas and one spring break three of our best friends flew to Texas to visit her granddad's ranch.  My friend's mother made two strawberry rhubarb pies that will forever be etched in my mind.  They were sweet but not too sweet and the crust was perfectly buttery and flaky.  My girlfriends and I used forks and just took bites out of the pie until it was gone.  Or at least that's how I remember it.  It was probably the best pie I've ever eaten.

I did my best to recreate that wonderful memory!

I made mini pies for Market Day so I used double the amount of pie crust needed.  If you wanted to make one 9 inch pie you only need a single batch of pie crust.  I ended up with more strawberries than rhubarb but you could definitely swap the 4 cups for rhubarb and cut down on the strawberries.  Just keep tasting until you've got the sweet tart combination right.  I like using cardamom in place of cinnamon for recipes because it adds a unique flavor and still has that warmth of cinnamon.  Here I used cardamom in the crumble topping.
get your daughter to help and give you a smirky grin when you ask her to smile for the photo
Sara's Strawberry Rhubarb pie (adapted from here)
Double batch of your favorite pie crust (mine's a secret)
3 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
4 cups fresh strawberries sliced in half
3/4 cup sugar + 1/4 cup sugar (keep it separate)
2 Tbsp corn starch
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp melted unsalted butter

Crumble topping
1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter
large pinch ground cardamom
1 tsp salt

First I cooked the rhubarb with 3/4 cup sugar on medium heat until it was juicy and bubbly (use a dutch oven with a lid).  Cook only until the juices start coming out of the vegetable.  You don't want mushy rhubarb.  It's nice if it still has structure-not crunch, but structure.  Set the rhubarb aside in a bowl and add half the amount of juices left in the pot.  Sip the rest or add it to seltzer water for flavoring.  Rhubarb syrup is so yummy!

Add the flour, cornstarch and melted butter to the rhubarb and stir gently to mix.  It will become thick and gloppy.  Add the halved strawberries and gently fold in so you don't crush the fruit. Taste the mixture and then sprinkle in the remaining sugar if you like.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

For the crumb topping you can use a food processor or if you're like me and sometimes just don't want to go to the trouble to get the thing out and then clean it all for 3 seconds of pulsing; just get out a bowl and use your fingers or a pastry cutter to mix the ingredients for the crumble.  Simply mix the dry, then add the butter.  Add a bit of butter and mix, then add a bit more until it's forming small crumbly balls.  You don't want soggy crumble.  Just add enough butter until it's crumbly but still a bit dry.  The consistency you can easily sprinkle on top of the pie.

To assemble your pie, roll our your crust either for a 9 inch pie plate or in small circles for muffin tins like I did.  For a large pie pour in the fruit mixture and then top with the crumble.  If you are making mini pies, I used about 1 1/2 Tbsp of filling for each mini pie.  Then sprinkle on 1 Tbsp crumble.

Bake your 9 inch pie at 400 degrees for 10 minutes then turn the temp down to 350 and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes.

For mini pies bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes then turn down the temp to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 18-20 minutes.  You want the crust a nice tan not brown.

Let the pie sit for 2-4 hours.  Room temp is a good way to serve this pie.  Top with ice cream or just slice and enjoy.  I didn't even get a chance to eat one.  They sold out at Market Day but Justin said they were perfection.  Not too sweet and not too tart.  And they sure are pretty!

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