I have no idea why, but I’ve been on a total pie kick this summer. This is the second strawberry rhubarb pie I’ve made, plus a cherry pie for a picnic. Perhaps I’ll look back fondly on the summer of 2010 as the summer of pie?
I usually use Joy of Cooking as a reference for both flaky pie crust and sugar/filling ratios. I generally cut back a bit on the fat. If I know I’m cooking for omnivores, I’ll throw in maybe a tablespoon or so of rendered bacon fat…but I wouldn’t suggest that for potlucks and picnics, where vegetarian friends might get tricked into eating pork pie. You’ll notice that I have a bit of trouble maintaining the integrity of a pie crust, but my feeling is that one eats a piece of pie for its taste, not its looks. And finally, rest assured that you can make this from fresh or frozen fruit.
I’m curious: how do you store your pies? My family always left theirs out on the table until someone ate it. Usually this would take a couple of days. Presumably one should refrigerate it if you’re planning on having it hang around, but what’s the turning point?
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
For the crust:
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 T sugar
1/3 c. unsalted butter
1/3 c. vegetable shortening OR 1/4 c. vegetable shortening + 1 1/2 T bacon fat
Pinch of salt (omit if using bacon fat)
About 1/3 c. ice-cold water
For the filling:
3 c. fresh strawberries, hulled and halved (see below for frozen)
2 to 3 c. rhubarb, cleaned and cut into 1″ pieces
1/2 to 1 c sugar, depending on your tartness preference
3 T cornstarch
1) Make the dough. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in the fat, either using a pastry cutter, two knives, or a food processor. Add in just enough water to make the whole thing stick together. Squeeze it together, wrap it all up in plastic wrap, and refrigerator for at least half an hour. It needs to be good and cold to keep it from melting when you roll out the dough.
2) Preheat the oven to 425°F.
3) Divide the dough into two slightly uneven halves. Roll out the larger half into a circle slightly larger than a 10″ pie plan. Transfer the dough to the pan. Tip: Fold it in half, fold again, to make a little quarter. Put the point in the center of the pie pan and unfold.
4) Combine the filling ingredients and let sit no more than 10 minutes while you make the top crust.
5) Roll out the smaller portion of the dough into a circle large enough to top your pie.
6) Transfer your filling to the pie pan. Carefully cover with the dough for the top crust. If you have miraculously done this without ripping it, you’ll need to add some decorative vents. If you, like me, have created several little rips, use them creatively to begin a vent design. Trim the edges a hair beyond the end of the pan, and so that the bottom layer is slightly outside of the top. Fold over the bottom crust overhang over the top, then seal using your preferred method: crimping with a fork, your fingers, etc. Brush the crust with a little bit of milk and dust with sugar. Transfer the pie pan to a baking sheet (to catch drips) and put on a rack in the bottom third of the oven.
7) Bake for 30 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350°F and bake another 30 minutes. The crust should be golden brown, and delicious strawberry rhubarb goo should be spilling out of the pie.
To make with frozen berries: If using whole, individually quick frozen berries, just substitute them as if they were fresh. If using berries frozen in sugar, you’ll need an entire quart, and you’ll need to drain all but 1/4 c. of the liquid (Keep it! Strawberry syrup!). Add just a bit of sugar—say, 1/4 c.—and be sure to include the cornstarch.