Cats, Cooking, and Life!

Rhubarb-Strawberry Pie

Here's an old family favourite for me: rhubarb and strawberry pie! Yet another dessert that is so bad for you but oh-so-good for your nose and tastebuds. For Wonder Woman and Da Original Gangstur, though, it's a new family favourite. That's because it's the first time either of them has tasted rhubarb.

Fresh rhubarb is fairly seasonal as it is a spring crop. Rhubarb is also available in the frozen vegetable section of most grocery stores so don't get discouraged if fresh is not around. Frozen is pretty much as good as fresh when in a pie as it's smothered in sugar and pastry. For us, I bought too much and put the rest into the freezer for later.

Rhubarb is an unusual vegetable. It's the stem of a leaf but don't eat the leaf as it's not good for you. It looks a little like celery but tastes so much different. The plants are generally grown in the dark to make the plant grow taller quicker to help the leaves find sunlight. The colour varies from red to green and all shades in between, but there's no difference in taste.

Because rhubarb is so sour and tart, this recipe uses lots of sugar to balance the taste to perfection. It makes just the right amount of tang in your mouth. After tasting the pie, Da Original Gangstur asked "Is this apple pie?" That's probably because of the added cinnamon.

The Pastry

This will make two crusts for a 25 cm (9 inch) pie plate, either for a single two-crust pie, or two single-crust pies. In our case, this is a two-crust pie so this makes enough for one pie.

  • 180g (1 and 1/2 cups) flour. We use whole-wheat flour, though all-purpose white works too.
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) baking powder
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, chilled
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) vegetable shortening, chilled
  • ice water, up to 60 ml (1/4 cup)

  1. Mix the flour, salt and baking powder together in a bowl.
  2. Add the butter and shortening. Use a pastry cutter to "cut" the butter and shortening into the dry mixture. The idea is to cut up the butter and shortening into small bits that are then coated with flour. If you don't have a pastry cutter, then use two table knives in a scissor motion. It'll take longer with the knives but the result will be just as good.
  3. Once the mixture resembles coarse meal, then add the ice water, 15 ml (1 tbsp) at a time until the mixture holds together when you form it into a ball.
  4. Wrap the ball of pastry in wax paper and put into the fridge for two hours or overnight.
  5. Split the ball into two and put one of the halves back into the fridge. Roll it out on a floured surface into a circle with your favourite rolling pin. You may want to roll it on top of a sheet of wax paper to make it easier to move into the pie plate.
  6. Once it's rolled out to the right size, transfer it to a greased pie plate. Another tip for moving the crust is to roll it around the rolling pin, including the wax paper, and unroll it on the pie plate.
  7. Shape around the edges to make it look nice.
  8. After the pie is filled (see below), roll out the other crust and put on top. Fold the edges back on itself to form a nice ridge all around.
  9. Use a fork or a similar item to press around the edges in a nice pattern. Use a sharp knife to slash the top crust to let steam escape.

Pastry tips:

  • Notice that everything should be cold -- the butter, shortening and water. This is to prevent the flour from dissolving into the butter and shortening. This way, it's a much lighter and flakier crust.
  • Handle the dough as little as possible. This also is to prevent mixing and make it light and flaky.
  • Use a marble slab for rolling if you can. That also keeps everything cool.
  • If you are using a recipe that calls for a baked crust, then bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 190C (350F). Before baking, poke some holes in the pastry with a fork to keep it from puffing up too much.

The Filling

  • 1 l (4 cups) of rhubarb. It should be washed and sliced into 2 cm (1 inch) lengths. In our case, we use 750 ml of rhubarb and 250 ml of strawberries
  • 190 ml (3/4 cup) sugar
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) flour
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) ground cinnamon

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C (350F)
  2. Place the rhubarb, and strawberries if you're using them, in a bowl. Mix the flour, sugar and cinnamon and pour over the rhubarb. Toss gently to coat everything.
  3. Pour the filling mixture into the pie plate on top of the bottom crust. Put the top crust onto the filling and shape (see above).
  4. Bake for 60 minutes. Put a cookie sheet under the pie to keep your oven clean. This will get juicy!
  5. Remove from the oven and place onto a rack to cool. Just after removing, sprinkle the top with sugar for a nice sparkly look.

When you can wait no longer, slice and serve. Ice cream or whipped cream are great accompaniments and it's also good by itself.

Tip: after washing and slicing the rhubarb, pop any extra into a freezer bag and freeze for later.

Does Bow-Tie Calico approve? She does!


Anonymous said...

I,m going to make it


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