Monday, January 24, 2011

Ever wonder how to make a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie?

Wonder no longer!
Strawberries were on sale this week and the rhubarb was looking good so my mom and I just knew that it was strawberry rhubarb pie time! I had actually found a recipe I wanted to try out a long time ago but wanted to wait till there was a good price on the strawberries. I wanted to use this recipe I found over at Smitten Kitchen because it seemed she had solved the "too-liquidity" pie issue which seems to always be the issue when my family makes strawberry rhubarb pie.  I also wanted to make homemade pie crust because her pictures looked amazing and also, have you seen the ingredient list on the store-bought kinds? Not pretty.

Now, I'm no pie crust expert, but I think I did pretty well, so I hope I inspire some of y'all to try making your own pie crusts too! Its not as hard as it seems.
First you assemble all your ingredients.
You will need:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I used half white, half whole wheat pastry flour)
2 sticks butter (yes two sticks. Trust me.)
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon table salt

I diced up my butter and then popped it in the freezer for about 5 minutes while I got the other stuff ready so it would be nice and cold.

To start off, fill a one cup measure with water and a couple ice cubes.

Then add all the dry ingredients to a large bowl-
Combine with a whisk-
Add very cold butter that has been cubed into smallish pieces-
You will need a pastry blender for this next step, otherwise you may have to do this in the food processor.
This is a pastry blender.
Cut into the butter and blend until your butter is evenly dispersed and in small pea-sized chunks. Like this-
Then add in about 1/2 cup of your very cold water-
Mix with a spatula until it starts to come together. Add more water by the tablespoon if needed (it will probably need 1/4 cup more). Change to kneading with your hands until the dough comes together into a ball that looks like this-
Divide the dough into two portions, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 1-2 hours, at least.
The crust didn't seem that hard to make, but its how the crust ends up once it cooks that counts! I was apprehensive, to say the least.
If you want the actual expert's (Deb over at Smitten Kitchen) photos and how-to directions, click here.

Now on to the filling!
You will need:
3 1/2 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds, untrimmed) rhubarb, in 1/2-inch thick slices
3 1/2 cups (about 1 pound) strawberries, hulled and sliced if big, halved if tiny
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

I ended up being just a tad short on rhubarb so I used a little more strawberries.
As long as, in the end, you have around 7 cups of fruit, then you're good!
As I was cutting up the strawberries, I noticed a strawberry that had a flower petal on it!
I forgot that strawberries were actually the stamen of the strawberry flower! I really want to grow my own strawberry plants.. wouldn't that be awesome?
 ANYWAYS, combine the diced strawberries and rhubarb with the rest of the ingredients except the butter.
Now it's time to roll out your dough!
Unwrap one dough ball and lightly flour a working surface. Roll the dough into a 12 inch circle.
Transfer to your 9-inch pie dish. I gently folded mine in half for the transfer, which worked out great.
Being a novice pie maker, I crimped my edges, but you'll want to wait until you put the top layer on to do that. Just let the crust hang over the sides.
Next, pour in your filling.
And dot with 2 tablespoons of butter.
Then take your remaining pie dough and roll it into a 11 inch circle.
I trimmed it a bit for prettiness sake :P
This is where you can have some fun and cut out decorative slits. I didn't really know what to do so I just cut random holes that didn't end up looking very pretty..oh well, c'est la vie!
Transfer the top crust to your pie.
Crimp the edges and take off the excess dough. Make sure all the seams are sealed.
Look at that little cute butter cube sneakin' out!
Next, transfer to a baking sheet and brush the crust with a mixture of one egg yolk and one teaspoon of water. Sprinkle with some turbinado sugar if you'd like (and I liked).
Bake for 20 minutes then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes, until the pie is golden and the juices bubble visibly.
Look at that crust!
I've never seen a store-bought crust look that good, ever.
Let the pie cool for several hours before devouring.
Talk about the longest hours of my life! I kept coming upstairs just to sniff it...I know, I know...I just really wanted to dig in to see if all my hard work had payed off!
After dinner, I cut the pie in slices. This is the moment of truth because in the past, our pies have turned into soup! Thankfully, this pie stayed in place and didn't have a crazy amount of juice leaking all over the place. YAY!

Here's my slice-
 No excess liquid!
 Super flaky crust!
 Topped with whipped cream, for good measure.
And promptly demolished! MMM! This was so good and I think everyone absolutely loved it. My sister said she didn't like the texture of the tapioca in the pie, but I didn't notice it that much. I love how this pie isn't crazy sweet (other recipes call for double the sugar!) and my mom said it could even be less sweet.

Guys, if you've never had the strawberry and rhubarb combination you need to go out and get the ingredients for this pie pronto. You will not be disappointed! We sure weren't :D
Happy pie baking y'all!

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