Saturday, May 19, 2012

Strawberry and Rhubarb Pie

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...The simultaneous appearance of rhubarb and strawberries in our green markets is enough to convince me that Mother Nature can't be all bad. I love to use the combination in the barely sweet desserts my family favors and those shades of red are as much a harbinger of spring as daffodils or cherry blossoms. They are a sure sign that berry pie season has begun and this pie is usually the first I make. The recipe I use comes from Cook's Illustrated magazine and it is one I hate to love. I've been known to get prickly when a recipe is described as being best of the best, particularly when the one doing the describing just happens to be the recipe creator. While it offends my sense of modesty and noblesse oblige, the folks at Cook's do that all the time. That irritates me, but sometimes you just have to give the devil his due. Their sisyphean testing produces wonderful recipes that work well and rarely disappoint. This pie was developed while they were testing various thickeners for fruit pies and they concluded that quick-cooking tapioca produced the best results. Fillings thickened with tapioca retained a clear appearance and set well without becoming rubbery. Now, as a matter of principle, I won't say this is the best strawberry and rhubarb pie I've ever had, but I must admit it is a contender. I hope you will give it a try. The crust is a bit of a bother, but the filling is a piece of cake. Here's how the folks at Cook's make this pie.

Strawberry and Rhubarb Pie...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Cook's Illustrated

Pie Dough
2-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
11 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
7 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
1/3 cup water, chilled with ice, increasing up to 3/8 cup, if needed
Strawberry-Rhubarb Filling
3 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
3 cups fresh rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3–4 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk + 1 teaspoon water

1) Mix flour, salt, and sugar in food processor fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture, tossing to coat butter with a little flour. Cut butter into flour with five 1-second pulses. Add shortening and continue to cut it in until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal with butter bits no larger than small peas, about four more 1-second pulses. Turn mixture into medium bowl.
2) Sprinkle all but 1 tablespoon of the ice water over mixture. With blade of rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix. Press down on dough with broad side of spatula until dough sticks together, adding up to 1 tablespoon of remaining ice water if dough does not come together. Divide dough into two balls, one slightly larger than the other. Flatten each into 4-inch-wide disk. Dust lightly with flour, wrap separately in plastic, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
3) Remove dough from refrigerator; let stand at room temperature to soften slightly, about 10 minutes. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss fruit with sugar, lemon juice and orange zest, vanilla extract, and tapioca; let stand for 15 minutes.
4) Roll larger dough disk on lightly floured surface into 12-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer and fit dough into 9-inch Pyrex pie pan, leaving dough that overhangs the lip in place. Turn fruit mixture, including juices, into pie shell. Scatter butter pieces over fruit. Refrigerate until ready to top with remaining dough.
5) Roll smaller disk on lightly floured surface into 10-inch circle. Lay over fruit. Trim top and bottom dough edges to 1/2-inch beyond pan lip. Tuck this rim of dough underneath itself so that folded edge is flush with pan lip. Flute dough in your own fashion, or press with fork tines to seal. Cut four slits at right angles on dough top to allow steam to escape. If pie dough is very soft, place in freezer for 10 minutes before baking. Beat egg yolk with water and brush top crust of pie with mixture.
6) Place pie on baking sheet; bake until top crust is golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until juices bubble and crust is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes longer.
7) Transfer pie to wire rack; let cool to almost room temperature so juices have time to thicken, from 1 to 2 hours. Yield: 8 servings.

One Year Ago Today: Tortino di Gagiolini - Green Bean Tart

Two Years Ago Today: Penne with Asparagus and Lemon Sauce

Three Years Ago Today: Potato Gratin a la Flamande


Katarina said...

This is a lovely pie, I love rhubarb and combined with strawberries it's perfect!

Lynn said...

Sounds great! I would use crushed tapioca for a few different pies when we had the diner (blueberry and peach come to mind), but always used flour with rhubarb. Might pick up some tapioca to play with:@)

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Mary, I have rhubarb in the garden ready to be picked!!! Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is truly one of my favorites!
I am going to use your recipe and make Breville mini pies for our guest over Memorial Day weekend!
Thanks, dear one!

YOur strawberry fluff looks so refreshing too!

Rita said...

I have not made a strawberry Rhubarb pie in years' your looks spectacular. Wishing you a great weekend.

Big Dude said...

one of my favorites and my aunt nearly always bakes one when we go visit her.

Cindy@NorthofWiarton said...

Mary, I am sure my "Crabby Cabbie" would eat this, as he doesn't care for sour cream and would not help eat the Rhubarb Sour Cream Crumble Pie I made this week. I did manage to give quite a large piece to a friend, as all those calories for just little ole' me !! I need to wait for our strawberries yet to come into season, however there is an abundance of Rhubarb !

Merisi said...

Oh my goodness, what gorgeous specimen of my absolute favorite pie! I wished I could have a piece right now. ;-)

I have never made my own strawberry-rhubarb pie and have not had one since I left the East Coast, but I still remember fondly my favorite, sold at Safeway's and made by "Mom's Pies" (which is still thriving apparently, still under the ownership of the "mom" who started it all, only in a bigger barn). That was truly a pie I would declare the best I ever tasted, and I am very picky ;-)

Tanna said...

Oh, Mary, you hit Evan's favorite pie today!! Will look forward to trying your version! Thank you. blessings ~ tanna

Just a Smidgen said...

I can't taste this.. but from the look of it, it's definitely up there in the "best" realm! Well done!!

Jeannie said...

I love strawberries but have not tried rhubarb, sure would love to try this some day! looks lovely!

Judy@SavoringToday said...

Rhubarb and strawberries go hand in hand, though I have wondered if the rhubarb would be missed if it were just strawberry pie? Your pie looks fit for a pie contest, beautiful crust!

June said...

One of my favorite pies that can only be improved upon by the addition of raspberries - at least that's my opinion and I'm sticking to it. Gorgeous photo (and subject of course)!

Priya Suresh said...

Yummy pie,i dont bother to have a slice rite now.

David said...

Mary, I'd love to have a strawberry and rhubarb pie! It's been a long time!! My grandmother used to make these pies back when I was just a youngster. You don't find them often in restaurants either. Thanks for the recipe! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Anonymous said...

yup, this is the perfect pie!

I have had to start a new blog, I have called it when the bough broke, I picked up a nasty virus when visiting a blog friend and it went past our Norton, I hope you find me again,

Ryan said...

Hi Mary, I saw this gorgeous pie and just had to comment on it! It is such a beautiful rosy shade and is baked to perfection. Hope you all enjoyed it and hope you're doing well!

Veronica Miller said...

I've never made a strawberry rhubarb but am thinking about trying it this year. Did you take any pics of the inside?

Pam said...

What a great pie! I love love rhubarb so I know this has to be good. I just wish you'd provide samples, Mary! Have a great rest of the weekend!

Ginny Hartzler said...

This looks like an absolute perfect pie!

Kit @ i-lostinausten said...

OMG! These pie looks so tempting & indeed a lovely rhubarb with strawberry pie! Love the way you presented it , delicious! :)

tender b. said...

We just bought some rhubarb today for precisely this purpose.

Claudia said...

We just made this today. Perfect. You cannot mess with success.

Joanne said...

Seems like you and i were on the same wavelength with our pies this week! Have to try this version!

My Unfinished Life said...

lovely looking pie :)

France@beyondthepeel said...

With rhubarb a plenty these days, it's especially tempting to be making pie every day!

The Harried Cook said...

What a gorgeous looking pie... We don't have rhubarb available here, and after seeing your pie, I want to move somewhere where I'll find it! It looks great and I love the beautiful golden crust... Thanks for sharing!

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