In my opinion, baking for someone is just about one of the purest expressions of love out there. It requires that you give time, patience and care, all so that your loved ones can enjoy a special treat. And while creme brûlée is elegant, and towering cakes are grand and imposing, there’s something down right home-y and comforting about a pie, like a warm hug from a good friend.
Lots of people are intimidated by pie crust, and while it does take some time to do it right, it’s not hard to master. The key is to keep it cold, cold, cold, so make sure you don’t cheat on the chilling steps. The whole idea is to keep the butter in solid pieces, creating little pockets between the layers of dough as it cooks and making for a light, flaky crust.
The strawberry rhubarb filling hits all the right notes: sweetness from the strawberries, tartness from the rhubarb and an aroma that’s pretty much heaven when it comes out of the oven. Oh, and a sizable scoop of vanilla ice cream on top wouldn’t hurt either. Just sayin’.
Recipe: Sweet Strawberry & Rhubarb Pie
This strawberry rhubarb pie filling hits all the right notes: sweetness from the strawberries, tartness from the rhubarb and an aroma that’s pretty much heaven when it comes out of the oven.
- 2 ½ c all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 c (2 sticks) butter, cut into small cubes then chilled in freezer
- ½ c cold water
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 c fresh rhubarb stalks, sliced crosswise 1/2″ thick
- 3/4 c granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 4 c of hulled and quartered fresh strawberries
- 4 tbsp Cornstarch
- pinch salt
PERFECT PIE CRUST RECIPE:
STRAWBERRY & RHUBARB FILLING RECIPE:
Make the dough:
1. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together to combine.
2. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and toss. Either use a food processor to pulse 10x or mix by hand. To blend by hand, dump the mixture on to a big work surface and using a bench scraper or pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until it is broken into pieces the size of split peas. Final texture should resemble course meal. Scrape the dry mixture back into large bowl.
3. Sprinkle half of the vinegar water over the dry mixture. Toss well with a wooden spoon to dampen. Add the remaining water and continue to toss and mix, by hand, pulling the mixture up from the bottom of bowl. Test the dough by squeezing some of it between your fingers. If it is too try and not packing together, add a tablespoon of cold water over the mixture and toss again. Final texture should feel like wet sand – wet, but not sticking to your hands.
4. Using your hands, pack the dough into two balls. Wrap the dough with plastic and press the dough together and form a disk. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight before rolling.
MAKE THE PIE:
1. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 13″ circle with rolling pin. Gently place the dough over a 10″ pie pan, centered. Tuck the dough into the pan without stretching the dough, and leave the dough hanging about 1.5″ over the edge, evenly all around.
2. To make the top crust, repeat with the other ball of dough until you have a thickness of 1/8″. Using a sharp chefs knife or pastry cutter, cut into 6 strips that are about 1.5″ wide. Chill bottom and top crust in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
3. In a bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Add the remaining ingredients and toss well. Let sit for 10 minutes so that the sugar releases the juices from the fruit.
4. Scrape the filling into the pie shell and smooth the top so it’s even.
5. Arrange the remaining strips of dough into a lattice pattern on top. Trim excess dough.
6. Fold over the bottom crust for neat edges. Crimp the edges of the pie all the way around. Make sure the crimped crust sits directly on top of the edge of the pan otherwise it will fall off while baking. Chill pie in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
ONCE PIE IS READY FOR THE OVEN:
8. Prepare egg wash by cracking on egg into a little bowl and whisking with a fork until it is beaten.
9. Place chilled pie on a baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush egg wash into the top crust only. Do not drag filling juices into crust. Sprinkle a little granulated sugar over the top (optional).
10. Bake on the center rack for 20 minutes or until the edges of crust begin to brown. Then, lower the temperature of oven to 375 and continue baking for another 30 minutes.Rotate the pie 180 degrees and bake for another 15-20 minutes. If the pie starts to look too dark on the edge, lower temperature to 350. The pie is ready when the crust is golden brown and the juices of the filling is bubbling throughout.
*Total baking time is about 1 hr and 10 minutes.
11.Take out of the oven and cool on a wire rack for at least 4 hours before serving.
Note: Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The pie will keep refrigerated for 3-4 days or at room temperature for 2 days.