Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

August 12, 2009

This particular pie recipe always makes me think of some dear colleagues who I used to work with at my former architecture office. For about a year a few of us developed a tradition of having pie and ice cream on Friday afternoons (or anytime the mood hit us, for that matter). It became somewhat of an addiction. Now we are all scattered around the country… I don’t think any of us still work at the office, but I can’t make or eat strawberry rhubarb pie without thinking fondly of these lovely people. (Yes, Second Floor, you know who you are!)

pie adjusted

Early in the summer I bought several long stalks of rhubarb at the farmers market which I cut up and froze in anticipation of strawberry season. August in my view is pie season— tucked into flaky buttery pastry, fresh summer fruit barely needs sugar, just a long spell in a hot oven. Last weekend I made a strawberry rhubarb pie to take to a dinner party. Strawberry rhubarb pie is probably the only time that I indulge in making a lattice top pie—it can’t be helped, the bubbling juicy filling simply must be exposed.

pie pre lattice
I’d spent the whole morning taking my niece to have her hair braided (she is a handful!) and I was a bit tired when I started making the crust. The lattice making took longer than usual—it is essentially braiding or basket weaving isn’t it, and I kept forgetting which piece needed to go on top of the other, but it turned out alright.

pie with lattice

In my distracted state I also put the oven on 475 instead of 425 for the first half hour of the baking so the crust was rather more brown than anticipated. But the pie tasted fine, served with ice cream from, a local ice cream shop in Park Slope. And following on the heels of a delectable meal of Vittesh and Amrita’s coconut goat curry, masala roasted potatoes and lime carrot salad, it was the perfect way to end a delightful evening.

pie pretty

p.s. Thank goodness L was also on hand to take this gorgeous photo.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (adapted from The Joy of Cooking)
Crust:
2 heaping cups of flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 sticks of cold butter cut into small pieces
1/3 cup plus 3or 4 tablespoons ice water
Whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar. Add in the cold butter pieces and work into the flour (quickly) with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. You’ll have bits of butter throughout, don’t worry about working them in. Work quickly so the butter doesn’t melt or the pastry become greasy. Add in 1/3 cup of ice water and toss with a fork. Mixture should start to clump together, add in the 3 to 4 tablespoons of ice water just until you can form a ball. Divide dough in half—roll out one round and fit into a 9” pan leaving a 1 inch overhang. Refrigerate the pan and the second ball of dough until you are ready for the filling.
Preheat oven to 425.

Filling:
2 ½ cups fresh strawberries hulled and sliced in half
3 cups rhubarb chopped into ½ inch pieces (if frozen, use straight from the freezer)
1 cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Mix all the filling ingredients together and let stand 10 to 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
Roll out the second ball of dough into a rectangle. Cut ½ inch strips of dough lengthwise.
Pour the filling into pie crust and dot with 2 tablespoons of butter cut into small pieces. Brush edges of bottom crust with cold water and make the lattice top. (A bit tricky to explain, but see the picture I suppose.) Fold over the overhang of bottom crust and crimp edges with fingers. Brush top of crust with cream or milk and sprinkle a tsp of sugar over the top.
Bake pie in 425 oven for half an hour. Slide a pan in under the shelf below and reduce heat to 350. Bake another 30 minutes until juice bubble over and crust is brown. Remove and cool on rack. Serve warm or at room temperature—pie is best eaten on the same or next day with vanilla ice cream.

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