You Will Rue The Day That You Don’t Make This Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

June 14, 2006 | By | COMMENTS

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Click here find yourself transported to the best recipe I’ve yet done with strawberries and rhubarb either in combination or individually. This recipe is so dyn-o-mite that like a Mark Twain character I couldn’t resist scooping up the chunk that you see missing and shoveling it into my mouth with reckless abandon only thirty minutes out of the oven. That’s a quarter of a pie that I ate that night: actions speak louder than words. Meaning: the pie was delicious and I’m a fatty.

But, using words, I’d like to describe the wonder of the strawberry rhubarb combination. Could a better pie pair exist in heaven? I think not. These two contrasting specimens complement each other so well when baked together that it makes you believe that there’s order in the universe, that there must be some guiding force who planted strawberries in one patch, rhubarb in another and gleefully put his or her hands behind his or her back and hoped that humans would figure it out. I’ve figured it out all right–the only challenge that remains is making pie crust without having a nervous break-down.

I wish beforehand I would have watched the classic Amateur Gourmet video Katy Bakes A Nectarine Pie. In it my friend Katy–a master pie maker–discloses her trade secrets to the naive pie-ruining mo-fo holding the camera. “You use ice water so it doesn’t melt the fat,” she says. “You try to get away with using as little as possible.”

I used as little ice water as possible in the recipe’s food processor method (next time, I’ll use Katy’s electric mixer method) and when I dumped out the moistened clumpy dough on to my wooden board crumbs went everywhere. I grouped them up and tried to make a proper mound to cut in half but it took a while. This was the step I found most painful.

When I did finally make two balls, I flattened them and wrapped them in plastic, placed them in the fridge and set to preparing the strawberry and rhubarb.

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The strawberries, basically, get cut in half and the rhubarb gets cut like you see in the bowl. Here’s a little secret: I didn’t wash the strawberries based on the Barefoot Contessa’s advice not to wash raspberries because they pick up water. Here, I figured that the heat of the oven would kill whatever germs existed and after sampling several straight out of the box (I got them from the strawberry saturated farmer’s market) I determined that there was no dirt or grit to wash off.

Now it was time to roll out the pie dough and this is what makes me a nervous wreck. I smacked the chilled dough with a rolling pin so it would flatten on impact—I put plastic wrap on both sides in a method you see Katy doing on the video. I proceeded to roll and cracks formed and I freaked out but I overlapped a bit and somehow got it to stretch this far:

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my poor pie-making past it’s that it’s better to preserve the first roll-out no matter how much it tears than to regroup the dough and try to roll it out again. That just ruins it.

And so I lifted my somewhat decent dough into the glass pie dish:

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I filled it with the luscious strawberry rhubarb combination (that’d been mixed with sugar and cinnamon)—and how can you look at this picture and not swoon over this pie?

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Then I attempted the recipe’s fancy lattice criss-cross with the remaining half of dough. The recipe calls for 14 strips, I made about 8 and it was fine. I brushed them with the egg wash mixture:

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Into the hot oven it went, the temperature lowers after 30 minutes I think, and then the house begins to fill with the most intoxicating perfume. That phrase, actually, “intoxicating perfume” describes what I liked best about the pie. Its aroma: sweet, mysterious, almost feminine. I sound like Liz Taylor in a White Diamonds commercial.

The pie came out:

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It had bubbled over the edges a bit, but who cares? I waited as long as I could and then I cut myself a messy piece:

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Sheer heaven. The pie crust was perfect and the filling was divine. In fact, I felt good because when I lived with Lauren I once made some kind of strawberry rhubarb cobbler where the rhubarb hardly got cooked. Now I knew what she was talking about when she said: “The rhubarb’s supposed to break down–it’s not supposed to be crunchy.”

Here the texture was definitive and the chorus in my head sang its praise. Then Craig came over and sang his praise. This is a praise-worthy pie. Go forth and make it.

Categories: Cobblers/Pies/Tarts, Desserts, Recipes

  • http://www.2tastyladies.com Martha

    What a lovely pie! The red color is just beautiful. I could no doubt ruin a brace of new white shirts with it.

    And actually, I think it’s okay to wash strawberries. You don’t wash raspberries because they’re hollow in the middle and open on top. Once water gets in there, tension keeps it in place. Plus raspberries don’t grow on the ground, so other than potential pesticides, they aren’t very dirty.

    As long as you wash the strawberries before you hull them (exposing the interior) it should be fine.

  • Patti

    Interesting. I could have SWORN I watched Ina Garten wash raspberries last week (?). Clearly I was dreaming.

    I loves the rhubarb. Looks delish!

  • Lauren

    Hooray for you! THAT pie looks soooo much better than the one you made me a couple of years ago. I only wish I were around to try it. Bravo!

  • Mel

    Mmmm… you’re right, I couldn’t help but swoon!

    I was going to make a strawberry-rhubarb pie last week, and then my stupid fridge (with its random, roving freezing zones) froze and then thawed my beautiful rhubarb into a brown squishy mess overnight.

    But this entry makes me want to run out to Kroger, right now, and get another stalk.

  • Elyne

    I have a fail safe pie crust recipe involving butter and a little refrigeration instead of shortening/lard. Would you like it?

    The pie looks delicious, by the way!

  • kat

    actually, if you are feeling freaky about the pie crust, you should err a little on the wetter side than the drier (and it is easier to roll out after the chilling-too wet can be counteracted by liberal amounts of flour when you are rolling it-it won’t hurt it)…the important part is not to play with it too much (ie overwork it). i was a pastry chef; that’s my story and i am sticking too it.

  • B

    I’ve always made my pie crusts just like my grandmother did and I’ve never had any problems (not bragging, it’s all my grandmother). The three main rules are: 1. Use ice cold water, 2. Never touch the dough with your fingers at all, 3. Roll it out between two sheets of wax paper

  • ann peeples

    I will definately try this recipe as I am a rhubarb freak.Just to let you know, though, the Down Home Soul Food blog has an admirable strawberry-rhubarb pie recipe that I made last week and it was fantastic, also.

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  • michelle

    Martha, a brace of white shirts?? Ms. Stewart, I presume???

  • http://www.typepad.com/t/comments katie Morgan

    Was the recipe from epicurious? Oh well, I’m trying that one tomorrow and I hope it looks as good as yours.

  • http://www.2tastyladies.com Martha

    Julie, alas no, my actual name is actually Martha. I work in a kitchen doodads store. When people read my nametag, they often think it’s a joke. I’m just a girl named Martha with a dirty history of ruining crisp new button-downs.

  • http://mylifeasareluctanthousewife.blogspot.com/ Gabriella

    My mom made strawberry rhubarb pie every summer. The best!

  • Kathy

    Martha Stewart has a great, no fail, pie crust recipe. It’s a butter pie crust you can make with a food processor. I love it and I’m not a good pie crust maker…didn’t get that “gene” from my mom who CAN make the best and flakiest pie crusts…she adds lemon-lime type soda pop instead of the water! Anyway, try the french style butter pie crust that ol’ Marty Stewart makes! you’ll love it.

    Kathy

  • Melissa

    Pie crust has been my nemesis for years now, but seeing the pictures of your not-perfect, but utterly fantastic looking pie, gave me the confidence to attempt this pie for a bunch of friends tonight. It’s in the oven as I type this, and I have very high hopes that it tastes as good as it looks. :) thank you for the inspiration.