Phew! I don’t know what it is about the swirling vortex that is that last few weeks of school that sucks even non-existent free-time out the window. But it does. Every. Single. Year.
Who do I talk to about getting 27 hours in the day? Can someone get on that? Because I could really use the extra (caffeinated) few hours to get the “Me” things checked off the list. ‘kay, thanks.
So now that school is out, who wants some pie?
A fat slice of Strawberry-Rhubarb-Apple Pie should do nicely. Consider it my way of apologizing for my sporadic online presence for the past month or so. My gift to you, Friends.
Possibly the hardest things about trying to eat seasonally here Up North is the seemingly endless wait for summer berries. Especially when you have friends in southern locales that have been boasting about their Berry Bounties for over a month now. I’m
insanely jealous happy for them. Really, I am! But c’mon y’all…quit! Your Homage to All Things Berry is torturing those of use that can’t even hope to see a fresh berry for a few more weeks.
Especially when the rhubarb crop is in. I’m mean, seriously? How can any self-respecting Northerner be expected to eat rhubarb without strawberries to accompany it? Puh-lease! Epic fail, Mother Nature.
Food Dork Sidebar: Rhubarb is a sour vegetable that grows in long, red stalks that closely resemble swiss chard. Often it is heavily sweetened and paired with strawberries to be served as dessert. Unlike chard, the leaves must not be eaten, as they are poisonous. Also, rhubarb can have a laxative effect if eaten in too great a quantity, so watch your portions! (That last fact for for the benefit of my boys. Made them laugh.)
Desperate times call for desperate measures: a.k.a. purchasing California strawberries to go with Michigan rhubarb. Please forgive me.
For Strawberry-Rhubarb-Apple Pie, preheat the oven to 350°F and gather: a couple of large stalks of rhubarb, one recipe of No Excuses Pie Dough, fresh strawberries, apples, a lemon, granulated sugar, cornstarch, and instant tapioca.
Rinse, hull, and slice the strawberries into 1/4″ thick slices. Toss the sliced berries into a large bowl.
As with many vegetables, the rhubarb stalk gets more fibrous with size. Since I had two huge-honkin’ stalks (>1-inch around) , I peeled the top and bottom skin so that it wouldn’t add a woody-texture in the pie.
Thinly slice the rhubarb (< 1/4-inch thick) before adding it to the berry bowl.
Now peel, core, and thinly slice the apples. Toss the apple slices in the bowl with the rhubarb and berries.
Strawberry and rhubarb were obviously made for each other, but what’s with the apples? Well, I’ll tell ya! The Baby has recently developed the dexterity to open the refrigerator to fetch his own apples.
At random times. When I’m not looking and he decides he wants a snack.
With this new skill comes the after-effect of him often dropping a few apples on the ground. Apples which he then refuses to eat because they’ve been dropped on the ground.
At random times. When I’m not looking and he decides he wants a snack. Get the picture?
The Baby does, however, have the wherewithal to return the dropped apples to the ‘fridge, which I find bruised and battered at a later date. Good times. Bottom line? I had apples in need of a home, and while they aren’t commonly used in a strawberry-rhubarb pie, they add a nice texture to the filling.
Place the sugar and cornstarch into a small bowl; stir until combined. Stir in a few tablespoons of instant tapioca to the mix, too. Now, with most pies, I rely on flour or cornstarch mixed with the sugar to thicken the filling. I really don’t mind if the filling is a little runny, because I can just spoon that juice over the scoop of ice cream that will no doubt accompany my slice of pie. However, since both the rhubarb and the strawberries have a high water content, cornstarch is not enough, so adding a couple of tablespoons of instant (not large pearl) tapioca is necessary to help thicken the juices.
Since I’m already breaking the rules by adding apples, why not also stir a hefty pinch of cardamom into the sugar mixture? The cardamom gives an unexpected warmth to the pie filling.
Pour the sugar/thickener mixture over the fruit/vegetable mixture.
Squeeze in a little lemon juice to add a bit of acid and color retention.
Give the filling a good stir before leaving it to macerate for 10 minutes.
Roll out the pie dough for the bottom crust. Gently wrap the dough around the rolling pin to transfer it to a 9-inch deep dish pie plate.
Be sure that the pie dough is well-seated in the pie plate with about 1-inch of overhang. Trim the edges to 1-inch if you have more of an overhang.
Spoon the macerated filling into the lined pie plate. Roll out the top crust, and place over the pie filling. Vent the top with slits or cut-outs to allow steam to escape while baking. Crimp to seal the edges, as desired.
Brush the top with an egg wash. If you need a little extra sparkle in your life, sprinkle a little raw or granulated sugar over the egg wash.
Need I remind you that I live with five males? I take every opportunity to add a little sparkle. Pie or otherwise.
Bake in a preheated 350° F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and the crust is golden. As with any pie, check it midway through the baking process, and cover edges with aluminum foil if they are browning too quickly.
If you’re like me and have been impatiently dreaming of summer berries, you’ll serve up a slice of pie warm from the oven–to heck with runny filling! I’m not gonna lie–I may have groaned a bit at my first bite of summer pie. The burst of sweet strawberries mixes so well with the tang of rhubarb–all of which is hitching a ride on the sweet texture of the apple–it’s absolutely divine! Totally worth the runny filling.
But Responsible Me should tell you that for best results, allow the pie to cool completely and then refrigerate overnight to allow for optimal thickening of the juices.
Makes One 9-inch Deep Dish Pie
1 Recipe No Excuses Pie Dough (recipe follows)
For the Filling:
3 ½ C. strawberries, hulled and sliced
4 C. rhubarb, thinly sliced
1 C. apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
¾ C. granulated sugar
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs. instant tapioca
2 Tbs. cornstarch
Pinch of cardamom
1 Tbs. water
Raw sugar for sprinkling, optional
- Prepare No Excuses Pie Dough according to directions and chill in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Rinse, hull, and slice strawberries. Place into a large bowl.
- Peel and core apple before thinly slicing. Place apples into the bowl of strawberries.
- Remove leaf and root ends of the rhubarb. If the rhubarb stalks are ¾ inch in diameter or greater, peel the top and bottom sides to remove some of the skin, as it grows more fibrous the larger it gets. Thinly slice the rhubarb and add to the bowl with the other fruit.
- Sprinkle instant tapioca, granulated sugar, cornstarch, and cardamom over the fruit. Squeeze the fresh lemon juice over all, and stir well to combine.
- Allow the fruit to macerate for 10 minutes while tending to the pie dough.
- Roll out pie dough to fit a 9-inch deep dish pie plate with 1–inch of overhang.
- Use a rolling pin to roll the pastry around and gently transfer and unroll it over the pie plate to line the bottom, ensuring that the pastry is well seated on the bottom.
- Roll out top crust to a 10-inch disk to have at-the-ready.
- Spoon fruit mixture into the pastry.
- Roll the top crust dough around a rolling pin to transfer to the pie, and then unroll it to cover the filling.
- Trim overhangs to 1-inch before folding both edges under. Crimp the edges to seal, adding the decorative border of your choice.
- Whisk the egg and water together and brush over top crust. Sprinkle with raw (or granulated) sugar to add a little sparkle, if desired.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden. Cover edges lightly with aluminum foil if they begin to brown too quickly.
- Allow pie to cool and refrigerate overnight before serving.
No Excuses Pie Dough
Enough for a generous 9-inch Double Crust Pie, a 10-inch double crust pie or two 10-inch tarts
1 ½ C. all-purpose flour
¾ C. (12 Tbs.) unsalted butter
½ tsp. salt
4 Tbs. iced water
- Cut butter into ½ inch cubes and freeze for at least one hour.
- Place the flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 2-3 times (1 second pulses) to mix.
- Add the frozen butter cubes to the food processor bowl, and toss with a fork to coat. Continue pulsing to work the butter into the flour mixture, until the butter is the size of small peas. (‘About 8-12 pulses, depending on the size of the motor on the food processor.)
- While the food processor is running on high, slowly add the iced water through the feed tube, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together, and a stiff dough forms. (This process usually takes 15-20 seconds total in my ‘80’s era food processor.)
- Dump dough onto a clean, floured surface. Divide dough in half. Lightly shape each half into a ball, and then pat the ball into a ½ inch tall disk. Wrap the disks snugly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes before rolling out.
- Once dough has chilled, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface and use in your favorite pie recipe. OR keep the dough disks tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, and then place them in a freezer bag. Dough can be frozen for up to a month. Just let dough thaw overnight in the refrigerator before rolling out.