The strawberries this June were the so amazing that we purchased 5 lbs at a time. We ate them plain, we macerated them in sugar and Cointreau, we had shortcakes. But the boldest and most important addition to the fabulousness of strawberries that I have discovered is RHUBARB. Having never purchased or worked with it, I had only my southern roots to rely on and they told me that strawberry and rhubarb are just meant to be. Now that rhubarb and I are friends, I think the dear old sweet strawberry is much improved by the tart-sweet complement of rhubarb. If you haven’t tried it, you should and in equal parts to your strawberries.
I have a long-standing pie crust deficiency in my repertoire. But, being the aspiring hobbyist of a baker I am realizing that practice really does make perfect when it comes to pie. I turned to two of my favorite sources to teach me the ambitious lattice top technique I used: joyofbaking.com and of course, Cooks Illustrated Best Recipe’s Summer Fruit Pie. I’m still undecided on two things: tapioca vs. cornstarch as a thickener and water vs. vodka in the pie crust. I made two pies in a row (my usual method for testing a recipe before I post to decide these matters) but I will have to experiment further to get a definitive answer. I will say that it’s best to grind up the tapioca so you don’t get the weird tapioca bubbles because you can see them a lot more in this red pie as opposed to the opaque darkness of the blueberry pie in a previous post.
Use any homemade crust recipe you like, but I prefer a mix of butter and shortening for flavor. (Shhhh. Don’t tell my mothers-in-law who stand behind their all-shortening recipe that goes back a few generations!)
- day before, pie crust
- morning, roll bottom crust, slice up strawberries and rhubarb
- naptime, complete baking
- ***cool pie for at least 3 hours before slicing or all the filling will run out***
modified from Cooks Illustrated
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1/2cup chilled solid vegetable shortening , cut into 4 pieces
- 6-8 tbsp ice water
- Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
- Sprinkle water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
Strawberry Rhubarb Filling
- 3 cups hulled and sliced strawberries (1 inch)
- 3 cups rhubarb cut into 1 inch pieces
- 3/4 to 1 Cup sugar
- 3-5 tbsp tapioca
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1-2 tbsp butter
Mix all ingredients together and let macerate 15 minutes. Pour filling and juices into prepared pie shell and chill while you roll out and cut the lattice. Dot the filling with 1-2 tbsp butter. Assemble lattice top. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar crystals.
Once pie is assembled, lower oven racks lowest position and preheat to 400°. Place a baking sheet on the rack below the one the pie will be on and bake at 400 for 1 hour- 1.5 hours. Cover crust with foil if it gets too dark before the filling starts bubbling.