Thursday, August 2, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I am very happy with my rhubarb plants this year.  So far, I managed to freeze a bunch of rhubarb for later use, where I normally make strawberry rhubarb coffee cake from an old 1970's recipe book.  My latest challenge is making strawberry rhubarb pie.

Yesterday, I harvested about 3lbs, which means I have plenty of rhubarb to play around with!  My last strawberry rhubarb pie was a tasty hot mess. It looked gorgeous when I pulled it out of the oven, but was very watery when I tried to serve it.  My children and husband were so gracious and kind. They declared it to be the tastiest strawberry rhubarb pie they had. 

I found a simple recipe from Serious Eats with a trick to keep the pie from being too watery.  It says to add 1/4 cup of sugar to the cut rhubarb and strawberries, let it sit for an hour or so and then drain the liquid off.  (I saved the drained strawberry rhubarb juices and added some club soda for a neat refreshing drink!).

I used 3 cups of strawberries and 3 cups of rhubarb for my pie and drained a little over 1/4 cup of excess liquid!

Next, the recipe uses tapioca or cornstarch but I wanted to try instant tapioca.  I bought a few scoops of it from the bulk food section of my supermarket.  The brand name is Minute Tapioca, but for over $3/box, I thought I'll try out a few scoops for pennies instead.  

I wasn't sure if the instant tapioca would dissolve properly in the pie, so let it sit with the fruit and sugar for 10-15 minutes to soften the tapioca grains. 

hehehe, I like making "rustic" imperfect pies with thick crusts.  It's hard to concentrate when the kids were hovering around me.  I put it in the oven at 400F for 15 minutes, then turned it down to 350F for another 30-40 minutes. 

Boy, was it a juicy pie!  Not very pretty but it only means that I need more practice!  I didn't put a pan underneath to catch the drips, so some of the juices bubbled over and made a little mess on the bottom of my oven.  The instant tapioca thickened the juices nicely.  The hardest part was waiting for the pie to cool and for the filling to set nicely.  I made this at lunchtime so it would be ready to serve after dinner.

It was not runny at all!  Success!!!  The pie was very tasty but an extra tablespoon or 2 of sugar would be good, since some sugar was lost in the drained liquid.  If the rhubarb did not exude so much liquid, then less sugar would be lost. My kiddies enjoyed this so much they wanted pie for breakfast!  I think this method would also work for frozen strawberries and frozen rhubarb.  Still work in progress but at least it is a yummy adventure!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

One recipe of your favourite double-crust pie dough 
3 cups sliced strawberries
3 cups rhubarb, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup sugar (or less/more to taste), divided (If more than 1/4 cup juices drained, add extra 2 Tbsp with the cornstarch)
4 tablespoons cornstarch or tapioca starch (I used instant tapioca)
egg wash (1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tsp water)
turbinado sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 400° F. Core and quarter strawberries. Chop rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces.

Toss strawberries and rhubarb together with 1/4 cup of sugar, and allow them to macerate (the sugar will begin to break down the fruit, releasing some liquid) for 20 minutes.

Drain off excess liquid from the strawberry mixture using a china cap or strainer.

Whisk together remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch or tapioca starch. Add the sugar mixture to fruit mixture. Stir well until all of the starch has dissolved.  Pour filling into prepared, chilled dough shaped in a pie plate.

Place the chilled, rolled top crust over the filling. Trim the edges and crimp as desired. Cut slits or patterns in the top with a sharp pairing knife. Chill for 20 minutes before baking.

Apply egg wash to the top of the pie and, if you'd like, sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

Bake for 15 minutes at 400F, then reduce temperature to 350F and bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes.  Bake until the top is a deep golden brown and filling is bubbling in the center.  Allow pie to cool for several hours before serving.

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