Sunday, June 7, 2009

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

It's strawberry season. And I've been eating them regularly. But I wanted to do something more than just eat them raw. Jam came to mind. But I hardly eat toast. Ice cream? I don't have an ice cream maker. And then, the opportunity to bring something for a birthday party came up. Oh yes, pie! Now, this is no birthday cake. I know. But someone else was already making a chocolate cake. And this someone was Ms. Pastry Chef. Oh no, I will not and cannot compete with her! So pie it is. Besides, pies are best done with seasonal fruits. It makes a huge difference. Oh and as predicted, I paired the strawberries with rhubarb. Another seasonal vegetable right now. I grabbed the recipe from epicurious. It originally appeared in Bon Appetit in 1997. This is not an easy recipe for beginners. But I'm a seasoned baker now. I've made pies before. Just not strawberry rhubarb. I'm mostly an apple pie person. But after this experience. I just might have to go through a seasonal fruit pie phase. I'm hooked! The crust was similar to any pie crust I've made. But this specific one called for both butter and vegetable shortening. It made it extra flaky. The lattice work wasn't too hard. I like to make the filling first so that the fruit can maserate a little bit. It helps the flavors intensify. I also added 1/2 tsp of cardamon replacing 1/2 tsp of the cinnamon. A few things I noticed that the recipe didn't mention. It's wise to cover the baking sheet with foil. The filling tends to run over. Also, my crust always browns too quickly. It can burn before the filling is finished. One trick is to cover the crust with foil halfway through the process. Also, remove the foil 5-10 minutes before the end of the cooking time. Sometimes, the foil can start steaming the crust. So you want it to crisp up again towards the end. I'm not a huge pie eater. So I couldn't really decide if this was good or bad for strawberry rhubarb. But I had a couple of "experts" tell me that it was really good. I'm glad. And thus starts my pie baking craze. Lattice-Topped Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Bon App├ętit | April 1997 Courtesy of Yield: Serves 8 Ingredients For crust 3 cups all purpose flour 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar 3/4 teaspoon salt 2/3 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces 10 tablespoons (about) ice water For filling 3 1/2 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices trimmed rhubarb (1 1/2 pounds untrimmed) 1 16-ounce container strawberries, hulled, halved (about 3 1/2 cups) 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar 1/2 cup sugar 1/4 cup cornstarch 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 large egg yolk beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water (for glaze) Preparation Make crust: Combine flour, sugar and salt in processor. Using on/off turns, cut in shortening and butter until coarse meal forms. Blend in enough ice water 2 tablespoons at a time to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; cut in half. Flatten each half into disk. Wrap separately in plastic; refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling.) Make filling: Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine first 7 ingredients in large bowl. Toss gently to blend. Roll out 1 dough disk on floured work surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter flass pie dish. Trim excess dough, leaving 3/4-inch overhang. Roll out second dough disk on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Cut into fourteen 1/2-inch-wide strips. Spoon filling into crust. Arrange 7 dough strips atop filling, spacing evenly. Form lattice by placing remaining dough strips in opposite direction atop filling. Trim ends of dough strips even with overhang of bottom crust. Fold strip ends and overhang under, pressing to seal. Crimp edges decoratively. Brush glaze over crust. transfer pie to baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake pie until golden and filling thickens, about 1 hour 25 minutes. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely.

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