Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Steve's Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Pie is Steve's thing. When I first met him in college he was baking homemade apple pies in the tiny dorm kitchen and selling slices to his college buddies. I on the other hand, have never been gifted in the pie area. They aren't bad, just....meh. So when it comes to pie I leave it all up to Steve. (Which is why there are man hands in the photos....just so you know. Those aren't mine.)

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is definitely one one of our favorites. (Only rivaled by ever classic apple pie.) Steve has been tinkering with the recipe for this pie for a while....and we finally found one that we think is a winner! So without further ado......Steve will take you through the rest of this recipe!

~Megan

Here's all the ingredients you'll need:

For the crust: flour, salt, shortening, and cold water. For the filling: rhubarb, strawberries, lemon, almond extract, sugar, tapioca, flour, salt nutmeg and butter. Get your oven preheated to 400 degrees while you're mixing everything together.


The first thing to do is dice 3 cups of rhubarb, 2 cups of fresh strawberries and put them in a large bowl. It's always better if you can get your hands on some market-fresh rhubarb, but frozen isn't horrible by any means. If you do have to go the frozen route... just make sure to thaw and drain the goods before moving on.


Squeeze in 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1/8 teaspoon almond extract and stir together. The almond extract adds a great hint of flavor to the berries, just be really careful not to put too much in... it will taste strange, I know from experience. Pretty much an almond pie that looks like berries.



In a separate bowl, mix together 1-1/3* cups sugar, 3* tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca, 1* tablespoon all-purpose flour, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Now as a note (*) I always measure these select ingredients using the "slightly heaping" method. Since this pie has more juicy ingredients than typical recipes, I tend to use more sweetening and thickening components to make sure the pie sets and doesn't flop apart. Or "ooze" apart I guess would be the better term...



Add the dry ingredients to the fruit mixture and toss it around gently. Now let it sit for about 10-15 minutes... Or hopefully about as long as it takes you to make the crust.



Over the years, I've learned that pastry and pie crust can be the simplest yet most frustrating thing to make when baking. Theres only like three ingredients, well four technically, but it's sooo easy to screw it up. Too much shortening the dough is like butter, too much flour it crumbles apart, and with too much water it's a sticky gooey blob. So this is one time when I really make sure to measure more exactly.
In a medium bowl add 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 3/4 teaspoons salt, mix together. Now cut in 2/3 cup of shortening with a fork, or preferably a pastry cutter, until it looks like this:



The official term is "coarse crumbs" which can be interpreted to any extent if you ask me. I would say that the mixture should look more "nubbly."
So we somehow misplaced the pastry cutter in our recent move and had to go the old fashioned way of using a fork. It gets the job done, but if you plan on doing some extreme pastry making in the future, invest in the cutter. Time saver, it is.



The next thing to do is add least 6 tablespoons of cold water. Other recipes usually have you use a fork to mix the water in and then move to using your hands. I just use the hands, forks are for wimps... and an extra unnecessary step.
Work the water into the dough by kneading it gently in a circular motion. Shortly the pieces will come together into a flaky orb. At this point, if the dough isn't quite holding together, add a 7th tablespoon of cold water bits at a time until the ball of dough holds but won't break apart too easily.


Since we're making two crusts for this pie, I like to split the ball unevenly to begin with and start with the bigger half for the bottom crust. I don't enjoy having a crust that's too small and won't fit the pie tin on the first try. And besides, with the extra dough from the first rolled-out crust, I can add it to the second one to make sure there's enough for that crust too!


Make sure you have a large area to make your designated rolling surface. Of course, sprinkle it with flour first, then roll.


When rolling the dough, always start from the center and roll outwards, moving in a circle so that it stays reasonably round. It's pretty hard to make it perfect so don't worry if there are cracks, just fill 'em in with extra dough. If the crust starts sticking to the pin, sprinkle some flour over the dough, problem solved.


Once the circle of dough is about 2 inches wider than the top of the pie tin you're using (hopefully it's a 9 inch pan) you can put the bottom crust in. There's no exact way to do this part, but I just fold the crust into quarters and flop it in the tin. Another way to transfer the crust is to roll it gently on to the rolling pin like a scroll, and then unroll it into the tin.


Lightly press the crust into the bottom edge of the tin and make sure there's no air bubbles. Then trim the edge of the crust with something sharp.


Pour the fruit mixture into the bottom crust and make sure to get all the juicy goodness.


Now roll out the top crust with the remaining dough lump. Don't forget to add the scraps from the first one you rolled out.


I like to add 1 Tablespoon of butter cubes for flavor before putting the top crust on. Just fold the crust like the first one and place it over the entire pie.


At this point, dip your finger in water and rub it along the rim of the bottom crust between the two layers. This helps to form a seal and stop the two crusts from breaking apart during the baking.


Using your thumb and forefinger, crimp the edges of the crust. Cut some slits in the top crust to let steam out when baking. Then stick it in the oven for 15 minutes. After that, turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes until bubbly and golden.


Mmm.....amazingness.


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4 comments:

Roia said...

I think I am drooling in an improper fashion on my computer keyboard. Yum!

Chasin' Cakes said...

Why thank you!! I will take the drooling as an immense compliment!! Thanks for checking us out!

Ruan Carlos said...

hum..........................

kt said...

Just found you via a Tweet from Mr. JQuery himself...

Killer pics and details! I've sent the link to my wife and will hope so takes the hint! :-)