Ettie’s Eats: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Fill up on weekly kitchen experiments, recipes and local cooking tips from our assistant editor, Ettie Berneking.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.

For me, summer means one thing: pie. Lots and lots of fruit pies. Growing up, my house was filled with an endless supply of blueberry pies, peach pies, cobblers and of course, strawberry rhubarb pie. Since my bizzaro brother hates cooked fruit (he won’t even eat jam), I was always guaranteed plenty of fruit-filled delights. Out of all the pies, my mom’s strawberry rhubarb is by far my favorite. It’s slightly tangy but still sweet thanks to plump strawberries and an ample supply of sugar, and the juicy filling that always manages to spill out is the perfect condiment for those last bites of flaky crust.

This summer, my mom’s rhubarb plant finally produced fruit, so she sent me home with an armful of bright red stalks and strict instructions to chop off the leaves. I had no idea rhubarb leaves are poisonous. I was already drooling over the thought of enjoying the summer’s first slice of strawberry rhubarb pie, but if you haven’t noticed, I have a tendency to botch even the simplest attempts at baked goods. With that in mind, I chopped up my crop of rhubarb and stored it in the freezer until my mom visited for her birthday this last weekend.

We dragged out the bag of frozen rhubarb, sliced a cup of strawberries and set to work. The pie crust recipe is the one my great grandmother Marilyn used to make, and the filling is a combination of my mom’s recipe and a few steals here and there from other online recipes. The trick, I learned, to excellent pie crust is two-fold: First, vinegar gives pie crust that melt-in-your-mouth flakiness. Second, chilling the dough in the fridge allows the gluten in the dough to set and makes it easier to work with. And to firm up the filling you can add an extra tablespoon of tapioca. It’s amazing how much you can learn from one baking session with your mom.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

 

Pie Crust Ingredients:

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening
1 egg
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
6 tablespoons ice water

 

Filling Ingredients:

3 cups rhubarb cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup strawberries, sliced in half
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
¼ teaspoon salt
Zest of 1 orange

 

To Prepare Pie Crust:

1. Combine flour and salt.
2. Cut in the shortening until the dough looks crumbly.
3. Add the eggs and liquid, and stir until combined.
4. Form a ball with the dough, and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
5. Cut the ball of dough in half. Using a rolling pin, roll each half into a 19-inch piecrust.
6. Gently pat one of the rolled-out crusts into the pie pan. Set the other crust aside to use later as the top crust.

 

To Prepare the Pie:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. In a large bowl, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, tapioca, salt and orange zest. Stir until well blended.
3. Pour the filling into the pie pan, and cover with the top crust.
4. Using a knife, cut an X in the top crust so steam can escape.
5. Bake the pie at 400°F for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F, and bake for another 30-35 minutes.
6. Cool on a rack. Be sure the pie has come down to room temperature before serving, or the filling will spill out.

 

Makes one 9-inch pie.

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