Sunday, June 23, 2013

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Oh you lovely little pie! This was my husband's choice for Father's Day dessert. Rhubarb was a totally new experience for me. I mean is it a vegetable or is it a fruit? I actually read about it on Wikipedia because I didn't know. Apparently it's a vegetable, but is regulated as a fruit in the US. I needed this to be a really good pie, so I checked out "Bubby's Homemade Pies" from the library again to increase my pie knowledge. I always use the crust recipe from this book. You can find that here. I read about fruit pie thickening agents, flour vs cornstarch vs tapioca. Flour is typically used for firm fruits, and tapioca for berries, so I went with a recipe that uses a little of both. This recipe is a prize winning rhubarb pie, Taste of Home recipe that I adapted for strawberry rhubarb. I also learned some things about should look for firm slender stalks, and don't eat the leaves because they are toxic. You can read a little more about what Bubby says about cooling, storing, and reheating below.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
adapted from Taste of Home
Double pie crust
2 cups sliced fresh rhubarb
4 cups boiling water
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 TBSPs flour
1 tsp quick cooking tapioca
2 cups sliced strawberries
1 egg
2 tsps cold water
1 TBSP butter

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 9in. pie pan with bottom crust.
2. Place rhubarb in a colander; pour boiling water over rhubarb and allow to drain. In a large bowl mix sugar, flour, and tapioca. Add drained rhubarb and strawberries; toss to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes. In a small bowl whisk together egg and cold water; stir into fruit mixture.
3. Pour filling into crust; dot with butter. Place top crust over filling. Trim, seal, and flute edges. Cut slits in top. Bake 15 minutes.
4. Reduce oven to 350 degrees. Bake 40-50 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack.

Note: If using frozen rhubarb, measure rhubarb while frozen, then thaw. Drain in a colander, but do not press liquid out.

For Rhubarb Pie, use 4 cups of rhubarb, and increase sugar to 1 1/2 cups.

Cooling Fruit Pies
Allow time for your fruit pie to cool down thoroughly before serving. If you're impatient and cut into it straight from the oven, or before it is properly cooled, the hot filling juices - no matter how perfectly thickened - will gush to form a lake where a slice has been prematurely removed. Pie fillings thicken as they cool. Wait at least a couple of hours - preferably 3 or 4 before cutting into a pie. Early morning, when it's cool and quiet is a good time to make pies; they'll have ample time to set up by dinner.

Storing Fruit Pies
Refrigeration makes pastry crust soggy and should be avoided. In general, only refrigerate a pie if it contains animal products, excepting all fats and butter (my pie has an egg, but I left it on the counter anyway and I'm not dead). Double crust pastry needs to breathe in order to remain light and flaky. Double crust fruit pies should be stored uncovered at room temperature (I covered my leftover pie lightly with plastic wrap after eating).

Reheating Fruit Pies
To rejuvenate pies when refrigeration or humid weather or time has dampened your crust's crisp: Heat the pie at 350 degrees (5-7 min for a slice, 20 or so minutes for a whole pie). A microwave does more damage than good in reheating a pie. It transmogrifies the texture of the crust in ways that make it seem forth steamed and tough.

Bubby's Homemade Pies by Ron Silver and Jen Bervin
I absolutely love this book. I don't buy many cookbooks because of the wealth of recipes on the internet, but if this weren't available at my library, I'd buy it. It has so many yummy sounding recipes and I've loved all the ones I have tried. I also has tons of useful information.

Fruit ready to go.

 Waiting 15 minutes.

Here is what the tapioca looks like. I found it in the baking aisle next to the pudding mixes.

 Ready for the top crust.

 All sealed and fluted with a lovely slit pattern. :)


Time for a piece!