A little tart, a little sweet!
My mother loved rhubarb, not as a foil to sweet, but straight up in its own right. Her favorite way to eat it was to pick it, add some salt, and eat it raw! I never thought this was right, but one day I actually tried it and it was not bad at all! Rhubarb has a distinctive taste and aroma, like nothing else, and the salt brings out an interesting side to it. If you like salty and sour, give it a try.
There is this wonderful moment in the late spring when the strawberries start to sing and the rhubarb makes a grand appearance! The tart/sour flavor of this “vegetable” is a perfect companion to the sweet local strawberries. I often make a batch of strawberry/rhubarb crisp to share, as well as a batch of rhubarb cake. However, strawberry rhubarb pie is one of my grandson’s favorite desserts, so I love to make this for him as a treat. His eyes pop, and it always brings a smile.
Just a little spice
The cinnamon is my addition to the pie, it adds a lovely warm note. My mother used either tapioca or cornstarch when she made a fruit pie, but I have better luck with it setting by using a smaller amount of each. Let cool for an hour before you cut into it, restrain yourself! It will be hard, but worth it.
Use the best local ripe red strawberries strawberries you can find, the kind that are red all the way through and with a flavor that is as wonderful as the aroma. I use organic ingredients completely in the recipe as in most of my cooking, but it is really important for items such as sugar.
Make a double batch of filling and freeze half for later in the year. At Thanksgiving, this will bring a smile to your family members.
3 cups sliced strawberries
3 cups diced rhubarb
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. strawberry jam
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
2 tbsp. tapioca
¼ cup cornstarch
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
Egg wash made of one egg and a teaspoon of water
One, two-crust pastry recipe
Make your pie dough and set in the refrigerator to rest for a half hour. You can use prepared dough if you like, but homemade is always better! I use my basic piecrust recipe and add two tablespoons of sugar.
Slice the strawberries and chop the rhubarb. Add the lemon juice, jam, sugars, tapioca, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt. Mix well and let sit for a half hour.
Take a break
Put on some music, make a phone call to a friend, write a letter, do your nails.
Preheat your oven to 425 and place a baking sheet in to heat as well. Placing your pie on the heated sheet will help to keep it from sogging.
Roll out one half of your dough and line a pie plate. Roll out the second half of the dough, and cut into 1 1/2 –inch strips.
Mound the filling in the pastry-lined pan and add the strips, weaving the alternately. You can also just roll out and top with the second half of the dough, but the lattice is pretty with all the ruby-colored juice peeking out.
Make it pretty
Beat the egg and water and brush on the lattice. Sprinkle with turbinado or other coarse finishing sugar. Place on the heated baking sheet and cook for five minutes. Turn down the heat to 350 and cook for about an hour, until the rhubarb is cooked through, the pie is nicely browned, and the house smells like spring.
Let it cool for an hour, then indulge.
And, if that is not enough, try these: