Tuesday, July 7, 2009


So remember that pie I've been thinking about for weeks? I actually did make one this weekend. I went to the local strawberry farm on Saturday afternoon and bought a couple of quarts of Ontario strawberries and a few stalks of bright and vibrant rhubarb for my first ever strawberry rhubarb pie. I really enjoy rhubarb because it's so tart and I don't like super sweet fruit desserts, but had never actually cooked with it before so I was very excited to try this out!

I also decided to try a (sort of) new pie crust recipe. I've been reading Ratio by Michael Ruhlman which is all about cooking with ratios rather than measurements, and focuses on the basic ingredients that you need to make something. In the case of pie, they are flour, fat and water. The recipe I normally use involves egg and vinegar, but I've been thinking lately that my pie crusts have been a bit too "puffy" and the egg probably has something to do with it. So I figured I would try it with just the basics and just a dash of sugar to sweeten it a tad.

And the result? Man was this good. Tart and sweet, with a wonderfully flaky crust. I forgot just HOW good strawberries and rhubarb are together. There was just the right amount of fruit chunks and slightly thickened syrup. I barely even noticed the Splenda, which when executed badly can totally kill a dessert for me (I have an unnatural aversion to artificial sweeteners).

So in short...I will be making this pie again before strawberry season is over. You should too.

Pie Dough
3-2-1 pie crust ratio
15 ounces flour
5 ounces butter
5 ounces vegetable shortening (I use Tenderflake)
5 ounces ice-cold water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp sugar (optional)

from Bon Appetit via smittenkitchen
3 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb
3 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar (I used Splenda so that my dad could have a slice)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

1. Cut out butter and shortening amounts, and freeze for about 1/2 hour Making sure the ingredients are cold is incredibly important when making pie crust. I try to store the tools I'm going to be using in the freezer while my butter and shortening are in there as well to keep everything cool.

2. Measure out flour, salt and sugar into a large bowl

3. Cut in (or grate in) butter and shortening into the flour

4. Add water a couple tablespoons at a time, until flour mixture starts to clump together. Form a ball with your hands (be careful not to overwork the dough or it will end up tough)

5. Divide into two discs, wrap with saran wrap and refrigerate for about 20 minutes or until ready to use (you can do this a day or so in advance as well)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit

6. Combine filling ingredients together in a bowl.

7. Roll out bottom of pie crust until it's about 1 inch wider than your pie plate and transfer to pie plate

8. Spoon in filing

9. Roll out second crust. Slice into 1/2 inch strips and weave into a lattice pattern on top of pie. Trim edges with a bit of overhang and fold up so that your strips stay in place. Crimp edges if desired (I usually do, mostly because I find that my crust doesn't really "stay" in place if i don't).

10. Bake for about 20 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking until edges are golden and filling is bubbling (This particular recipe said to bake for almost 2 hours. I only baked for about an hour)

Random Pie Crust Tips:
1. Use plenty of flour

2. Turn the dough at a 90 degree angle once or twice to make sure your dough isn't sticking to your surface

3. Don't freak out - it will get easier every time you make a pie

4. When you're ready to transfer the bottom crust to your pie plate, fold into quarters and place in your pie plate so that the bottom point is in the middle, and unfold

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