Confession: I have never had rhubarb…well, at least I don’t think I have, haha. But when you’re friend asks for a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie for their birthday, well, you suck it up and make it. Especially when their birthday was 7 months ago…(yes, I suck as a friend).
Thankfully Whole Foods had fresh rhubarb but if you can’t find it fresh you can always use frozen rhubarb. Just be sure to drain the decorated rhubarb as much as possible so you don’t end up with soup instead of pie filling.
2-1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) well-chilled unsalted butter
1. Fill a spouted liquid measuring cup with about 1-1/2 cups of water, plop in some ice cubes, and place it in the freezer while you prepare the next steps of the recipe. The idea is to have more water than you need for the recipe (which will probably use 1/2 cup or less) at a very cold temperature, not to actually freeze the water or use all 1-1/2 cups in the dough.
2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut 1/2-to-1 tablespoon pieces of butter and drop them into the flour. Toss the fat with the flour to evenly distribute it.
3. Position your hands palms up, fingers loosely curled. Scoop up flour and fat and rub it between your thumb and fingers, letting it fall back into the bowl after rubbing. Do this, reaching into the bottom and around the sides to incorporate all the flour into the fat, until the mixture is slightly yellow, slightly damp. It should be chunky — mostly pea-size with some almond- and cherry-size pieces. The smaller bits should resemble coarse cornmeal.
4. Take the water out of the freezer. Pour it in a steady thin stream around the bowl for about 5 seconds. Toss to distribute the moisture. You’ll probably need to pour a little more water on and toss again. As you toss and the dough gets close to perfect, it will become a bit shaggy and slightly tacky to the touch. Press a small bit of the mixture together and toss it gently into the air. If it breaks apart when you catch it, add more water, toss to distribute the moisture, and test again. If the dough ball keeps its shape, it’s done. (When all is said and done, you’ll have added about 1/3 to 1/2 cup water.)
5. With firm, brief pressure, gather the dough in 2 roughly equal balls (if one is larger, use that for the bottom crust). Quickly form the dough into thick disks using your palms and thumbs. Wrap the disks individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour to 3 days before rolling.
For the filling:
2 1/2 cups (about 1 pound) fresh or frozen rhubarb sliced 1/2 in thick
2 1/2 cups (anout 1 heaping pint) fresh or frozen strawberries sliced
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice (about 1/2 a medium lemon)
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
5 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter cut in small chunks
Egg white wash
Extra sugar for sprinkling
Roll out the bottom crust and lay it in a 9-in pie plate. Place the crust in the fridge as you make the filling.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In a bowl, mix the rhubarb with the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and salt. Taste and adjust as needed. Stir in flour & butter. Set the filling aside.
Roll out the top crust and pull the crust from the fridge. Pour the filling into the bottom crust, mound and pack it in gently. Place the top crust on top of the pie. Trim and flute the edges as desired. Cut some steam vents on top. Place the pie in the fridge as you do the next step or you can skip it and place the pit straight in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes.
Since this is a birthday pie, I busted out my mini alphabet cookie cutters to add a little somethin’ special to the top. With the extra dough that remains after trimming the edges, roll it back out and cut your letters out. If you have letters to place on top, use some the wash to stick the letters to the top of the crust. Stick the pie in the freezer for about 1-15 minutes.
Brush the top of the crust with the egg white wash. Brush the entire pie crust with the egg white wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake the pie in the middle of the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes until the crust is blond and blistered. Rotate the pie front to back and reduce the heat to 375 degrees F. Bake about 35 minutes to 45 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the juices are thickened. The should bubble slowly out through the vents.
Cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. Serve warm or at room temperature.