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“Strawberry Rhubarb Pie”

Last night I dreamt about rhubarb. What does that mean?

I took it as a sign that I should show you how to make my favorite pie. Any dream interpreters out there can speak now or forever hold your peace.

Anyone?

Great! Pie it is.

Once upon a time there was someone named “The Pie Lady” in my hometown. She lived in Nyack, New York on the Hudson River in a little house and if you called her up, she would make you a pie. You could usually pick your favorite, assuming it was in season, and she would tell you when you could come and get it. Late Spring time was my favorite, because she made Strawberry Rhubarb pie. The first bite of that first strawberry rhubarb pie still haunts me. And the pie lady has disappeared, and that haunts me too.

Once upon a time there was also a lady named Kate McDermott. She lived in Washington State and taught pie classes. She has a website called Art of the Pie, and spent three years with her husband Jon Rowley perfecting the recipe for the perfect apple pie. I know I keep saying this, and it’s probably getting annoying, but you can read more about her in my book when it makes its way from across the world on a flatbed ship. At least that’s how I’m told it will arrive.

The point of all of this, is that I took the memory of The Pie Lady’s rhubarb pie, and the technique that Kate instilled in me last year, and recreated my favorite pie. There’s something about the tang of the rhubarb and the sweet of the strawberries that fits my sensibilities–a little sweet, a little tang.

If you take Kate’s class, she will tell you the secrets of perfect pie baking, down to the very type of flour and butter to buy. Since I’m a use-what-you’ve-got kind of gal, I used the Gold flour in my cabinet.

Leaf lard is really the key to the perfect crust. It’s not always easy to find, but if you have a farmer’s market in your area, you can ask a pig farmer for some. He will either render it for you or give it to you to render yourself, which is quite easy. I have instructions on lard rendering here. Kate orders hers from a farmer in Pennsylvania and it keeps in the freezer for a long time.

The woman who took care of me when I was very young, also makes incredible pies. I was eating one of her strawberry rhubarb pies while I was in New York last week and she too uses lard.

Lard is the answer to all things.

Also…cold butter, cubed.

Salt.

Then you mix it quickly with your hands, the best tools in the kitchen. You want to work it into a sandy consistency, with lumps of fat and butter ranging from walnut to pea sized. The lumps are what make the crust flaky.

Then a few tablespoons of water. The amount you need will vary depending on the humidity. If it’s very hot, you’ll want to work fast so your dough doesn’t become too wet.

Gather it together. Add more water if it’s still too dry. You want it to be pliable but not sticky.

Turn your dough into two disks.

Wrap them individually and put them in the freezer for about 20 minutes.

Now, for the fruit filling. I went overboard on the strawberries. I bought so many that I made strawberry shortcake, fruit leather and strawberry vinegar in the same week. It’s a nice problem to have though.

Strawberries simply get sliced sideways.

Rhubarb gets trimmed of the nasty end bits, split lengthwise…

…then cut into about one inch pieces. Like below, not like above. Above was too small.

Comme Ça. As my kitchen mates in Provence used to say, as I stared at them blankly…

Shooga.

Tapioca. To avoid excess runniness. Though a little ooze is excellent.

Flour. To ensure moderate ooze.

I took a facebook poll and went for allspice. But you could use nutmeg or cinnamon or someone geniusly suggested cointreau.

Mix it all together.

Remove your disks from the freezer.

Bang them with a rolling pin on a well floured surface…

…and begin to roll the first one out. Use lots of flour, don’t be afraid of the flour. Also use a cutting board to roll onto so you can rotate the dough easily.

Feel free to patch the crust if it doesn’t fit into the pie dish the way you want. No one will know. Once it’s baked all the wobbly bits disappear.

Drop in the fruit mixture. You want a nice mound because it will bake down. And I like height with my pies.

Cover with disk #2.

Trim the edges of the top layer about 1 inch over the sides, fold it under and with a pastry brush, wet between the layers.

Push them together with your thumb to make nice ridges.

Make vent holes. These are important so the fruit steam has somewhere to go. It also looks nice when you get artistic about it.

A little egg white…

…also adds some ideal shine.

Like the ooze? I like it.

Then you can take extreme light photos with your pie.

Or just eat it.

I have too much pie now for one girl. Come over and have a piece! Or if you can’t get here before I eat it all, at least tell me: What’s your favorite pie?

p.s. I just found out that “The Pie Lady” is making a come back! Apparently she got overwhelmed with the demand and had kids to raise, so she moved further north, away from the hustle and bustle of Nyack… and now her kids are helping her make pies again! I will no longer be haunted by her absence. Hurrah.

p.p.s. Here are some places to order lard: Flying Pigs Farm, Dietrich’s Meats. Also, many Mexican grocery stores carry it!

“Double-Crusted Pie Dough”

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 1 double-crusted 9-inch pie crust

“Double-Crusted Pie Dough”

adapted from Art of the Pie

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 8 tablespoons lard (leaf lard is best)
  • 8 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • About 6 tablespoons ice water

Instructions

  1. Combine the flour, lard, butter and salt in a bowl and work it with your hands until sandy and lumpy. The lumps of fat should range from pea to walnut sized, which will ensure a flaky crust.
  2. Add a few drops of water at a time until the dough comes together but is not too sticky. The amount of water you need will vary based on humidity. If it is very hot, work quickly. Divide the dough into two disks and wrap them in plastic and chill for about 30 minutes or until read to use.
http://georgiapellegrini.com/2010/05/12/recipes/strawberry-rhubarb-pie/

"Strawberry Rhubarb Pie"

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 1 9-inch pie serving 8-10

Ingredients

  • 6 cups strawberries, tops removed and sliced
  • 4 cups rhubarb, split lengthwise, and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch of allspice, or 1 tablespoon cointreau
  • 3 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 recipe double-crusted pie dough, chilled

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Combine the strawberries and rhubarb in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients except for the egg white and mix well.
  3. Remove the dough disks from the refrigerator or freezer and roll the first one out on a cutting board, using lots of flour, until the circle is the size of your pie dish. Drape it over your pie dish. Trim it as needed, and patch it if need be using a bit of water and extra dough scraps.
  4. Add the filling and repeat the process for rolling the second dough disk. Roll it until it is about an inch larger than the pie dish. Drape it over the fruit. Trim the edges and tuck them under.
  5. With a pastry brush, wet between the two crusts and press down with your thumb or a fork to seal it.
  6. Beat the egg white in a bowl and brush the top of the pie. Cut vent holes in the top and on the sides. Place the pie in the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F for about 35 minutes more.
http://georgiapellegrini.com/2010/05/12/recipes/strawberry-rhubarb-pie/

 

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Comments

  1. That looks so good! Everyone is writing about rhubarb lately, but I can't keep the strawberries in my house from being gobbled up long enough to make strawberry rhubarb anything. I did a delicious strawberry balsamic sauce with sponge cake right after we came home from the store but somehow the rest of the strawberries disappeared before breakfast the next morning. I'm going to Minneapolis tomorrow to be housewife for a busy doctor friend and I would love to make this pie because it looks pretty doable, but I had practically given up on pie in the past because I always end up with very tough crusts. I thought it was from too much handling, but it looks like you don't use a pastry mixer and still come out with picture perfect pie! If I am not able to track down lard, is there any other way to save the crust?

  2. Georgia says:

    Hi Gabi! A lot of grocery stores, especially Mexican grocery stores, carry lard these days in some form. I also posted two links above where you can mail order lard: Flying Pigs Farm, Dietrich's Meats. But if you can't find it, I know some people use shortening… though certain kinds are not quite as good for you. The key is to leave lumps of various sizes and not try to work it til it's uniform. Lumps are a good thing! I love how inexpensive strawberries are this time of year… we're swimming in them in CA!

  3. Mmmmmm, lard. :) And rhubarb! This pie looks super tasty!

  4. Traffic leaving Napa is a bit of a bear at this hour, but I should be there for my slice in about 2hrs!

  5. Perfect timing! Although my rhubarb is not quite ready( it's covered up due to a wintery spring snow storm and freezing temps)But can't wait to try your recipe soon.Thanks for posting.

  6. Georgia, Your pie looks just beautiful! I'm so glad that you are continuing to use the skills you learned in our Seattle class. Can't wait to see your book and read about that wonderful day! xo Kate "The Washington Pie Lady"

  7. Ooohh… girl, you just gave away my $2000 secret! Leaf lard is the main reason I have won that much in pie contest prize money. I order mine from Dietrich's too. I do have some in the freezer waiting for me to render it so I'm glad you have a post about the process. I cut my first rhubarb yesterday and made some filling for tarts. A test batch of strawberry rhubarb came out well and I added cointreau too! Next week I'm making 100 of them for a client. People LOVE their rhubarb around here.

  8. Yum! I know this sounds a little wacky but my memory senses (or whatever you want to call it) took over and I actually got a faint whiff of that pie, so much that I actually looked around the room to see what else it could be. Weird, I know. Now I'm craving it like crazy. I've never heard of leaf lard – thanks for the tip, will have to keep that in mind.

  9. Georgia says:

    Amy, I love that you could taste it! I often say from cooking in various kitchens that I can tell what something will taste like by looking at it… the brain works in mysterious ways.

  10. Sue Hopkins says:

    This is beautiful and I only wish you were closer to Seattle. I've decided I prefer blackberries and rhubarb for the richer flavor. Will check out making a pie crust with leaf lard. Thanks for a great post.

  11. Georgia says:

    Happy Baking Sue! Send us pictures of the results : )

  12. I haven't had Strawberry Rhubarb pie for years, ever since I was diagnosed as diabetic. After seeing this, I'm inspired to try to make one that I can eat. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks !

  13. Georgia says:

    Ooh, send us the recipe if you do!

  14. Will do, Georgia. Love this website !

  15. OK Georgia, here goes. I followed your recipe. I made the pies last night, one with a sugar substitute, and one with half sugar, half sugar substitute. I made them with shortening. I have an order in with a co-worker who butchers to bring me some leaf lard and some good cracklin' material. He said I was the first person in years to ask for those things, so thank you for helping me impress him ! The next ones will be made with lard, and then cracklin' bread will be baked. Both pies tasted fine to me, although someone who doesn't use the substitute may taste a difference. I will let you know the results when I can make the pies with lard, but I'm betting they will taste much better. Talk to you later, Your friend in PA.

  16. Wow, your pie looks amazing!!! Incredible photo's!!!

  17. OMG, I just received a neighbor’s rhubarba and stewed some with turbinado, ginger and lemon to put over ice cream last night…yummy…I grew up on this stuff. I can’t wait to make this!

  18. Looks deeelicious…start baking pies, pizzas, etc on your Big Green Egg…you will not believe the taste difference…when baking be sure and let the bad smoke clear for 30+ minutes. You will thank me later….

  19. I found this post though Pinterest. The photo was so beautiful that I just had to come here to read the recipe! Love it! And love your site :-) .

    I would like to invite you to share this post (and your other posts :-) ) on a new photo based recipe sharing site that launched in May. The idea is simple: all recipe photographs are published within minutes of submission. And, of course, the images link back to the author’s site.

    It’s called RecipeNewZ (with Z) – http://recipenewz.com

    I hope you get a chance to visit and to share some of your delicious posts with our viewers. It would be a pleasure to have you on board :-)

  20. Gabrielle says:

    Upstate NY – Strawberries are early this year and are coming to a close. I picked up 2 flats yesterday and was contemplating their future…… some frozen for winter berry pies and fruit smoothies later…. and now…some for a rhubard strawberry pie – Thanks Georgia !! Looks great!