So long, August. The first yellow leaves have made its debut — we just had a crazy hail storm today; the skies darkened with raining frozen golf-balls! Summer is far too short; it’s the only time available to pore over endless recipe books and try new things. Then, if it’s worth documenting, I come here and share with you. Once fall creeps in, it’s time for me to juggle with professional studies, along with every day life demands.
While the hot weather last weekend would have been perfect for bread-making, I decided to take advantage of the fresh fruits easily available from our garden as well as the local markets. (Our cucumber plants outgrew our poor strawberry plants; you live and learn when it comes to gardening!) On Monday, I spent time prepping the dough, so that it could chill overnight in the fridge. On Tuesday, I prepped the fresh fruits. On Wednesday, it was pie construction day! It was quite the challenge to make the dough on a 30+ Celsius day! If there’s anything I’ve learnt from a professional pastry chef textbook written by Bo Frieberg, planning your food preparation ahead of time always ensures success.
So, this means taking the time to wash and pare your strawberries, put a paper towel on a colander prior to freezing them in one-cup measurements — separated by wax paper or cling wrap. Slice them up. When it comes to rhubarb, you want to make sure the leaves are removed as they are poisonous. Clean and chop up the rhubarb into pieces, but only the red sections. I found that it was easy to chop once you peeled the red centre string-like layer. Of course, one distracted second, I lost grip of my knife while chopping rhubarb, so I ended up slicing my thumb! Ouch. I was very lucky the chef’s knife didn’t hit my toes nor did I need stitches….
If honesty is the best policy, I have to admit that I had somewhat forgotten how to make the crust. So, with much help from my step-by-step notes, I was able to produce this, with my new marble rolling pin:
Let’s get onto the recipe, shall we? This recipe is adapted from “1500 Best Bars, Cookies, Muffins, Cakes & More” by Esther Brody; “Poffy’s Rhubarb Strawberry Pie”. The only difference is that I added orange zest (tip: if you see the white pith, you’ve grated too far).
Serves 6 to 8
– Preheat Oven to 400F (200C)
– 9 inch pie plate
– Double crust pie pastry
Egg wash used in this recipe: 1 1/4 cup of very cold milk and 1 egg
3 soda crackers, crushed (easily done with a back of a spoon or mortar/pestle)
1 cup granulated sugar
3 cups chopped rhubarb
2 cups chopped strawberries
2 cups granulated sugar
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of pastry and fit into pie plate. Spread crushed soda cracker crumbs evenly onto bottom pie crust.
In a large bowl, whisk egg. Add sugar and whisk to blend.
Stir in rhubarb and strawberries and mix well. Spoon into pie crust.
- Roll out the remaining pastry to fit over filling. Cut several slits in top crust near the centre to allow steam to escape, and place over fruit filling. (Used cookie cutters here)
Trim, seal and flute edges or press with a fork all around. (Use egg wash as needed to seal.) Sprinkle a little granulated sugar over the top.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350F (180C) and continue bakng for 1 hour. (Note: I undershoot the time; checked the pie at 55 minutes as oven temps do vary)
Let cool completely on a wire rack.
I’m happy to hear compliments from my boyfriend, his best friend and his mother on this pie, especially when served with vanilla ice-cream. This recipe is definitely a keeper.