Rhubarb was one of those things that always confused me at the grocery store. I never had it growing up, and when I started shopping and cooking for myself, I had a hard time reconciling this vegetable that looked like red celery with the sweet, tart rhubarb pies I’d tried once or twice in the past. I visited Ireland about 3 weeks ago and had the most delicious rhubarb apple crisp for breakfast one morning, and decided that I had to try making a rhubarb dessert myself.
I also wanted to take this chance to improve on my pie crust technique, especially after the disappointing oil pie crust I’d made for my blueberry pie (2 recipes ago on this blog). I made sure to use butter and because I don’t have a pastry cutter, I diligently smashed it into the flour with a whisk. It took awhile and I had to continually scoop lumps of butter out of the whisk, but it was well worth it–Boyfriend rated the crust a 5 out of 5 stars. Success!
The rhubarb and strawberry filling was also delicious. I used a Food Network recipe that they had quaintly named “Grandma’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie” and I’ll definitely use it again. I used a different pie crust recipe from the one they recommended, however.
Pie Crust (makes 2 crusts)
2.5 cups flour
3/4 cups butter (1.5 sticks)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold water
Combine salt and flour, then slice butter into small pats. Cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. I made do with a whisk because I don’t have a super well-equipped kitchen, and it turned out fine. Add the 1/2 cup cold water slowly, until the mixture starts to stick together. Form into a ball with your hands (it might still be a bit crumbly, that’s okay) and wrap tightly in saran wrap. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours, or longer if you like. You can prepare and make the filling during this time.
Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Filling (adapted from Food Network)
2 1/2 cups chopped red rhubarb, fresh
2 1/2 cups de-stemmed, washed and cut strawberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons minute tapioca (I did not have this; I meant to substitute corn starch, but I forgot!!! More details about this failure below)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, tapioca, flour, zest and juice of lemon, dash of cinnamon, and vanilla. Mix well in a large bowl and pour out into chilled crust. Roll out the other piece of dough and place over filling. Crimp to seal edges. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Decrease temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for an additional 45 to 50 minutes, or until the filling starts bubbling.
The original recipe also included “1 egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon water, and large granule sugar” for brushing and garnishing the pie crust with–I skipped this step because I was lazy.
Now it’s confession time–I forgot to add the tapioca/corn starch! I realized this as soon as I cut into that beautiful pie up there, and all the juices immediately leaked out in a very water-y fashion. It still tasted delicious–sweet, tart, with a lemon-rhubarb-strawberry flavor. But it just didn’t have that thickened pie filling texture. It was kind of disappointing because we weren’t able to get an awesome photo of a beautiful pie slice. The fruit itself tasted fantastic, and the crust was perfect. But there was a lot of watery juice everywhere–we poured it out of the pie plate to avoid soaking the crust, and weren’t sure what to do with the leftover juice. There was a lot of it and we didn’t want it going to waste.
That’s when Boyfriend came up with a great idea–pouring the juice into an ice cube tray to make mini rhubarb-strawberry flavored popsicles!
These were so good. They tasted like rhubarb-strawberry flavored sorbet. We had 2 for lunch today and more after dinner. Nice, cool treat for summer. I’m tempted to “mess up” next time and leave out the thickener in the pie again so we can make more of these.
Super yummy. Try it with vanilla ice cream!
We also made another video! Check it out: