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Okay, shall we move onto a pie…perhaps a Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie that will blow you away? I made this for a recent dinner party, and it received rave reviews! Rhubarb is in season now so it is time to take advantage of this bitter yet refreshing item. To balance out the bitterness, you most often find it used in desserts where the sugar sweetens it. Finding that right balance can be difficult, but this recipe is right on the mark. The addition of the lemon juice and orange zest adds an extra freshness that really makes a difference too.
I found this recipe at Cook’s Illustrated, who diligently tests their recipes under numerous methods to find just the right way to make a perfect dish. For this reason, I am very trusting of their recipes and felt confident enough to bake this pie for the first time for my dinner party. I did make one change though—I skipped making the pie crust from scratch and instead bought a refrigerated version. I’d like to tackle their pie crust in the future, but had enough other items to prepare for the dinner and didn’t want to overdo it. Oh, and the recipe calls for adding bits of butter to the top of the filling before laying the pastry over it. I skipped this step.
So here is the recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated:
- 3 cups fresh, sliced strawberries
- 3 cups fresh trimmed rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces (see note below about how to trim)
- 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp grated orange zest
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 to 4 tbsp quick-cooking tapioca
- Pie crust 12 inch bottom and 10 inch top (either freshly made or store bought)
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Toss strawberries and rhubarb with sugar, lemon juice and orange zest, vanilla extract, and tapioca; let stand for 15 minutes.
- Place the 12 inch bottom pastry into a 9-inch Pyrex pie pan, leaving dough that overhangs the lip in place.
- Pour fruit mixture, including juices, into pie shell.
- Lay the 10 inch top pastry over the fruit. Trim top and bottom dough edges to 1/2-inch beyond pan lip. Tuck this rim of dough underneath itself so that folded edge is flush with pan lip. Flute dough in your own fashion, or press with fork tines to seal.
- Cut four slits at right angles on dough top to allow steam to escape.
- Place pie on baking sheet; bake until top crust is golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until juices bubble and crust is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes longer.
- Transfer pie to wire rack; let cool to almost room temperature so juices have time to thicken, from 1 to 2 hours.
How to trim rhubarb
Take a paring knife and cut almost through the end of the rhubarb without hitting the skin on the other side. Then pull downwards so that the skin pulls away from the stalk. Repeat for the other sides.