Sidetracked by strawberry rhubarb pie



If you're on the fence about rhubarb, then strawberry rhubarb pie might be just the thing to push you over the edge. It's what finally ended my lifelong ban on the mouth-puckering wannabe fruit.* In fact, I've become so enamoured that the strawberries I had mentally earmarked for this semifreddo took a detour into this pie and, well, my mouth. We'll come back to that semifreddo another time, I'm sure.

In the meantime, this pie is nothing to shake a stick at. If you can hold out until it's cooled, you'll be rewarded with a handsome, ooze-free slice. Otherwise expect some spillover, which mingles nicely with the ice cream anyways. A win-win situation, really, which is a good thing since a whole pie for two people is a whole lotta pie folks.

As it was, this pie gave me an excuse to try out the smear pastry technique demonstrated over at I made that! I could see the idea going over well in an anger management course: take out your aggression on the butter, then drown your sorrow in a puddle of pie and ice cream.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Pastry:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

Egg wash:
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon water
coarse sugar (optional)

Filling:
4 cups sliced or quartered strawberries
3 cups sliced rhubarb (1cm slices)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

To prepare the pastry, follow the aforementioned smear technique. While your dough is cooling its jets in your fridge, let's get on that filling.

Wash, top and slice the strawberries and rhubarb. (Rhubarb is a lot like celery when it comes to preparation: remove both ends and use a knife or vegetable peeler to remove some of the coarser fibres from the length of the stalk.) Lightly toss the fruit with the cornstarch, sugars and salt until evenly coated. Set aside while you prepare the pie shell.

I'm loving the look of lattice-topped pies these days, so that's what I made. They're also a good choice if you're worried about too much liquid (i.e., particularly juicy strawberries) and/or not enough thickener (in this case, cornstarch) in the filling. More evaporation potential, or so I presume.

For that polished golden glow, brush the lattice top generously with egg wash and sprinkle (or not) with coarse sugar.

* That's right, you heard me. Rhubarb is a vegetable.

p.s. Everything I know about rhubarb, I learned from Spilled Milk.

p.p.s. Just happened upon this lovely little tart. Maybe we'll give something like that a try once you're totally on board with rhubarb.

Source: Based on Lattice-Topped Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie at Epicurious.com, originally published in Bon App├ętit, April 1997.

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