Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I've been trying to utilize all of the wonderful local farmer's markets we have around the DC area, so when I went last weekend they had these beautiful stalks of rhubarb and gorgeous strawberries so I had to bring some home. I've always liked Rhubarb pie but had never personally made one.

I definitely have purchase a quart of berries every weekend since strawberries have been on the market--I'm drawn in to the little red orbs and just cannot resist!

There is a spice shop in old town Alexandria that sells varieties of freshly ground spices; I never really new that there were such variations until visiting this shop and smelling all of the spices. Ceylon Cinnamon is a more mild cinnamon than we are typically used to finding in stores--it has a subtle flavor.

The smell from the tart rhubarb and the spicy cinnamon was absolutely fantastic, and I've heard rhubarb dipped in sugar is pretty tasty too, but I didn't try it--I was too hungry for pie!

I am impatient and did not wait for the pie to cool 100% before slicing up a piece (naturally), it was still fantastic, but it was much better the next day when it had time to really set, and vanilla bean ice cream on top is a must!

I know that many claim an all shortening crust is best but I am a big fan of the butter/shortening mix because you get the flaky quality that shortening gives with the flavor that butter gives--the perfect marriage.

Lattice Topped Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

3 cups all purpose flour (I prefer King Arthur)
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
10 tablespoons (about) ice water
3 1/2 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices trimmed rhubarb (1 1/2 pounds untrimmed or 5 stalks)
1 16-ounce container strawberries, hulled, halved (about 3 1/2 cups or a quart container)
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I prefer the subtle flavor of Ceylon for this)
1/4 teaspoon salt (Fleur de sel might be nice here?)
1 large egg yolk beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water
2 Tbsps. Turbinado Sugar

Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl--either use a food processor or a dough cutter. I use the old fashioned stainless dough cutter and a mixing bowl--cut in the shortening and butter until coarse meal forms. Blend in enough ice water 2 tablespoons at a time to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; cut in half. Flatten each half into disk. Wrap separately in plastic; refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. (You can make the night before--the key to a flaky pie crust is keeping the dough cold so that when the "fat" melts in the oven air pockets are created giving that flaky crust...think croissants.)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine first 7 ingredients in large bowl. Toss gently to blend.
Roll out 1 dough disk on floured work surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter pie dish. Trim excess dough, leaving 3/4-inch overhang.
Roll out second dough disk on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Cut into fourteen 1/2-inch-wide strips. Spoon filling into crust. Arrange 7 dough strips atop filling, spacing evenly. Form lattice by placing remaining dough strips in opposite direction atop filling. Trim ends of dough strips even with overhang of bottom crust. Fold strip ends and overhang under, pressing to seal. Crimp edges decoratively. (It's really much easier than it sounds!)

Brush glaze over crust. transfer pie to baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake pie until golden and filling thickens, about 1 hour 25 minutes. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely.

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