For me, springtime means pie. It's not that I don't make pie in the winter but I seem to make less of it. Cookies and brownies and other smaller desserts are more of a thing in our house during the cold season. Perhaps because that gives me an opportunity to turn the oven on every day. Easter is the beginning of my pie season with strawberry pie. After that the organic fruit supply in our local markets slowly starts to build. Bit by bit, options expand. This week were taken by some flashy stalks of rhubarb, their vibrant pink color camouflaging the deeply tart flavor within.
Now there are people who adore rhubarb pie. I've never made one in the past. There was so much juicy, sweet fruit to play with that I avoided using it in pie, even though we grew it in our old garden at Twin Oak. For some reason this week I got the urge. We had plenty of rhubarb to work with and I happened to have some exceptionally sweet and fragrant strawberries in the fridge. Unsurprisingly it was a match made in heaven. The recipe below calls for equal amounts of rhubarb and strawberries, I used perhaps slightly more rhubarb and you can skew the proportions according to your taste. This pie is rich and sweet, tart and lively. It's almost too easy to eat a whole slice on its own (me) or snuggled up beside some freshly whipped cream (Amaya) or paired with some creamy frozen custard (Alex). We bring our supply home from the shop in pint containers but you could use vanilla ice cream instead. No matter how you eat it, this is some good pie.
Makes one 9-inch pie
2 premade pie crusts, one pressed into a buttered 9-inch pie pan with a 1-inch overhang, and one rolled out and ready to go.
3 cups rhubarb, sliced 1/2-inch thick, 2-3 large stalks
3 cups strawberries, quartered, about 24 ounces / 680 grams
1 cup / 200 grams sugar
2 ½ tablespoons / 20 grams cornstarch
1 ½ tablespoons / 11 grams tapioca starch (you can use all cornstarch but the tapioca gives the gel a softer, silkier texture)
½ teaspoon / 3 grams fine sea salt
1 teaspoon / 4 grams vanilla paste or extract
1 tablespoon / 14 grams heavy cream
1/4 cup/ 60 grams raw sugar
Preheat oven to 400°F. (205°C.)
Put the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, tapioca starch, and salt in a medium bowl and mix gently with a rubber spatula to blend. Add the vanilla and gently fold it into the fruit. Pour the fruit into the prepared pie pan lined with piecrust and use the spatula to distribute it evenly in the pan.
Lay the second pie crust over the top, press it gently down around the fruit, and then trim to so that the the outer edge just overlaps the edge of the bottom crust. Fold the edge of the top crust over and under the bottom crust and roll it inwards, all the way around the edge, to seal the crust. Pinch the crust all the way around the circumference to create a decorative border and double seal the edge so that the pie doesn't drip. Place the pie on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, brush the cream over the entire top crust and sprinkle the raw sugar evenly over the pie. Bake for 20 minutes and reduce the heat to 350°F. (175°C.) without opening the door. Bake for 50 minutes, rotating the pie once, if needed.
Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Cool completely before serving.