Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

If you are the type of person who likes things with a little depth, who delights in the unexpected from time-to-time, and who thinks complexity not only adds interest but also a feeling of accomplishment and joy, then this is the pie for you.  The crust is amazing--flaky, sweet, crispy, tender.  The filling is rich, complex, subtle, with a little kick.  This pie is, for those who have discerning tastes, perfect.  Rhubarb isn't in season for long. Make it soon.  The only regret you'll have is that it disappears so quickly.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Crust (from a recipe by Valarie Enters on the Food Network site):
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour (Softasilk)
1 T powdered sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
pinch salt
1 egg
2 tsp white vinegar
1/4 cup very cold water

3 cups chopped fresh rhubarb (about 4 stalks)
3 cups washed, de-stemmed, and roughly cut strawberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons minute tapioca
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
3 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/4" cubes
1 egg white, beaten with 1 tsp water
Sugar for garnishing

In a medium bowl, combine flours, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter and shortening. Whisk the egg, vinegar, and water together and pour over dry ingredients. Using a fork, toss the dough until it comes together, being sure not to overwork the dough. Divide into 2 disks, wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove one disk (you'll use the second one later). Roll into a circle and place in the bottom of the pie dish. Refrigerate while assembling the filling.

Preheat oven to 425F.
Mix rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, tapioca, flour, zest, juice, cinnamon, and vanilla in a large bowl. Pour into chilled pie crust. Dot the top of the filling with the small cubes of butter. Remove second disk of dough from refrigerator and roll into a top crust. Place on top of the pie and crimp top and bottom crusts together to seal the layers and make a decorative edge. Cut a small x-shaped vent in the middle of the top crust. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle sugar on top. Place a cookie sheet or foil sheet on the rack below where the pie will be baking in case of spill-over.  Cover the outer edges of the crust with foil so they won't burn and bake at 425F for 15 minutes. Decrease temperature to 375F and bake an additional 45 minutes. Let cool completely before serving so the filling can thicken, about 4-6 hours.
Makes one pie.

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