Now I will admit that pies have never been my thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love eating them, but I could never really get all that enthusiastic about making them. I have this romanticized view of mom putting out the pies to cool on the window sill just as the men-folk are finishing up their chores in the hay field, whilst the kids are russelin’ up the horses before they eat all the cotton by the pumpkin patch near Farmer Jedidiah’s dairy coop. I am almost 100% certain that the previous sentence makes no sense whatsoever to anyone who knows anything about farming or livestock. What the hell do I know? I grew up in Brooklyn. The closest thing we had to anything rural like that was the pigeons flying by or going to Central Park. The police did have horses though. And there were those horse-drawn carriages that are so popular with tourists. It’s still a far cry from a farm, even with those sheep-sized sewer rats.
We never really did “pie” in my family. Maybe it’s a cultural thing. We had cakes made with rice flour, flans, sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves, stuff with coconut and cassava, mangoes, ensaymada cakes. . . but no pies. Plus, on your birthday, you get a birthday cake, not a birthday pie! At least that was my experience. But pies really evoke that whole down-home farmy goodness that is pure and incorruptible and wholesome. Pies can’t be pretentious the way cakes can be. Have you seen some of those things? And I do like pretentious cakes; that is what my business is based on, after all! Maybe I should change the name to “Pretentious Cakes”. But I think that cakes are always involved with the celebration of some milestone or special occasion. Pies, on the other hand, are a celebration of everyday life.
So now to the pie. June 9th is National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day all over this great land. Rhubarb is actually a vegetable (kinda looks like red celery) so a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is one way to get your serving of fruit and veggies in one dish! I may be alone here, but I wouldn’t start trying to put together other fruit and veggie combos together just to see what they would taste like. Blueberry-Cauliflower Pie doesn’t sound all that appetizing, although peaches and beets might be delicious. Hell, if you can have a carrot salad with pineapple and raisins, why can’t peaches and beets go together?. But berries and rhubarb always seem to go hand-in-hand. You get the sweetness from the berries plus that tartness of the rhubarb. Wrap that all up in a nice buttery, flaky pastry and you get one of the classic pie recipes.
This makes a 9″ pie. Here’s what you need:
For the topping:
- 3/4 c. flour
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1/2 stick of butter, melted
- 1/2 t. cinnamon
- 1/4 t. salt
Stir together the dry ingredients to combine. Drizzle over the melted butter. Mix until the ingredients form a crumbly texture. Set aside.
For the pie:
- 1/2 pate brisee recipe (remember I told you to make extra and put it in the freezer! just check to earlier post for the recipe)
- 4 c. rhubarb, chopped into about 1/2 ” pieces
- 2 c. strawberries, sliced to about 1/4″ pieces
- 1 c. sugar
- 1/4 c. cornstarch
- 1/2 t. cinnamon
- 1/4 t. galangal (it’s kinda like ginger, same family)
- 1/4 t. salt
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place chopped rhubarb and sliced strawberries in a bowl. Top with the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, galangal, and salt. Toss to combine. Fill the prepared pie shell with the fruit mixture.
3. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes on the bottom rack. After the 20 minutes, lower the temperature to 325 and bake for another 35 – 45 minutes, until the filling is bubbly. Allow to cool completely on a rack.
Notes — If the pie is browning too quickly, you can use some pie shields or cover the edges lightly with foil.