Having read about Shauna’s pie party, I couldn’t not be part of it. Pie has been on my mind a little more than it usually is, anyway. (It always takes up a wee chunk of cranial space over the summer. Somehow or other, albeit subconsciously, I am most always thinking about pie. And ice cream. (Both?)
I wanted so badly to be swept away by one of the new cookbooks I got at Christmas, or any of the ones I’ve accumulated since. But I couldn’t not do strawberry-rhubarb. I hadn’t had any yet.
One of the very best pie quotes I’ve heard in a long time? “I just want pie. If it’s flaky? Great. But tender is even better. Best yet? On the table.” Shauna’s comparison between assembling pie pastry and disassembling a bomb. The pressure of making a perfect, tender, flaky pastry is too much for some people. (Most people?)
The very next night, last night, I was among the full house at CharCut, watching Connie come oh so close to winning Top Chef Canada. After, we talked about pie. They had served wee blueberry pies with tiny pitches of crème anglaise to pour overtop. Oh my. She had won one of her challenges with a chocolate silk pie, made with a simple cream-chocolate ganache. “Store bought pie crust is just fine”, she said, relieving the pressure of all who are humiliated by their frozen crust purchases. Same idea: the very best kind of pie is the kind on your dinner table. If the obstacle between that summer scenario and you is homemade crust, go buy some.
I personally am a fan of puff. (If you’re going to buy it, that is.) No matter what you do to puff pastry, it looks fantastic and rustic and totally deliriously good. All you do is thaw it, roll it out and -if you’re going to make small pies or galettes- cut it into circles and toss them on a cookie sheet. They don’t have to be perfectly round, even.
Stir some cornstarch into some sugar, if you have juicy fruit; this will get rid of any lumps. Toss your starchy sugar with your fruit, top each pastry round and fold over the edges. Brush them with egg and sprinkle with sugar if you like; if not, not. Bake.
Repeat over the course of the summer, using fruits as they come into season.
Little Strawberry Rhubarb Pies
1 1b pkg frozen puff pastry, thawed
3 cups chopped rhubarb
2 cups hulled, sliced or chopped strawberries
1 cup sugar (or to taste)
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 egg, beaten (optional)
sugar or coarse sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry dough out 1/4″ thick. Cut into rounds whatever size you like using a cookie cutter or glass rim. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
In a large bowl, toss together the rhubarb and strawberries. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch until no lumps remain. Add to the strawberry-rhubarb mixture and toss to coat well.
Spread some of the mixture over each pastry circle, leaving about an inch around the edges. Fold them over the filling, wherever they naturally fold. If you like, brush the edges with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and the fruit is tender. Makes 4-8 pies.