I vote for raspberry to take the place of strawberry in all future rhubarb pies.
I’m sorry for bombarding you with pie lately, but I’ve made no fewer than four of these in under a week, and to post anything else seems dishonest. This is what I’ve been eating lately.
Lots and lots of rhubarb pie. I had to make an emergency run for ice cream. There is none here because it’s a pie I baked to bring to the office – yes, I sometimes go have meetings in offices with people I work with on the interwebs – and I didn’t want to sully it with the ice cream, which I brought along with a scoop in a plastic bag. Trust me – people are very happy to see you when you show up with a pie.
I wish I was one of those people with a crown of thick, red rhubarb the size of a VW Beetle in my back yard, but having a friend/neighbour willing to share is almost as good. I walk over and pull out armloads and it looks as if I’ve barely touched it. We’re trying to clear out our kitchen so that we can tear it out and build a new one (remember? back in March? it’s a lot more work than I thought! but I’ve read all your comments and they’re so helpful – thank you!) and I keep coming in with armloads of rhubarb. I can’t help myself.
Good local strawberries aren’t in yet, but raspberries are so much more intensely flavoured – even the frozen ones, which I used in this pie since I don’t have a raspberry thicket in my back yard either. Raspberries make an even more sweet-tart, more earnest pie with just the right amount of run. There has to be some ooze, without the bottom turning to soup – it’s easy to control by stirring a few spoonfuls of cornstarch into a cup of sugar and tossing it with the fruit.
I’m not a fancy pie-baker. I appreciate a good lattice, and get grandmotherly satisfaction out of a well-crimped edge. But these days I’ve taken to making galette-style pies, heavy on the rustic: you roll out your pastry to a rough circle, then plop it in the pie plate, without having to worry about a proper fitting or whether the edge hangs evenly all around. You dump in your fruit, which weighs it down to fit, then fold over the edges haphazardly, wherever they want to fold. It won’t cover the filling – it’s not supposed to – you’d need to cut steam vents anyway. It leaves enough room to cover with a rubble of sugar-flour-oats, making it like a pie and crumble all in one.
The best of all worlds.
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, lard or a combination of the two
1/3 cup very cold water
3 cups (ish) chopped fresh rhubarb – I used two big, thick stalks
2-3 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (don’t thaw them)
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup oats
3 Tbsp. butter
To make the pastry, combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl or in the bowl of a food processor; stir or pulse to blend. Add the butter and/or lard, cut into pieces, and blend with a pastry cutter, fork or your fingers, or pulse in the food processor until the mixture is almost combined, with lumps of fat the size of a pea remaining.
If you used a food processor, pour it into a bowl and add the water. Stir until the dough comes together. Shape into a disc and let it rest on the countertop for 20 minutes, or wrap it in plastic and chill for up to 3 days.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry out to about a 10-inch circle. Transfer to a pie plate. Put the rhubarb and raspberries into a large bowl, and in a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Sprinkle over the rhubarb and berries and stir to coat.
Dump the fruit – along with any sugar that accumulated in the bottom of the bowl – into the pastry. Fold over the edges wherever they want to fold. If you like, make the crumble by blending together all the ingredients in a bowl or in the bowl of a food processor. Sprinkle over the fruit, squeezing as you go to create larger clumps.
Bake for 1 hour, or until bubbly and golden. If the topping or crust is browning too quickly, cover it with some foil or reduce the temperature to 350F.
Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream. Serves 8.