Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
There really isn’t a whole lot better than baking a pie with fresh ingredients from a farmer’s market. You’re supporting local businesses. Everything is super ripe and perfect. You get to buy the ingredients outdoors. Even someone who doesn’t like pies or fruit-based desserts (that would be me) can appreciate how good it feels to do this.
So when we were walking through the farmer’s market at Harvard and a vendor had both strawberries and rhubarb, I couldn’t just not buy them. And, as luck would have it, strawberry rhubarb is Erik’s favorite pie!
Usually, I like to find my recipes in cookbooks written specifically by bakeries. I have this thing where I don’t really like to use a general purpose cookbook for a baking recipe, because one time I made something out of a general purpose cookbook and disagreed with the ratios they used. I recognize that it’s irrational to hold this against all cookbooks that have recipes in addition to baked goods, but sometimes I’m irrational, and that’s OK with me.
Unfortunately, not a single one of my go-to cookbooks had a strawberry rhubarb pie recipe. Which I really find pretty shocking. It’s not like it’s a super out-there type of recipe. It is a very standard combination that I would assume every bakery makes at some point. Not wanting to use the New York Times recipe, which included unnecessarily complicated pie dough, I was forced to turn to the Joy of Cooking.
I want to reiterate that I have nothing against the Joy of Cooking. I think its recipes are generally perfect for any kind of cooking you want to do. But I was hesitant to use a baking recipe. Turns out, Joy of Cooking is worth listening to when it comes to baking, and this pie got some praise as “the best thing I had ever made,” which, though I don’t agree, is flattering.
First up, I decided to go with a cream cheese pie dough rather than a traditional all butter pie dough. I thought the tartness would go well with how sweet strawberries are, and like to work with dough that has cream cheese in it because it behaves better than all-butter dough.
Also, pie dough in a food processor continues to be like magic to me. I can just put everything in and have dough in like 5 minutes total. No cutting in, no kneading. I don’t know that a girl can ask for much more from a kitchen appliance.
Anyways, that dough. Quickly pulse together the flour and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and cream cheese, and run until dough comes together into a ball. Divide dough into two equal disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. When you’re ready to assemble the pie, stir together the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large bowl. Let sit for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Roll one piece of the dough out on a floured piece of parchment paper until a couple inches wider in diameter than your pie plate. Turn into your pie plate and press down into edges. Full disclosure: my pie plate was a cake pan here. It actually worked really well, and made the pie like a deep dish dessert. So if you don’t have a pie dish, a cake pan will work just fine. Spoon the filling into the pie dough. Cut up two tablespoons of butter into small pieces and dot over the top. Roll out the second piece of dough to the same thickness as the crust. Cut into strips, and weave a lattice over the filling. I was bored, so I took the extra pieces of lattice, which I didn’t want to waste, cut them into thirds lengthwise, and braided them together. I then put the braid around the edge of the pie in an attempt to hide the poor joining of my lattice to my crust. I had no idea if it would work or not, but I was feeling creative. Then, lightly brush the top of the pie with cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 425°F for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes, until the juices are bubbling and thick. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely in pan. The braid kind of worked! It fell into the pie a bit, maybe due to the fact I was using a cake pan, but I kinda like that it did so. Makes it look rustic.Serve this pie by itself, with some fresh whipped cream, or even warmed with a bit of vanilla ice cream. Store covered at room temperature.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Cream Cheese Pie Dough
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cold
- 9 ounces cream cheese, cold
Strawberry Rhubarb Filling
- 2 1/2 cups rhubarb stalks, trimmed and cut into 1 inch lengths
- 2 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- To make the pie dough, pulse together flour and salt in a food processor.
- Add butter and cream cheese, and process until dough comes together into a ball.
- Remove dough from processor, split into two equal disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- To make the filling, stir together rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Roll out one piece of dough on a floured piece of parchment paper until diameter is a couple inches wider than your pie plate. Turn dough into pie plate and push dough into edges.
- Spoon filling into dough and dot with cut up butter.
- Roll out second piece of dough to same thickness and cut strips. Weave lattice over filling, and braid extra pieces if desired for crust.
- Brush top of pie with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake at 425°F for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F for 25 to 30 more minutes of baking, until juices are bubbling and thick. Remove from oven to cool completely.
I doctored the Times’ recipe when I made my pie, but I really like your idea of using a cream cheese crust. But we haven’t received more rhubarb in our CSA 🙁
Which edition of Joy of cooking did you use? Mine (copyright 1997) calls for 6 oz cream cheese and 1 1/2 cups of butter. Probably the same difference?
75th Anniversary! It’s the one Erik had in his apartment. But yea, same difference. The cream cheese makes it easier to deal with when rolling out.
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