Monday, August 15, 2011
The Mixing Bowl
By Renee Zarate
I had never tasted a rhubarb pie until last summer when someone asked me to bake them one using their family recipe. Oh…. My….Goodness! Rhubarb is very tart by itself but when combined with fruit such as strawberries or raspberries and a good amount of sugar it is truly wonderful. A scoop of vanilla ice cream is perfect with this. If you have ever hesitated using rhubarb why not give it try. Just a reminder: only the rhubarb stalks are edible, never eat rhubarb leaves, cooked or raw, they are toxic.
You can use a purchased pie crust or make this one:
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup Crisco
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup ice cold water
Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Filling
2 cups (one 16 ounce container) of frozen, sweetened strawberries
2 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 ¼ cups sugar (if your berries are unsweetened you may wish to add an extra ½ cup of sugar)
1/3 cup flour, less 1 Tablespoon
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Make the pastry:
Mix the flour and salt together with a fork in a large bowl. Cut the shortening and the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender until it resembles small peas. Slowly add the ice water until all the dough is moist and can be gathered into a ball. Divide the dough in two, press each half into a disc shape, wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. Roll the bottom crust out first and line a 9 inch pie pan with it. Refrigerate this while you roll out the second disc which will be the top crust or you can use it to make lattice for the top crust.
Mix the fruit filling ingredients together in a medium bowl and pour into the prepared pie crust. Cover with the top crust, cut vent holes, flute edges and paint the top with a little milk. Sprinkle one tablespoon of sugar over the top.
Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes then reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 45 minutes until the crust is brown and the fruit is tender. You may want to bake the pie on a cookie sheet in case the juices overflow. Allow the pie to cool for several hours before cutting it.
This year I only entered 2 pies. A traditional New England Apple Pie and a Strawberry-Rhubarb pie. I am going to post both of those recipes on my blog today. I found the quest for the perfect apple pie to be much harder than I ever thought it would be. I do think I finally have a simple straightforward recipe that works. I think the judge this time thought so too. I got a first place ribbon for both pies and a Best of Show for the apple pie. The judge did suggest that next time I add a Granny Smith apple to the mix, which I will gladly do. The rhubarb pie is so old fashioned I decided to write my Mixing Bowl column based on that recipe.
Traditional Apple Pie
Makes one double crust 9 inch pie
2 Cups flour
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup of Crisco
2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/3 cup of iced water
10 crisp, tart apples (I used 5 Macouns and 5 Braeburns)
½ - ¾ cup white sugar (depending on tartness of apples)
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon boiled apple cider
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 Tablespoon flour
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
Make the pastry:
- Mix the flour and salt together with a fork in a large bowl.
- Cut the shortening and butter into the flour with a pastry blender until mixture resembles small peas.
- Slowly add the ice water a tablespoon at a time until the dough is moist and can be gathered together into a ball.
- Divide the dough in two and press each half into a disc shape.
- Wrap dough discs in plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or longer.
- Roll the bottom crust out first and line a 9 inch pie pan. Refrigerate while you roll out the second disc, use this for the top crust.
- Pare core and slice the apples.
- Combine the sliced apples in a large bowl with the sugars, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour.
- Fill the prepared pie crust with the apple mixture making sure the center is mounded a little higher.
- Dot the surface with 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Place rolled upper crust on top, flute edges and cut vent holes.
- Bake at 425 degrees for the first 15 minutes then reduce oven heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 45 minutes until crust is brown and apples are tender when tested with a skewer. If the pie is browning too much or too quickly, cover with a sheet of aluminum foil.