We were at the Farmer’s Market on the weekend and found some lovely fresh rhubarb…. so of course pie must be made!
My mother is a pie expert. I’ve probably told you this before, but she made pie a LOT … seemed like every day.. after all, Dad needed his breakfast pie.. not to mention lunch and dinner pie… but then he got the high cholesterol and all that pie eating came to an end. Good thing as I think my mother was getting awfully tired ….but I digress.
My mother made various types of pie.. lots of apple pies, peach, blueberry… and during the summer she’d make rhubarb once our neighbour Cam’s rhubarb was ripe. Cam had a huge lot of it (are they bushes.. ?? not sure the proper terminology)… it was behind her garage and we were welcome to come and pick some when we needed it. Of course, my sister and I and some of our friends used this as an excuse to go pick and snack on the rhubarb. FUN FACT: do you know you have to yank out the rhubarb rather than cut the stalk or it doesn’t grown back? Crazy!!
ANYWAY, I’m not sure in retrospect if a) this was actually allowed and b) if maybe I just went and did this by myself (I was very young)… but picking rhubarb was an excuse to get a dish of brown sugar and sit in the rhubarb patch and lick the rhubarb, dip it in sugar and eat it. Or maybe I just licked it off my rhubarb spoon. Hmmmm….
The point is that rhubarb is tart and so as to avoid a boatload of sugar it’s nice to pair it with a sweeter fruit like strawberries… so here’s a pie recipe for ya.
- One pastry recipe
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 4 cups diced rhubarb
- 3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 6 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca (see notes on thickening below…)
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- Preheat oven to 400 °F .
- Line a pie pan with bottom crust.
Mix together rhubarb, strawberries, orange zest, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and tapioca. Spoon into crust.
- Roll out second crust, and place over the filling or cut dough into strips and make lattice top. Seal the edges. Brush with milk, and sprinkle extra sugar on top.
- Bake at 400 °F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 °F , and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
Thickening agents: Cornstarch vs. tapioca vs. flour
Some people have their preferences.. I tend to use cornstarch for the most part but have also used tapioca (I find it works well in juicier pies, specifically raspberry…) Tapioca also often looks nicer and lends a shine to the fruit.
For a lattice or open-faced pie, use a little less thickening than for a double crust pie, because more of the liquid will evaporate during the baking process. Also, if you’re serving soon after taking it out of the oven, you may want to add a little more thickener… if you’re going to let it cool completely, just add the recommended amount… cornstarch in particular continues to thicken. Just depends on how thick or runny you like the fruit in your pie.
The average amount of cornstarch is one tablespoon per cup of fruit.
If you want to experiment with tapioca or flour, they are equal to cornstarch by weight but not by volume:
1 tablespoon of cornstarch or fine tapioca = 4 teaspoons of wheat flour.
1 tablespoon of flour = 2 1/2 teaspoons plus 1/4 teaspoon of cornstarch or tapioca