strawberry rhubarb weekend!

strawberry rhubarb weekend!

Last Saturday, we finally had a reprieve from the near-constant stream of rain and clouds that have been glowering and pissing over the city lately, and Kenan and I took the opportunity to take a leisurely walk down to the farmer’s market, where we ran across some lovely rhubarb at Red Jacket.  I didn’t actually have any baking plans in the works, but after seeing the rhubarb in all its red n’ green glory, and considering the sudden hint of summer in the weather, I decided that it might be a good time for pie.  I would even have a venue in which to present said pie, as we were going to dinner on Sunday at Kenan’s dad’s apartment.

The combination of strawberries and rhubarb is pretty much my favorite, but I find most strawberry rhubarb pies to be a little too sweet, whereas I prefer to let the flavor and tartness of the rhubarb shine through at least a little.  After some hemming and hawing, I settled on an Emeril Lagasse recipe (don’t judge; the guy’s a good cook), which included a bit of rum in the filling and an almond-brown sugar crumb topping.  And although he provides a recipe for crust which I’m sure works great, I went with something I came across quite awhile ago on allrecipes (both of the recipes are at the bottom of the post), which is simple, reliable, and makes enough crust for four 8″ – 10″  crusts (you can freeze the rest if you’re not going to use it all at once).  The crust recipe calls for shortening, but I always use butter, as it provides a richer and more flavorful crust and, in my opinion, a better backdrop for pie.  However, if you want something super flaky, go with shortening, or a combination of the two.


We were up early Sunday morning preparing for a breakfast burrito brunch with our friends Chris and Jodi.  I took advantage of some extra time to fetch the rest of the pie fixings and prepare the crust.  I used a food processor to do the dough – or rather, I used the food processor after some frustration and foot-stamping before I got it to work (I’m not so good with directions).  My dough may have been *slightly* overmixed as a result, so be careful if you’re also using a food processor or mixer.

After setting up the crust to hang out in the fridge for awhile, we lingered over brunch with Chris and Jodi, who had brought along their little long-haired daschund, Badger.  Midnight thought that was bullshit, and hid under the bed the whole time.

That done, it was time to proceed with the rest of the pie.  The recipe has you cook the rhubarb and the strawberry in a large pan with some butter, sugar, flour (thickener) and lemon juice (brings out the flavor of the fruit after it’s cooked).  After everything has been simmering happily away for awhile, you add rum and flame it for a bit.  In theory, that’s what I would have done, too, only there were some slight complications; owing to my unwillingness to look things up before I do them and general spazzitude – again, not so good with directions – we couldn’t get the flaming to work.  I later realized that the problem was just that the filling wasn’t up to flaming temperature (175 degrees).  It was no biggie, however, so I set the filling aside for cooling and prepared the topping.

Because very little of the liquid was cooked off in the non-existent flaming process, or maybe because the recipe just makes a lot of filling, the pan was a little overloaded, which led to some dripping action in the stove.  This made me fretful and anxious, so I stood (sat) watch over it for a while.  In the end, though, it turned out pretty darned well.  It was pretty, and smelled great.  Now it was time to take it out dancing (or to dinner. Whatever).

eatin’ time.

Going to Kenan’s dad’s house is always a hoot.  There are delicious drinks, good conversation and, er… enlightened entertainment (see above). After dinner, which totally rocked per usual, it was time for pie, and it went over quite well.  I was relatively pleased with the result, with a few reservations.  The filling was tangy and delicious, and the crust was toothsome and rich, but the bottom crust of the pie was ever so slightly soggy.  I think perhaps I didn’t cool off the filling enough before I filled it, which might have melted the fat in the crust a little.  I’d like to try the whole thing again to see if I can get the filling to flame, and also see if that makes any difference in the finished product.

So anyhow, here are the recipes:

Pie Crust (courtesy Allrecipes)

all-purpose flour 4 cups
butter (or shortening) 1 3/4 cups
white sugar 3 tablespoons
salt 2 teaspoons
egg 1
cold water 1/2 cup

In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, butter, sugar, and salt. If using a mixing bowl, blend together with a pastry cutter until crumbly. If using a food processor, pulse 7-8 times or until crumbly.

Separately in a small bowl, mix together the egg with the water. Blend into flour mixture. Chill at least 1 hour in refrigerator or until ready to use.

After the crust has chilled, roll dough out and place in pie pan. Crimp sides, prick the crust several times on the bottoms and sides with the tines of a fork, cover, and chill in refrigerator while preparing the filling.

Emeril Lagasse’s Rhubarb and Strawberry Pie with Almond Crumb Topping

unsalted butter 7 tablespoons
sugar 1 cup
1 lemon, juiced
strawberries, hulled and sliced 2 pounds
rhubarb, roots trimmed, cut 1/4″ thick 2 pounds
rum 1/4 cup
sliced almonds 1 cup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large saute pan over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Add the sugar, 1/2 cup of the brown sugar, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of the flour. Stir the mixture for 1 minute to dissolve the sugars. Add the rhubarb and cook 4 to 6 minutes. Add the strawberries and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Add the rum and flame the mixture. Saute for 1 minute. Mix thoroughly and remove from heat, setting aside to cool. In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining butter, brown sugar, flour, and the sliced almonds. Using your hands, blend until the mixture has a crumb-like texture. Pour the filling into the chilled pie shell (if there is too much filling, reserve some of it – you don’t want to overload the pie pan; that leads to dripping). Sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake 45 minutes, or until crust and topping are golden brown. Cool before serving.

photos by boy blue.

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2 notes

  1. angarade says:

    yum yum i wish i had been around to try this one! i’ve have some sad stalks of rhubarb in the fridge that could use some old-fashioned pie-love. and i’m curious to try your crust with a hearty flour. i have a great stone-milled whole wheat (withonly 20% bran) but it’s a bread flour – do you think that might work?

  2. […] see you at the farmer’s market, all brightly colored and stalky and tempting. I’ve done rhubarb pie before on this ‘blog, but I was thinking it might be delicious to do something slightly […]

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