When I was growing up my father grew rhubarb in his garden. My mother would fix a strawberry and rhubarb pie this time of year when the strawberries were plentiful. I never liked it as a child but I always feel wistful when I would think of the smells and watching my mom prepare it.
Recently I was at Whole Foods in Annapolis and there was rhubarb, cleaned and available by the stalk. On a whim I purchased some and decided to check for some recipes. I couldn’t find one that was simple to make. I modified the best of each and it turned out to be delicious!
Crust: prepare your favorite recipe or use a refrigerated 2 pack of pastry dough, room temperature
1 1/2 cups rhubarb, washed and sliced into about 1/3 inch pieces (use several stalks of fresh rhubarb, not too thick so that they are tender)
3 1/2 cups strawberries, trimmed, washed well, and sliced (try to select ripe berries that are not bitter) In addition, reserve about 10 strawberries for the last step
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon of lemon zest (grated finely, use an organic lemon if available)
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter chilled and cut into small cubes
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Use a 9″ pie plate and roll out to about 11 inches or unfold your crust into the bottom of the pie plate. Press it gently into the pie plate and place in the freezer while you prepare the filling (no more than 10 -15 minutes)
Mix the strawberries and rhubarb with the sugar, cornstarch, and lemon zest in a bowl large enough to fold it thoroughly.
Get the pie plate with the crust from the freezer and using a fork, poke several times on the bottom of the pie crust to ensure no large bubbles in the crust when baked.
Pour the strawberries and rhubarb mixture into the uncooked crust. Dot with the small cubes of butter across the top of the pie filling.
Lay out the second pie crust on a board, slicing into strips about 3/4 inch wide. Create a lattice pattern on the top of the filled pie. With a dampened finger, rim the crust and gently use your fingers to create a ribbon effect along the outside crust.
Brush milk over the crust.
Slice the reserved strawberries and place around the perimeter of the pie as a decorative touch. This is optional but enhances the attractiveness of the pie.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the pie on the baking sheet.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 450 degrees.
Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 45 minutes. Check that the crust is golden brown and that the filling is bubbling and has no running liquid. If there is still liquid, continue to bake and check frequently. Remove when firm. Do not let it get too dry. One of the problems with strawberry pies is that the pie can be runny.
Remove from the oven and cool on a rack before serving.