In springtime, Strawberry-Rhubarb rivals apple for most popular pie.
Of course, once the rhubarb is up, it is hard to wait the extra few weeks for the local strawberries to pair it with. Don’t be tempted to cheat with off-season berries from Mexico or South America. It takes a flavorful, field-ripened berry to stand up to rhubarb.
But first, start with the All-Butter Pie Dough. This is the most important recipe at Hoosier Mama Pie Company. It is the secret to 90 percent of the pies we make, both sweet and savory. New bakers aren’t considered full members of the pie team until they master it.
All-Butter Pie Dough
Makes 1 double-crust pie or 2 single-crust pies
- 1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes. Freeze 5 tablespoons for 20 minutes or overnight; chill the remaining 1 1/8 sticks in the refrigerator until ready to use.
2. Stir the red wine vinegar into the cold water and set aside.
3. Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 5 or 6 times to combine.
4. Add the chilled butter and mix for 25 to 30 seconds, until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
5. Add the frozen butter and pulse 15 to 20 times, until the butter is in pea-sized pieces.
6. Add 6 tablespoons of the vinegar water and pulse 6 times. The dough should start to look crumbly. Test the dough by squeezing a small amount in the palm of your hand. If it easily holds together, it is done. If not, add 1/2 tablespoon of the vinegar water and pulse 3 more times. Repeat this process as needed until the dough holds together.
7. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead together until smooth; dough should never come together in the food processor.
8. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts and roll each into a ball. Flatten the balls slightly and wrap separately in plastic wrap. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator until ready to use, at least 20 minutes but preferably overnight. (Note: Once the dough is rested, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 1 week.)
Makes one 9-inch pie
- 1 double-crust All-Butter Pie Dough shell (recipe above)
- 4 cups rhubarb, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup Japanese-cut strawberries (see instructions below)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- Pinch kosher salt
- Crust Dust (1/2 tablespoon each of flour and sugar, combined), for sprinkling
- Pie Wash (1 tablespoon each of milk and cream, combined), for brushing the top of the pie
- Coarse-grained sugar, for sprinkling
1. Combine the rhubarb and strawberries in a large bowl.
2. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small bowl. Pour over the fruit and toss until evenly coated.
3. Sprinkle Crust Dust into the empty pie shell.
4. Pour the rhubarb and strawberries into the crust, making sure to scrape out any dry ingredients that stick to the side of the bowl. Gently smooth the pie filling with a spatula.
5. Finish the pie according to the double-crust instructions, then freeze for at least 20 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
7. Brush the top of pie with Pie Wash and sprinkle liberally with coarse-grained sugar.
8. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, rotating 180 degrees every 20 minutes, until the crust is dark golden brown and the juices are bubbling thickly through the vents.
9. Cool for at least 3 hours before slicing. (Note: The unbaked pie can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 week. The baked pie can be stored at room temperaturefor up to 2 days and in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)
Pastry chef Gale Gand taught this method to my former boss, Della Gossett, who taught it to me. I’ve never seen anyone else use it. With a little practice, it is a very fast way of slicing strawberries, and it ensures that each slice has a little bit of each part of the berry.
Rinse the berries under cold running water, then pat dry with paper towels or air dry. Cut straight across the top of the fruit, removing the stem and any “white shoulders” from the top of the berry. Next, place the berry cut-side down on a cutting board. Holding a paring knife at a 45-degree angle, slice diagonally through the strawberry. Rotate the berry a quarter turn counter-clockwise and make another cut. Repeat until the berry is sliced into bite-sized pieces.
Recipe by Hoosier Mama Pie‘s Paula Haney; Photo by Dan Zemans