To start, I want you to know that the ONLY thing that I bake is strawberry rhubarb pies.
I do not bake cookies.
I do not bake cakes.
I do not bake gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, paleo, keto cashew cheesecake.
I bake strawberry rhubarb pies. Don't get me wrong. I eat cookies, cakes and probably would eat gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, paleo, keto cashew cheesecake, but I have specifically committed my life to only baking strawberry rhubarb pies.
This may be strange. Most people don't even know what rhubarb is. Heck, I don't even know what rhubarb is. What I do know is that strawberry rhubarb pie is a simple yet delicious dessert that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy.
Step 1: Ingredients
People say that "baking is a science," but nowadays science is fake news. Maybe this is a baking blasphemy, but I am here to tell you that the exact measurement of ingredients in this pie are not that important. Every time I make it, I mix it up a little bit. This means that if you mess up, it's probably still going to taste delicious.
Want your pie to taste more warm and cozy? Add more cinnamon.
Want your pie to be more tart? Increase the ratio of rhubarb to strawberries.
Want a low-calorie, nutritious dessert? Don't eat this pie.
- 3 cups all purpose flour or whatever flour floats your boat
- 2 1/2 sticks (10 oz) butter, chilled I used European cultured
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- chilled water
- 2 1/2 cups (around 700 g) chopped red rhubarb
- 2 1/2 cups (around 700 g) quartered strawberries two punnets was just about right
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 tbsp minute tapioca
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp lemon zest I just zested the whole lemon tbh
- 2 tbsp lemon juice orrrr just juice the whole lemon
- 1/2 stick (2 oz) butter, cubed
- 4 packets (about 20g) turbinado sugar
- 1 egg white, beaten
Step 2: Grating the Butter
I'm not one to be bold, but I think this may be my #1 tip for making pie crust. I have failed at making homemade pie crust numerous times. The crust would end up too wet, too brittle, too warm. Ever since I started grating and freezing the butter, I have not had any issue with my crust.
All you have to do is grate the butter using a cheese grater and then freeze it. I froze my butter overnight.
Step 3: Mixing the Dough
After the butter is sufficiently frozen, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Throw the butter in and begin "cutting" it into the dry ingredients. You can do this using a pasty blender or your hands. Add the apple cider vinegar and begin periodically adding small amounts of the chilled water. Continue working the dough together. Eventually, you will need to abandon the pastry cutter and just use your hands until the dough is well blended.
Flour a hard surface and transfer the dough from the bowl. Knead the dough until it is fully incorporated and does not stick to your hands or the counter. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge.
Not interested in homemade pie crust? You can definitely use pre-made pie crust. If you purchase the kind that is already molded into a pan (like this), just defrost one side a little, roll it out and proceed with STEP 7 to make the lattice.
PRO TIP: While you do not have to rush these steps, you want to ensure that the dough does not get too warm. Cold dough will always be easier to work with.
Step 4: Prepping the Fruit
This step is pretty easy; just cut the fruit into uniform pieces so that they cook at a similar rate. Rhubarb is a very fibrous fruit so I recommend using a relatively sharp knife or else you may end up with some stringy portions. This does not break down when cooked and may create an undesirable texture.
The exact quantities of rhubarb and strawberries is not critical, but I prefer a 1-to-1 ratio.
Like most recipes, fresher ingredients will always make a better pie. I don't always have time to hunt down fresh rhubarb so I often have a bag stored in my freezer. Rhubarb season starts in April and most grocery stores will not have it unless it is in season. If you do use frozen rhubarb, just keep in mind that you will need to sufficiently defrost it and possibly need to cook the pie a bit longer.
PRO TIP: I get my rhubarb at my local farmers market for $3 per pound. I mention the cost because I have seen it as expensive as $13/lb at Whole Foods. That is not a joke.
Step 5: Pre-Heat the Oven
Once you have started prepping the filling, it is a great time to pre-heat the oven to 425°F.
Step 6: Creating the Filling
Mix the prepped fruit, sugar, tapioca, cinnamon, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice in a bowl. That's all.
PRO TIP: Don't juice the lemons directly into the fruit. You may end up losing some lemon seeds amongst the other ingredients. Maybe this is common sense, but I learned the hard way.
Step 7: Rolling Out the Dough
This has always been the hardest step for me, but now that I grate and freeze the butter, it goes quite smoothly.
Lightly flour a work surface. Split the refrigerated dough and place a portion back in the fridge for the lattice. Begin rolling the dough out. I recommend consistently flipping the dough and re-flouring the surface. This will help keep the dough from sticking to the counter.
Once the dough is large enough to cover the pan, gently transfer it and press it into the pan. You will have excess dough. I use scissors to remove it and then save it for potential decorations.
Step 8: Filling the Pie
Pour the filling into the pie crust. You don't want to overflow the crust, but as it cooks, know that the volume will decrease slightly. Add the remaining butter to the top of the filling. If I wanted to make this pie a smidge healthier, I would skip the butter.
Step 9: Creating the Lattice
This is the fun part and where the cold dough really becomes helpful! Repeat Step 6 for rolling out the dough. I then use a ruler and pizza cutter to cut the dough into uniform strips. There are different methods for creating the lattice, but my preferred way is to place one layer of parallel strips. I then fold back the bottom layer in order to add the next layer.
Once the lattice is built, I use scissors to remove the excess. I ended up with quite a bit of extra dough which you can use to add braids or other decorations. I then use a bit of water to connect the lattice to the edge of the crust.
PRO TIP: Don't stretch the dough in order to make it look how you desire. When cooked, the dough will shrink back.
Step 10: Last Touches
To finish off the pie before baking, we want to do an egg white wash. Whisk one egg white and lightly wash the crust. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar on top of the crust and we are ready to bake!
PRO TIP: Don't waste your hard-earned money buying a whole box of turbinado sugar. Stop by Starbucks to get a salted cold foam nitro with two pumps sugar free vanilla syrup. While you are there, snag 3-4 packets of Sugar in the Raw. This is not a joke. I seriously do this.
Step 11: Baking
This pie strongly identifies as juicy. By that I mean that it produces a lot of liquid while cooking. This can get messy, which is why I recommend baking it on a cookie sheet. I line mine with aluminum because the liquid can be very difficult to clean off especially when you have a strong aversion to cleaning.
I don't have strong convictions regarding pie collars but if you would like to use one, you can easily make one with aluminum foil
Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. At this point, I like to remove the collar so that it gets just as golden brown as the rest of the crust. Drop the temp to 375°F and bake for 40-55 minutes. Mine took 50 minutes to bake.
Keep in mind that it could take longer for the fruit to cook if you were using frozen ingredients.
PRO TIP: If you are going to use a pie collar (or make one from aluminum foil) make sure you spray it with cooking spray. Nothing is worse than going to remove the collar and taking half of your beautifully latticed top off as well. Or if you are into taking your top off, you can do that. Whatever works. You do you.
Step 12: Cooling + Serving
When your pie looks beautifully golden brown, it is done an ready to cool. While it is cooling, take lots of pictures of you beautiful creation. Post lots of photos online and make everyone feel inferior because they don't have a beautiful strawberry rhubarb pie. If you are feeling generous, share said pie with your inferiors. Just don't try to serve the pie too soon. Give it time to set.
Step 13: Enjoy!
Don't forget to enjoy your pie!
Now here is the super silly part, I am legitimately trying to gain Linked-In endorsements for my skill of strawberry rhubarb pie (please endorse me). If you are feeling generous, please feel free to connect and endorse me. My dream is to one day have over 100 endorsements.
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