Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Time! – Canyon Updates & Recipe by Loba
What an incredible week of beauty it’s been! The mulberry tree is sprouting leaves and tiny green berries, currant and sumac berries are coming out, and it seems like all the little critters are running around with extra excitement! We’ve spotted many playful young squirrels and rabbits, chipmunks and even some precious little baby rats scrambling around near the river and in the woods. What a delight it’s been to go to the river several times a day and enjoy the welcome warmth of the sand on our bare feet, as well as the shade of the many trees that are fully leafed out. The wind has been absolutely delicious, rising and falling in lovely patterns all day. We love to dance with our sarongs out in the wind! And I love to lie down near the river, close my eyes and just listen to the song of the water mingle with the rustle of the cottonwood leaves. The riversides are covered with pockets of nettles and clover, watercress and mustard– a forager’s dream! Rhiannon and I went for a swim up the beaver dam just before sundown today to check for recent tree damage (which was thankfully minimal), and we were amazed that the deep water was such a pleasant temperature for swimming! We’re looking forward to teaching her some new swimming strokes this summer, and climbing the lookout rock together, and having our annual Yucca Flower Festival very, very soon!
Yesterday, our friend Marc was here and I was so excited for him to get to see the new lodge improvements, and to feed him and give him hugs and so much gratitude for all the amazing help he’s been lately! And today, we celebrated the happiness of a non-native seasonal plant whose presence I’ve been very eagerly awaiting in my kitchen for quite a while. Kiva brought home the most incredible pile of RHUBARB I’ve seen in a LONG time (actually I’ve never had this much in my kitchen at once!) We were babysitting our friend Steven’s adorable 1 1 /2 year old boy while he cut wood for us and worked on shelves for the kitchen, and so it seemed like a perfect day to make pie, while the kids slid around the kitchen floor on pillows being ridiculously cute. Kiva took a break from her student work and emails at just the perfect time, coming over just as I was getting the fruit mixture just right, to give it her official thumbs-up. We liked the pie filling so much, even uncooked, that I made a little extra so we can use it for a topping for yogurt or whatever… or maybe just eat more of it straight from the jar! Highly recommended!
I don’t make these kind of double crust pies that often anymore, but once in a great while, if there’s some crazy amount of peaches or pears or blackberries or rhubarb or something around, the urge to put our beloved rolling pin to use becomes pretty irrepressible. Whatever you do, don’t buy those pre-made poor-excuses-for crust you can buy at the store. Making a good homemade crust is an art, but it’s a very simple art. Not to mention how it ends up looking- and tasting- when mingled with bubbling fruity juices that, in this case, turn into the most joyful pinky-red-rose color imaginable! What could be better? I made a lattice top for the pie, painted it with beaten egg, and sprinkled it with cinnamon sugar before baking it in the woodstove oven. I have to say, eating a warm piece later in the day with real whipping cream, enjoying the incredible color of the fruit on my plate, and the sweet-tart wowie-zowie flavor that seemed to sink into my soul, I felt as close to nirvana as any human could ever be.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
3 cups sliced strawberries
1 1/2 cups rhubarb, cut fairly small
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar
5 tablespoons flour
Extra-Flaky Pie Crust:
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup butter or coconut oil, or a combination
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup water
Make the filling, tasting carefully. You may want to add a little sugar if the strawberries are not very tasty. This amount of sugar works very well for strawberries that are flavorful. But feel free to vary it as you like, substitute honey or whatever. Add the lemon juice slowly, tasting and making sure it seems just right. For me, when it becomes very hard to stop eating the filling, I know it’s done!
For mixing the crust, combine the salt and sugar into the flour, cut the butter or oil into the flour with a pastry cutter or a fork, add the vanilla and water, and gently toss the mixture first with the fork or cutter, then with your floured hands. (if you live in a humid climate, start with 1/4 cup of water, and add more slowly if the dough seems crumbly) Form the dough into a ball and gently roll out, then cut into fourths, pile the pieces on top of each other and roll out again. Repeat a few times if you enjoy that sort of thing, and then divide the dough and roll it out as usual. Or you can just form the dough into two balls and roll out once if you prefer, it will still turn our lovely! Pre-bake the bottom crust for about 10 minutes at about 375 degrees. (Until it’s just shy of being entirely done) This prevents a soggy bottom crust– very important! Then add the filling and top with the second crust, latticing the top crust if you like and/or adding little decorations with bits of dough scraps. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with 3-4 tablespoons of sugar mixed with a slightly heaping 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Bake till the filling has bubbled for at least ten minutes and the crust is golden brown and perfectly irresistable-looking!
Enjoy! And tell me how your pies turn out!
(Feel free to share this and all posts. Photos (c) 2009 by Jesse Wolf Hardin)
Categories: Traditional Foodways