I have been waiting impatiently for strawberry season to begin. Strawberries here are sweet, red jewels bursting with flavour. The season is late in starting where I live due to the cold, wet spring. I have been eyeing my friend's rhubarb plants with the evil plan of relieving her of it when the strawberries come in, so that I could make a Strawberry Rhubarb pie. But the cold, rainy days continued. The rhubarb matured and the strawberries remained infuriatingly green. I made the decision to go ahead with my vegetable larceny. The rhubarb was ruby red, still firm and juicy inside. The stalks snapped off the plant with a quick tug. I trimmed the leaves and they went back on the garden bed under the rest of the plants as mulch for next year.
The crisp scent of the cut stalks foretold the tart brightness of the rhubarb and strawberries together. Balanced with a rich, buttery crust and the tangy-sweet creaminess of the Mascarpone Whipped Cream, I was ready to get this party started!
Just for fun, I made my pies in a muffin pan with a cute lattice-style crust. The instructions here are for a regular, 9-inch pie which is super easy.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter-flavoured shortening, cold, cut into pieces
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
10 tablespoons ice cold water
3 1/2 cups strawberries - cleaned, hulled and sliced
3 1/2 cups rhubarb - cleaned and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/4 cup tapioca starch (tapioca flour)
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon water
To prepare crust:
In a food processor, blend flour, sugar and salt. Add shortening and butter, and mix by pulsing until coarse crumbs are formed. Add water a bit at a time, until a soft dough is formed. I added all 10 tablespoons. If you don't have a food processor, you can use a pastry blender and mix by hand.
Turn dough out onto a floured board and gently form into a ball. Cut ball in half, and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for about an hour or until cold.
To prepare filling:
In a large mixing bowl, gently mix strawberries and rhubarb with both sugars, cinnamon, salt and tapioca flour until combined. Let sit for about 30 minutes. Before adding pie filling to crust, carefully pour off some of the liquid.
Put it all together:
Preheat oven to 400° F.
Roll out one half of the crust dough into about a 13-inch circle. Gently place circle onto a pie plate, allowing crust to hang over the edge. Pour in filling. Roll out second half of crust dough into a circle, and place on top of filling, allowing crust to hang over edge of plate. Using a knife, gently cut off excess dough. Using fingers, crimp edges together to form a seal. Cut slits in the top of pie with knife. Beat egg yolk with water and brush on top of crust.
Bake pie for about 30 minutes, then turn oven down to 350°F and continue baking for another hour to an hour and a half. Pie is done when crust is golden brown and filling has set (filling no longer bubbles up through vents as vigorously).
Mascarpone Whipped Cream
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
To make whipped cream:
Put all ingredients in a bowl and beat on high speed until stiff peaks have formed. Serve immediately.