Strawberry season makes North Carolina people happy, and with good reason. At this point in the heart of May, farmer’s markets tend to have a bountiful supply such that even the tardy-arriving market-goers have a good chance of finding sweet ripe strawberries, enough to eat, sprinkle on cereal, cook into jam, and bake into pies. You can find pick-your-own strawberry patches as well, here in Piedmont North Carolina, though I confess to having offered grateful prayers to the people who’ve gone in there and done the picking by the time I go looking for a berry supply.
Rhubarb grows happily in this area, but since I needed to bake my pies last night, I sought out rhubarb at my local Whole Foods, and they had lovely red stalks galore. Ripe rhubarb varies in its redness, ranging from an avocado-green to lipstick-red, and while the flavor isn’t affected, the red color does add eye-candy. When paired with strawberries as in this pie, you’ll get red-gorgeousness aplenty, regardless of what your rhubarb brings to the pastry. This is a tic-tac-toe-board pie, not a proper lattice-top pie, since carefully criscrossing and interweaving the pastry strips is something I admire greatly in others but cannot actually do with great skill. Nobody complained, and this pie disappeared at this morning’s Triangle Food Bloggers First Annual Bake Sale to benefit Share Our Strength. Great cause, great company from my fellow food-folk, and great goodies. More on that to come…
Nancie’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie
Pastry for a 9-inch double-crust pie
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups chopped fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch chunks (about 1 pound)
2 cups hulled and chopped fresh strawberries, cut into 1-inch chunks
(1 pint, about 8 ounces)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/4-inch chunks
Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a 9-inch pie pan with crust, leaving a 1-inch overhang.
In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt, and use a fork or a whisk to stir them together well. Add the rhubarb, strawberries, and lemon juice and mix very gently using a large spoon. Scrape the mixture into the piecrust, and distribute the butter bits evenly over the strawberry-rhubarb filling. Top the filling with a lattice crust; or simply lay out a tic-tac-toe crust, placing strips in one direction, and then laying the other-directional strips on top of the first batch.
Place the pie on a baking sheet to catch spills, and place it on the bottom rack of the oven. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes, and then lower the temperature to 350 degrees. Bake until the pink filling bubbles up and the pastry is golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes more. Place the pie on a cooling rack or a folded kitchen towel and let it cool for at least 15minutes. Serve it warm or at room temperature.
Makes one 9-inch pie
I’ve made this using frozen fruit, both the strawberries and the rhubarb, with great results. If using frozen, don’t defrost — chop any gigantic chunks of fruit while they are still frozen, or just leave them whole. Don’t worry if your rhubarb isn’t fire-engine red— the flavor will be there and it’s a fantastic pie, no matter what.