Today is the first day of July, that glorious time of summer when farmers’ markets are flush with delicious fresh fruit. Rhubarb ripens early, the advantage of being the stalk of a plant rather than the more complex fruit, but berries are usually close behind. Here in New England, the strawberry season is just ending, unless you are lucky enough to have everbearing strawberries, and the raspberry season is just getting started. So this is the ideal time to experiment with pies.
I confess: raspberry rhubarb is my number one, all-time favorite pie, especially with a nice dollop of ice cream on top. I know not everyone likes raspberries (you know who you are), and I can respect that, especially since that leaves more raspberries for me. So this recipe is flexible, allowing you to use as much of either berry as you like. The goal is to have around 5.5 to 6 cups of fruit total for a 9-inch pie, 6 to 7 cups for a 10-inch pie. You can also adjust the amount of sugar you use depending on how tart you like it. For a very tart pie, use just 3/4 cup. For a rather sweet pie, use 1.5 cups. And you want a nice flaky, buttery crust to complement the tartness of the fruit.
For some unfathomable reason, I haven’t ever posted my crust recipe, so let’s start with that. This is my mother’s recipe, and it’s actually a quiche crust recipe, but it is so very, very good that I use it for nearly every pie I make. The critical thing is to never touch the crust with your hands. Use a fork or a dough blender, but keep the dough nice and cold. That’s how it stays flaky.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, lightly scrambled
- 1 Tablespoon vinegar
- 1.5 cups butter/vegetable shortening/coconut oil (but really, butter is best)
- 7 Tablespoons ice water
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Blend in butter/shortening. Combine wet ingredients separately and add to flour mixture. Mix well without touching the crust with your fingers, adding ice water as needed until the crust is still crumbly but largely sticks together. Roll to about 1/8-inch thickness. Makes two crusts.
Now for the pie:
Strawberry Raspberry Rhubarb Pie
- Two pie crusts
- 3-4 cups chopped rhubarb
- 1-2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
- 1-2 cups fresh raspberries
- 3/4 to 1.5 cups sugar
- 4 Tablespoons corn starch
- 2 teaspoons dried orange peel or fresh orange zest
- Optional: one egg white
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9- or 10-inch pie plate with one pie crust. Combine all fruit, sugar, corn starch, and orange zest in a bowl, stirring to coat fruit thoroughly. Pour into pie plate and distribute evenly. Cover with remaining pie crust and crimp together edges. Slash the top crust several times to allow filling to vent. If desired, brush top crust with egg white for shiny finish. Place on a baking sheet in oven and bake for about an hour or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Remove and allow to cool 10-15 minutes before serving or filling will not set (though it will be no less delicious if it’s runny). Serve hot or cold with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.