Pie-making is inherently thoughtful. Not just in technique, but in purpose. Homemade pies elicit memories of laughter with friends on the Fourth of July while watching the endless wonder in the eyes of children. They remind me of neighbors who understand the craziness of life and deliver a pie to remind you that you’re thought of and loved. Pies prompt memories of sitting in the kitchen with a friend, sharing in matchless conversation all because you’ve spent hours recipe-testing.
But today, pies remind me of my husband. Because after spending hours baking pies and developing new recipes in a kitchen that he had cleaned the night before, I was left with two things. 1) An enormous mess, because that’s just how I work. And 2) a headache so massive behind my eyes that I could hardly keep them open. Rather than allowing me to deal with the results of my pie-scapade, he asked me to lie down as he kissed me good-night. And when I awoke in the morning, flour was no longer covering every surface, the dishes were clean, and anything else I managed to misplace was properly stowed. Now, this wasn’t a surprise to me because he is constantly loving me well. And yes, I still felt calm rinse over my soul, love emanate from my heart, and gratitude express itself in my exhale. He makes pies for me everyday–in the way of his boundless servant-like love and thoughtfulness, he reminds me that I am thought of and loved.
Now, let’s get to celebrating the people in our lives and make some pie. If you’ve never had rhubarb before, you’re missing out. It has this unique tartness to it that is perfectly complemented by the sweetness of the strawberries. And once those flavors are melded together in the oven, creating a warm pie filling with an aroma so decadent that I can’t help but be drawn to the kitchen–it’s easy to convince me that they are a better pairing than peanut butter and jelly.
And let’s just talk about this pie crust for a second. So flakey. So buttery. While the filling is amazing, I am continuously reaching for more pie crust–pressing my finger onto the flakes left on my plate, just to have one more taste.
Let’s make this weekend a pie weekend.
A couple of tips to make flawless pie crust: when you’re cutting the fats into the flour mixture, be sure the butter and shortening are super cold! And don’t overwork them into the flour–nobody wants mealy pie pastry. There should be hazelnut sized solid pieces of fat in the mixture. See that? And check out this glorious ball of dough–notice those chunks of butter? That’s what you want. Proceed for pie perfection!
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Place butter and shortening in the freezer for about ten minutes. While butter and shortening are getting a bit colder, mix properly measured and sifted flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add cold vegetable shortening and cold diced butter. Using a pastry blender, cut the fats into the flour until the fat is about the size of hazelnuts or lima beans. At this point, using a rubber spatula, add the ice water one teaspoon at a time. Stir the water into the mixture a couple of times after each addition. Repeat until all water has been added to the flour-butter mixture. For a while it may not seem like much is happening, but while adding the last several teaspoons of water, you’ll see the dough beginning to come together. Once the water is added, form the dough into a ball–do not overwork the dough as it will become tough. Once the dough has been formed into a ball, split in half. Form each half into a ball and gently press down to create a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a minimum of one hour or up to overnight (I usually refrigerate for 6-8 hours). Refrigerating allows for water absorption and firms the fat, keeping it from smearing into the dough which means better flakiness!
Preheat oven to 425º. Lightly grease a nine-inch pie pan with vegetable shortening, set aside. In a small bowl, whisk egg and one teaspoon of water together to make egg wash, set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disc of pie dough into an 11-inch circle. Line pre-greased pie pan with rolled-out pie dough. Use kitchen shears to trim excess pie dough from the edges. Lightly brush the pie dough lining the bottom of the pan with egg wash. This thin, egg wash layer will help separate the filling from the crust, allowing for a more crispy and less soggy pie crust.
Combine strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, and flour in a large bowl. Mix well so that berries are coated in the flour and sugar. Add filling to lined pie pan. Top filling with 4-5 pats of butter.
Roll out second dough disc into an 11-inch circle. You can either top the pie with the dough as is, sealing and crimping the crusts together, brushing with egg wash, and adding a couple small slits for ventilation, or you can make a lattice. To make a lattice, I use a ruler for even ribbons. Place the ruler on top of the pie dough and run a knife along the side of the ruler. Move the ruler over so that one edge is lined up with the cut you just made, now run the knife along the other side of the ruler. You will be left with one ruler-width ribbon. Repeat with remaining dough, you’ll need about 10-12 ribbons. Now the fun part–weaving the dough to create the lattice. It is much simpler than it looks! Check out this super helpful video from Saveur to learn how.
After you’ve made your lattice, brush lightly with the egg wash. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Be sure to cover the edges using tin foil or a pie shield about twenty minutes into baking to avoid burnt edges. Once baked, allow to cool for about ten minutes before serving. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. This pie is amazing both hot and cold. Enjoy!
Coming soon… mini-pies! ❤️