Oh, summertime. This pie brings up all sorts of childhood memories: picking strawberries with my sisters, getting the rhubarb out from my mom’s enormous garden. It is true, in fact, that summer is here.
This pie was everything I had hoped it would be: tart, tangy, and extra ooey-gooey (hence the “messy, yet rustic” photograph). The crust was super flaky and buttery. And while my pastry art may not be a strong point, I don’t think anyone cared about what it ultimately looked like-it just tasted really good.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds rhubarb, ends trimmed, peeled if the outer layer is especially fibrous, and cut into 1-inch pieces (5-6 cups)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 recipe Basic Pie Dough (see below)
Flour for dusting the work surface
3 tablespoons arrowroot
1 1/2 pounds strawberries, hulled and quartered (about 5 cups)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons grated orange zest from 1 orange (optional)
1 egg white, slightly beaten
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. Add the rhubarb and 1/4 cup of the sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until the rhubarb has shed most of its liquid but is still firm, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large plate and refrigerate until cool.
2. Remove one piece of dough from the refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable). Roll the dough on a lightly floured work surface or between 2 large sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap in a 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate by rolling the dough around the rolling pin and unrolling over the pan. Working around the circumference of the pan, ease the dough into the pan corners by gently lifting the edge of the dough with one hand while gently pressing into the pan bottom with the other hand. Leave the dough that overhangs the lip of the pie plate in place; refrigerate until needed.
3. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, place a rimmed baking sheet on it, and heat the oven to 500 degrees.
4. In a small bowl, mix together 3/4 cup of the sugar, the arrowroot, and salt. In a large bowl, toss together the strawberries, cooled rhubarb, vanilla, and orange zest (if using). Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the top and stir to combine. Spoon the fruit evenly into the pie shell and pack lightly. Roll out the second piece of dough to a 12-inch circle; place it over the filling. Trim the edges of the top and bottom dough layers to 1/2 inch beyond the pan lip. Tuck this rim underneath itself so that the folded edge is flush with the pan lip. Flute the edge or press with fork tines to seal. Cut 8 slits in the dough top. If the pie dough is very soft, place in the freezer for 10 minutes. Brush the top of the crust with the egg white and sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar.
5. Place the pie on the hot baking sheet and lower the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Bake until the top crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Rotate the pie from front to back and reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees; continue baking until the juices bubble and the crust is deep golden brown, 30-35 minutes longer. Cool the pie on a wire rack until room temperature, 3-4 hours, before serving.
Basic Pie Dough
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; plus more for dusting the work surface
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
6-8 tablespoons ice water
1. Process the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor until combined. Add the shortening and process until the mixture has the texture of coarse sand, about 10 seconds. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture; cut the butter into the flour until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles course crumbs, with butter bits no larger than small peas, about ten 1-second pulses. Turn the mixture into a medium bowl.
2. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture. With a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix. Press down on the dough with the broad side of the spatula until the dough sticks together, adding up to 2 tablespoons more ice water if the dough will not come together. Divide the dough into 2 balls and flatten each into a four-inch disk. Warp each in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days, before rolling.
Barely Adapted from Baking Illustrated-The Practical Kitchen Companion for the Home Baker, by the Editors of Cooks Illustrated