Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Pie

I have a confession to make. Although I am well known as a lover of all things pie, up until this May I had never actually tasted a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. Shocking, I know.
My first taste of this classic was at the Old Ebbit Grill in Washington. They had a selection of desserts featuring local strawberries that could not be resisted.

After one bite I knew I had found a new love. The tart rhubarb and sweet strawberries combined to make a perfect almost jam like filling. I wanted more. So as soon as the first local strawberries appeared, I went out and bought a basket. I paid top dollar for these berries ($7 for a litre) but it was totally worth it.

Using Anna Olson’s recipe, I baked my first Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. The crust was crisp and flaky on the edges, but the base got a little soggy. Next time I think I’ll blind bake the crust for a few minutes before adding the filling. The filling was delicious, sweet and tart, just like the slice I had in Washington. Be sure the pie is completely cooled before slicing to ensure that the filling has set.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Adapted slightly from here.

Crust

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, grated
  • 1/4 cup cold shortening, grated
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 to 5 tbsp ice cold water

Filling

  • 4 cups rhubarb, chopped
  • 2 cups strawberries, sliced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • pinch of salt

Crumble Topping

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • pinch of salt
  1. Make the pie crust. In a large bowl mix the flour and salt together. Using a pastry cutter or your finger tips, cut the butter and shortening into the flour until pea sized pieces of butter and shortening are formed. Add the lime juice and 3 tablespoons of ice water. Stir with a fork until the dough comes together, adding more ice water if necessary. Form the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Once chilled, roll out the dough till 1/4 inch thick and large enough to fill a 9 inch pie plate. Place the dough in the pie plate, trim the edges and chill for another 30 minutes. 
  2. Make the filling. While the dough is chilling, mix all the filling ingredients together in a large bowl. Let sit for 30 minutes then pour into to prepared pie crust. 
  3. Make the crumb topping. In a small saucepan, brown the butter. In a small bowl mix the flour, sugar, cardamom and salt together. Pour the browned butter over the flour mixture and stir together. Pour the crumb topping over the pie filling. 
  4. Bake the pie at 400F for 20 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350F and continue baking for another 40 minutes, until the bubbles. The pie may leak, so place a baking sheet underneath the pie plate to avoid a messy oven. 
  5. Let the pie chill completely before serving (at least 3 hours)
Enjoy!
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Apricot Scones

If you’re interested in molecular gastronomy, you need look no further than baking. When cooking the results can be spectacular, but they almost always resemble the original ingredients; a raw steak and cooked steak both look like steak. But when baking flour, sugar, butter and eggs come together to form something that is much more than the some of its parts. I believe that the first person to mix these together and bake a cake was a genius.

Baking is about about proportions; the right combination of ingredients will lead to something magical. Each ingredient plays a part. The flour mixed with liquids form gluten that traps air bubbles and gives baked goods their texture. The sugar sweetens but it also adds air to the batter, contributes to browning and stops the gluten from getting too tough. Butter tenderizes and moistens.

I know all these things.

Yet somehow I still manage to mess things up.

On Sunday I decided to make banana bread. I’ve made banana bread so many times I no longer even look at a recipe. I mixed up all my ingredients put them in the oven and waited. And waited. And waited. The bread never rose, the top never browned. After about an hour and a half (the bread should only have taken an hour) I thought back on my steps and realized I had forgotten the sugar. I kept baking because I thought maybe the sugars in the bananas would somehow save it. They didn’t. When the bread wasn’t cooked through after two hours I gave up.

I’ve made this mistake before and I’m sure I’ll make it again. I wasn’t fazed, just upset at the wasted ingredients.

This morning I got up with the intention of making scones. I found a recipe from a reputable source and gave it a try. I tried even though the voice in my head said it was off. “There’s too much sugar, too much flour, not enough butter” the voice said; I ignored it. “The oven isn’t hot enough” she told me; I didn’t listen. I added more liquid to compensate for the dryness, popped them in the oven and waited. When they came out of the oven they were like overly sweetened hockey pucks.

Another failure. Had a I lost my baking mojo?

I couldn’t let this second failure get to me.

I went through my boxes and found the scone recipe I’ve always used in a pile of papers. As I read it knew this was right. Just enough flour; very little sugar; and a hot, hot oven. I started again.

Thankfully, my baking mojo is not lost. I needed to trust myself, that’s all.

This recipe is a little different than the typical scone recipe, in that it has eggs. This makes them a little more cakey, less biscuit like, but still a little flaky and layered. I used dried apricot in the scones, but anything could be added, raisins, nuts, chocolate chips. They can also be flavoured any way you’d like; spices, lemon zest, rose water.. the possibilities are endless!

Apricot Scones

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar (plus more for sprinkling on tops)
  • 6 tbsp butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1 cup roughly chopped dried apricots
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 F
  2. In a small bowl whisk the eggs and milk together. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add the butter to the dry ingredients, then using your fingertips rub the butter into the flour until there a few pea sized pieces of butter.
  4. Pour the milk into the flour and stir together with a fork until just combined, then stir in the dried apricots. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape into a disk, about 1 inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter or a glass, cut circles of dough and place them on parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  5. Sprinkle the tops of the scones with sugar. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the tops are browned.
  6. Serve with your favourite jam or fruit butter.
Enjoy!