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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Maple Apple Pie

apple pie slice

I hope all my Canadian readers had a great Thanksgiving weekend!

For the first time in as long as I can remember we spent Thanksgiving in Montreal. There was a very good reason for that; my cousin Ramy got married. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so happy. Carla is wonderful and I am very pleased to call her family. It was a beautiful ceremony, followed by an incredible feast. There was poutine at the midnight sweet table!

Yet I still craved a Thanksgiving dinner. So on Sunday my mom made us a Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixins and I took care of dessert. I went the traditional; apple pie and pumpkin pie. I decided to throw a little twist into the apple pie by using maple sugar. I was hoping for a more pronounced maple flavour, but I don’t think I used enough to get the effect I wanted. Next time I think I’ll put half a cup of maple sugar, though I’ve written the recipe as I made it.

I usually use an all butter crust recipe, but this time I used half butter half shortening. It made a really nice flaky crust, and the bottom held up nicely to the moisture from the apples. Just a note about pie crusts in general, recipes will usually give a quantity of water to add, but depending on where your flour was made and the humidity in the air you may need more or less. In this case I almost doubled the amount of water I normally use. If as you stir with a fork the dough doesn’t come together, add a little more water, then a little more if necessary.

I only have one photo for this post. By the time the pie had cooled there was no light, so I worked some leftover slices the next morning. Unfortunately the sun was so strong that even with diffused light I was getting crazy shadows. Thankfully I got one good photo out !

Sour Cream Pastry

(from Canadian Living)

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, frozen
  • 1/2 cup shortening, frozen
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  1. In a large bowl stir the flour and salt together. Using a box grater, grate the butter and shortening then add them to the flour. Toss the butter and shortening through the flour to cover it, then using your finger tips rub the butter into the flour until a few small pieces of butter/shortening are visible.
  2. Mix the water and sour cream together then pour onto the flour mixture. Stir with a fork until the dough comes together. Add more water if necessary. Using your hands bring the dough together and knead one of two times. Split the dough into 3 balls then flatten them into disks, cover individually with plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Maple Apple Pie
  • 4 cups apples peeled and cored (I used Cortland)
  • 1/2 sugar
  • 1/4 cup fine maple sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp four
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • sugar for sprinkling
  1. Toss the apples with the sugar, maple sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice and flour. Set aside.
  2. Roll out one of the pastry disks till 1/4 inch thick and large enough to cover a 9 inch pie plate. Place the dough in the pie plate then fill with the apples. Dot the apples with the butter. Roll out the second disk and place on top the apples. Trim the edges then roll them in making sure to have a tight seal. Cut some slits into the upper crust, then place the pie in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450F. Whisk the egg yolk with a tablespoon of water, then brush the upper crust with the yolk. Sprinkle some sugar on the the crust (I used a course sugar to prevent burning).
  4. Bake at 450 F for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350F and continue baking for 60-65 minutes.
  5. Let the pie cool for at least 2 hours before serving.
Enjoy!

Good Old Fashioned Apple Pie

My laptop died about a week ago. For the first couple of days I felt completely cut off from the world, despite having a phone that gives me access to Facebook, Twitter and basically the entire internet. I don’t keep a lot of information on my computer, I’ve heard enough identity theft horror stories to know better. I do however keep pictures on it. Lots of them. And I never backed them up. My trips to San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York, and a few random moments in life are all currently in limbo. I know, I know, I should have backed them up, I promise I’ll never make that mistake again. My brother says he might be able to salvage them. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

The loss of these momentos had me very stressed, but I realized there was more to my computer withdrawal than that. I missed blogging. I haven’t been doing this very long, but it seems it’s become an important part of my life. So I decided to pick up a pen and some loose leaf paper and start writing up posts to be retyped once everything was sorted out. I’m probably dating myself by saying this, but there is something very soothing about actually putting my thoughts on paper. I think better with a pen in my hand; I can chew on the cap when I’m stuck, cross things out, draw arrows linking thoughts. I think I might actually keep writing my posts this way. I know it’s a waste of time and paper, but I find it relaxing.

You know what else I find relaxing? Apple pie.

I love the feeling of the dough coming together in my hands, the sense of accomplishment when I roll it into something that resembles a circle, the meditative time spent peeling the apples, and putting my face up to the oven window to watch it brown and bubble. Don’t even get me started on the smell of cinnamon and apples. And the best part, the first bite of crispy flaky crust and the sweet yet tart filling.

Apple Pie

Crust

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups butter, cold
  • 1/4 cup shortening or lard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6-10 tbsp milk, cold (more as needed)

Filling

  • 5 Cortland apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  1. Make the dough. Put the flour and salt in a large bowl. Using a box grater, grate the cold butter and shortening into the flour. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour until it has a crumbly texture. Stir in 5 tbsp of cold milk, keep adding milk until the dough comes together.
  2. Form dough into 2 disks, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Once chilled, roll out one disk until about 1/4 inch thick. Fit the dough into a 9 inch pie plate. Chill.
  4. Make the filling. Toss the apples with the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, flour and cranberries. Pour into pie plate.
  5. Roll out second disk of dough. Place over the pie plate, cut off the excess overhang. Press the edges of the top and bottom crust together making sure the are sealed. Cut air vents into the top crust. Chill for 30 minutes.
  6. Heat the oven to 375. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Enjoy!

American Pie

The celebration of American Cuisine is finally here. Casey of Eating, Gardening, & Living in Bulgaria has invited food bloggers to share what they think American Cuisine is. I thought long and hard about this one, I even asked other bloggers for their opinions. Some people seem to think American cuisine doesn’t exist. I disagree, but I think it suffers from multiple personality disorder. The regional differences in cuisine in the states makes it hard to pinpoint one thing that could be called American cuisine. I think what all of these regional cuisines have in common is that are all looking for ways to innovate an incorporate new techniques and ingredients. I guess that’s what makes them american.

So when it came time to choose something to make I went with I feel is a traditional American meal, Thanksgiving dinner. Since it’s the middle of the summer, and I’m just cooking for myself, I made this a little more low-key than your typical Thanksgiving meal. Instead of roasting a whole bird, I just roasted a turkey breast stuffed with caramalized onions, goat cheese and cranberries (what’s Thanksgiving without cranberries and stuffing?). On the side there was sweet potato hash and roasted carrots.

And of course there was pie. I decided to make a pie with seasonal fruit instead of apple or pumpkin, and after Smitten Kitchen’s description of cherry pie as “epic, iconic, and it even has a metal song dedicated to it“, my choice was clear.

I have to say this pie kicked my butt. My original plan was to use this recipe from the New York Times, which calls for a prebaked crust. I got to work making my favourite crust (all butter, of course). At this point I should specify that it was ridiculously hot the day I made the pie, and I never actually read the recipe instructions. It took forever to make the crust, because I kept having to put all the ingredients back in the fridge to cool (cold ingredients make the best pie crusts). I finally got in all done, chilled and rolled. I put it in the oven and got to work on the filling. After about 15 minutes I took a peak at the crust and realized it shrank, like, a lot. So I stopped the oven and started making more pie crust dough. This time I stuck with the traditional soggy bottomed fruit pie technique, and I have to say it was pretty darn tasty (except for the burnt bits). I actually kinda like the soggy bottom in a fruit pie. And because of the crust do-over it wasn’t ready on time to bring to my parents for dinner, so I had to eat the whole thing all by myself.

Cherry Pie

Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons ice water
  1. Blend together flour, butter, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until most of mixture looks rough and crumbly.
  2. Sprinkle 3 Tbsp ice water evenly over mixture and gently stir with a fork (or pulse) until combined
  3. Press some of the dough together. If it doesn’t hold together add more water.
  4. Form a disk with the dough and chill for at least 4 hours.
  5. Roll out the dough and place in pie plate. Chill again for about 20 minutes.
  6. Save excess dough for topping pie.

Cherry Filling

  • 4 cups pitted cherries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Toss cherries with other ingredients, make sure cherries are well covered.
  2. Pour into chilled pastry dough.
  3. Cover filling with excess dough.
  4. Bake at 375 for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until cherry filling is bubbling.

All in all, I think my american cuisine meal was quite delicious. Thanks again to Casey for hosting the event. Check out her site on July 4th for the round up of what everyone made!

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