Monday, June 4, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I will be the first to admit that I have mild obsession, okay a HUGE obsession with rhubarb. It's not something I grew up eating and only really experienced about a year ago, but boy do I love it. You think I'd be totally opposed to it since it pretty much looks like red celery - I do not go anywhere near celery. Unless it's cooked in a soup. Then I'll eat it. I shouldn't say I wouldn't eat it,  I just choose not to. It's stringy and tastes nasty. Not as nasty as cucumbers though. Cucumbers are something I will never ever ever eat.

Okay, I am off my celery and cucumber rant now. Sorry, I get on tangents easily. Back to pie! The first time I had strawberry rhubarb pie was last August in Bodega Bay. OMG was it so good. You can read all about it during our family trip here. That pie was so good that I've always wanted to try to replicate it somehow. I knew I would never be able to make it the same, but I was willing to try to get close. This pie had a delicate, but slightly sweet crust and a delicious pecan crumb topping. There is something about the crumb topping that just puts it over the edge. Of course you can do a double crust, but I think the pecans and brown sugar add that something special. Something special that will make you fall in looooove with it. It will also make you just want to eat the filling straight from the pie with a spoon. No I did not do that, but I totally wanted to. I don't think my family would have just liked to have crust for dessert.

When I was finally ready to make this pie, I could not find rhubarb anywhere. I must have gone to ten different stores and was even ready to buy it online when I went to one of my local stores and boom, it was there. I couldn't believe it. A mile away from my house and within walking distance! Perhaps it was a sign? I think it was meant to be. It was so meant to be. I already had pie crust ready to go in the fridge so all I had to do was roll it out and mix up the pie filling. Just make sure not to skimp on the minute tapioca. This is very important for the thickness and consistency of the filling. You can find this near the pudding and gelatin in the baking isle. At least that is where I found mine. Took me a few times up and down the isle, but I found it. I am willing to bet your store will have it too. It's not as strange as it seems.

After baking and making a huge mess (make sure to put the pie on a foil lined cookie sheet!), the pie looked beautiful. The real test came with the taste- it was sweet, tart and the perfect combination of strawberry and rhubarb. Although it was not like the one we picked up in Bodega Bay, it was pretty darn good. For those who are afraid of rhubarb or don't like it (Dean!), give this pie a try. I promise you'll like love it! Perfect for summer, perfect for BBQ's, perfect any time. Pie makes everyone happy. At least it made me happy and everyone else that tried it!

the line up - the tapioca is in the red box.

see, doesn't rhubarb look like celery?

mixing the pie filling

filling into the crust

crumb topping (the best part!)

because the crust doesn't have enough butter already, dot the top of the pie with more butter. Paula Deen would be proud!

look at all that mile high topping!

cover the crust with foil to prevent over browning or burning

this is why you line your pan with foil. shoot, this is why you use a pan - you do not want that all over your oven.

mmmm, pie!
 Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (slightly adapted from Food Network)

2 1/2 cups chopped red rhubarb, fresh
2 1/2 cups washed and cut strawberries (in larger pieces)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons minute tapioca
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons butter, cubed small 

 Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup  flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
3 tbsp butter

Mix the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, tapioca, flour, zest and juice of lemon, dash of cinnamon, and vanilla. Mix well in a large bowl and pour out into chilled crust. Dot the top of the filling with the butter. To make the topping combine all ingredients in a small bowl and combine together using a pastry blender (or two forks, or just your hands). Mix until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Cover the pie with the topping making sure you cover all the fruit. Place the pie on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Make sure to cover the crust with foil to ensure that you don't burn or over brown the edges. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Decrease temperature to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 45 to 50 minutes, or until the filling starts bubbling. Let cool completely before serving.

My favorite way to eat it - a big 'ol slice topped with brown butter ice cream. The flavor combo is killer and the ice cream always leaves people saying "what flavor is that!"


  1. Looks tasty! I have never had rhubarb, but since it looks like we really dislike the same things (cucumbers are the devil - do you feel the same about melons?) I'll have to try it this summer.

  2. oooh, yes, melons are just as bad as cucumbers! well, maybe not as bad, but I definitely steer clear of melon (watermelon is the worst of all three)! I think I'd rather have a bite of honeydew than a bite of cucumber - if I had to choose in an emergency situation.