The most important part of a pie is the crust. If the crust is crap it isn't even worth eating. And my mother, the pie master, has always been very particular about her crust! It shouldn't be flavorful - that's what the filling is for. But it should be light and flaky. So, the crust recipe that I use is absurdly simple!
- 2 1/4 cups flour - pie master tip - the fresher the flour the better! Either a bag that has just been opened or keep your flour in an air tight container
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup shortening
- 8-10 tablespoons ice cold water - put it in a bowl with a few ice cubes and let it sit so it is literally ice cold
First mix your flour and salt together. Then you're going to use a pastry cutter to incorporate the shortening into the dry ingredients. I like the sticks of shortening because I can cut them into little cubes before adding them to the dry ingredients.
Next you'll start adding the ice water. I usually add 4 tablespoons, mix with a wooden spoon, then add another four tablespoons and start incorporating it with my hands. If you live in a super humid climate you may not even need the 8 tablespoons. The less water you use, the better your crust will be! We live in a desert form of Hades and I still only needed 9 tablespoons. Only add water until you can roll the dough into a ball and it stays together well so it can be rolled out.
My mom was a master at rolling out pie crusts. She'd divide the dough in half, and with a few swipes of a rolling pin her dough would be in two perfect circles. I'm not quite that good yet so I cheat to start mine out. I actually put it between two pieces of parchment paper to start rolling it out into a circle...
Then, to transfer it into the pie pan, I roll it up on the rolling pin and then unwind it onto the pan...
While I make the filling I keep the other half of the dough in the fridge to keep it cold and I start to pre-heat my oven to 400 degrees.
- For the filling you need 6 cups of fruit - I like 3 cups of chopped up strawberries and 3 cups of chopped up rhubarb but you can adjust the proportions any way you like
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Mix together the fruit, sugar, tapioca, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Let it sit so it gets all juicy and beautiful for at least 10 minutes before transferring it to the pie pan.
Next you'll roll out the other half of the pie crust just like you did with the first half then transfer the filling into the dish.
Cut up the unsalted butter into little cubes and place them randomly on top of the filling.
Then put the other half of the pie crust on top!
Now pinch and roll the edges of the pie to seal it shut and poke some steam holes in it.
Finally I like to brush the top with milk and then sprinkle it with sugar in the raw. And you should cover the edges with foil before putting it in the oven.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes then remove the foil and decrease the temperature to 350. Bake an additional 30-40 minutes; the pie is done when the crust is a beautiful golden brown. I always put a cookie sheet under my pie pan in the oven to catch any juice that may bubble out. And this pie is best served warm with vanilla ice cream (the vanilla pairs well with the tangy-ness of the rhubarb).
It was sooooo good! I was one happy preggo. But, I was a horrible blogger and forgot to take pictures of the final pie. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it though so I'll probably make another one while strawberries and rhubarb are still in season and I'll update the post with mouth-watering pictures then!
What kind of desserts do you think taste like summer?