Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mostly Rhubarb Pie

I bought two huge bunches of rhubarb stalks Sunday morning at the City Market. They were beautiful - bright red and inspiring; so I decided to make a pie. I didn't pick the best time to make said pie, what with the husband being gone and the boy deciding to give up his afternoon nap, but I am nothing if not an overachiever, so I did it anyway. I should lie to you and tell you that the boy made this pie, because then you wouldn't judge my less-than-beautiful crust, but instead I'll take all the credit because...holy buckets, it tastes so good. Even with my mistakes! Cobbling together two recipes, I made it work (sort of) without corn starch, and even with the boneheaded addition of a couple of frozen strawberries. The filling was soupier than I like, but the crust recipe I have to share. It's so flaky and buttery and gooooood.

I used the Cooks Illustrated crust (from Baking Illustrated) but brushed it with milk & a sprinkling of superfine sugar before baking, rather than an egg wash. My filling was a modified Bittman: I added frozen strawberries to keep it from being too tart (I got a little scared about the 5 cups of rhubarb) and I used flour as my thickener because I apparently threw out my corn starch. The truth is, I'm all about making mistakes with pie because it only means I get to make more pies! Hooray!

Basic Pie Dough

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
1 tsp salt
2 T sugar
1/2 c vegetable shortening, chilled
12 T cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
6-8 T ice water

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 coarse crumbs, with butter bits no larger than small peas, about ten 1-second pulses. Turn the mixture into a medium bowl.

Sprinkle 6 T 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 T more ice water if the dough will not come together. Divide the dough into 2 balls and flatten each into a 4 inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days, before rolling.

Makes enough dough for 1 double-crust 9 inch pie.


Dan said...

Was it tart, or TART?

I don't mind tart, but TART is not my favorite.

The crust looks great to me!

Sara said...

it was not all caps TART, mostly because my rhubarb was really red and sweet. it was so delicious i ate some for breakfast.
i think pie would have to be my death row meal. just pie. and milk.

Anonymous said...

I feel it depends on the rhubarb it self on its level of tartness. My Grandfather has an old type that is so sweet you can pick it out of the garden and eat it raw.

Anonymous said...

Sara have you ever tried a rhubarb custard pie? My sister loves them.
Grammer Scanlon