Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Pie for a Potluck: Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

I am so kicking myself for not joining the Austin Food Blogger’s group sooner!

Last month Vanessa (my fellow Austin compatriot from Le Cordon Bleu) and I went to the Austin 360 Food Blogger Bash held during SXSWi. We met a couple of lovely ladies, Beth at Belly Bulletin and Birgis at Hot Sweet Spicy Recipes, and had a great time. When Addie Broyles, group organizer and food writer at the Austin American-Statesman, sent out an invite to a potluck picnic, I knew I wanted to meet more of the Austin food blogger community.
To contribute to the potluck, I enlisted Le Chef (Eric, my husband and favorite chef) to cook up some barbeque and I baked a strawberry-rhubarb pie.  Due to a snafu with importing the invite into a calendar app, we almost didn’t make it in time. We showed up two hours late but still got to enjoy some yummy food and great company. I was so busy stuffing my face with food I forgot to take pictures, but fortunately the event was well documented by the other bloggers. Check out pics here and here of the delicious food we enjoyed!
All of the bloggers Eric and I met were sweet, friendly people who are amazing cooks and bakers. In fact, I’ve spent the last few days compulsively reading group members’ blog posts and ogling photos. I now have a great reference for Austin restaurant reviews from Michelle at Foodie is the New Forty. I am totally enchanted with Kathy Phantastic’s adorably cute cake pops and amazing styling abilities, and Aimee’s photos have inspired me to keep snapping pics in hopes of one day capturing an image as beautiful as hers. (I ran the pics I posted here through the CameraBag instant photo filter app to disguise the fact that I need to work on lighting - and should probably invest in an actual camera and stop relying on my iPhone!)

I’m looking forward to the next food blogger group event and am rapidly filling my bookmarks bar (and spare time) with new blogs to read from these very talented folks!
Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

This was my second attempt at an old Epicurious recipe I had tucked away. My first attempt was too soupy and tasted like a syrupy (canned) cherry pie – not exactly what I was going for. So I started researching rhubarb recipes and hit pay dirt on David Lebovitz’s site. His suggestions on making a rhubarb-strawberry compote using raw sugar and adding orange peel sounded terrific. Eric suggested adding cardamom to complement the orange flavor. After tweaking the Epicurious pie filling recipe a bit to incorporate these additions, I was definitely more pleased with the results. Also, I ditched the shortening-laden pie crust recipe from Epicurious and used the flakey tart dough recipe from Tartine’s cookbook.

Dough- makes two 9-inch pie shells
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup water, very cold
3 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup + 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold

1 orange, zest and juice
1 cinnamon stick
5-6 cardamom seeds 

3 1/2 cup 1/2 inch thick slices of trimmed rhubarb (1 1/2 pounds untrimmed)
1 16 ounce container strawberries, hulled, halved (about 3 1/2 cup)
1 cup raw turbinado sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoons salt

1 large egg yolk beaten and blended with 1 teaspoon milk (for glaze)

1. To make the pie dough, in a measuring cup, stir the salt into the cold water until dissolved. Place the measuring cup in the refrigerator to keep the water cold until ready to use. Add the flour to a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and scatter over the flour. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour until large crumbs form. There should still be pea-sized pieces of butter visible in the mixture. 
2. Gradually stir the salty water into the flour mixture with a fork until the dough begins to come together. The dough will look shaggy. Using your hands, work quickly to bring the dough together into a rough ball. Again, you'll still see some butter chunks. Lightly flour a work surface and turn the dough out on the surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and shape each each piece into a one inch thick disc. Wrap each disk in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
3. B
utter a nine inch pie pan and set aside. When fully chilled, roll one disk of dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 13 inch round of about 1/8 inch thickness. Lift and rotate the dough as you roll to prevent it from sticking, working quickly so it remains cold. Wrap the dough over the rolling pin to transfer it to the pie pan, roll out over the pan, and then lift and press gently into the sides and bottom of the pan. Trim the dough with a sharp knife, allowing a 3/4 inch overhang. Prick the bottom of the dough lightly with a knife and place back into the refrigerator to keep cool while making the filling. 
4. Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit. In a small pot or pan, over medium-low heat, reduce orange juice slightly with cinnamon stick and cardamom seeds to infuse flavors. Strain and reserve juice.
5. Combine the remaining filling ingredients and reserved juice in large bowl. Toss gently to blend.
6. Roll out second dough disk on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Cut dough into fourteen 1/2 inch wide strips. Spoon filling into crust. Arrange half of the dough strips, spaced evenly, over the filling. To form a lattice, place the rest of the dough strips in the opposite direction over the filling. Cut the ends of the lattice strips even with the overhang of the bottom crust. Fold the bottom dough overhang over the strip ends and press to seal. Use your thumb to crimp the pie edges for a decorative look.
7. Mix the egg glaze in a small bowl and brush over the top of the pie crust. Place the pie pan on a baking sheet and transfer to oven.  Bake 20 minutes on a rack placed in the lower third of the oven, then reduce oven temperature to 350° Fahrenheit. Continue to bake until the crust is golden and the filling has thickened- it may take about an hour and a half to fully bake but begin checking early at the one hour mark. When done, place the pie on a rack to cool.


  1. It was so great to see you at the potluck! The pie and BBQ were fantastic...

    We'll do it again soon. I'm so glad to have you in the group. :)

  2. Thank you, thank you for posting this recipe! I could not get enough of that pie. Many thanks for the link, as well!

    It was so great to meet you, and I'm looking forward to seeing you at future Austin food blogger events!