For pie-lovers in colder northern climates like mine here in New York, rhubarb is the first fresh garden gift of the season and there is always a lot of excitement when it begins to poke its pretty pink neck out of the earth.
A straight-up rhubarb pie is a fine thing, but since strawberries debut themselves shortly after rhubarb — not to mention the fact that their sweetness cuts rhubarb's lip-puckering tartness — it makes perfect sense to put the two together. A strawberry rhubarb pie smacks of the beginning of summer as much as that sweet melody of the last school bell ringing.
There's no twist here, nothing fancy whatsoever. I want you to have access to the best, most balanced approach to a strawberry rhubarb pie. This is a recipe to keep in your back pocket, taped to the inside of your pantry cabinet, or simply seared into your mind.
Though I've seen them open-faced, strawberry rhubarb pies do best with a little modest top crust: either whole or as a lattice. The filling is quite juicy, so you need flour or cornstarch to help contain some of that liquid, and also a pie crust that can stay intact. I've linked to our Easy Cream Cheese Pie Crust, but you can also use your favorite pie crust recipe, as long as it can hold up to a juicy filling (no tender all-butter crusts here).
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
1 recipe unbaked homemade double pie crust
2 1/2 cups rhubarb, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 large stalks)
2 1/2 cups hulled and sliced fresh strawberries
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour or 1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large egg yolk beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water (for glaze)
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Prepare the bottom crust by rolling out one of the pastry disks to an 11-inch circle. Nestle the crust inside the pan so about an inch hangs over the sides. Press the pastry down. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
Mix the fruit with the sugar, flour (or cornstarch) and lemon zest. Using the tines of a fork, poke the bottom of the pie crust evenly about five times. Pour the fruit mixture into the chilled pastry. Dot with the butter pieces.
Moisten the edge of the bottom crust with a finger dipped in water. Put on the top pastry in one piece and slice in a few air vents, or in a lattice pattern, trim, and crimp the edges.
Brush the egg glaze over the crust. Transfer the pie to a baking sheet.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake another 30 minutes longer, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
Remove from the oven and cool on a rack before serving.
• Related: Back to Basics Cherry Pie
(Images: Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan)