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#25 : Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

When you've bought "too much" rhubarb...

There's always trouble when I go to Wickham's Fruit Farm as I'm never able to control myself. I want to buy everything I see. Well, this time I was actually pretty good; they had sour cherries but since I just harvested and froze 12 pounds of cherries from my own tree, those were easy to pass up. OK, I did think about if for about 5 seconds. In my mind I heard Jeff screaming, "You bought MORE?" and passed them up. I could not resist the rhubarb

plus they had gorgeous strawberries, with their most delectable perfume wafting my way. I knew it was time for a strawberry-rhubarb pie.

This is not a pie that interests Jeff very much. Rhubarb has considerably less appeal to him than to me. In addition, he thinks that the best strawberry recipes are those that use the berries raw and uncooked, like atop a strawberry shortcake (with homemade biscuits, by the way, not those store-bought Twinkies in a circular shape that have a shelf life of 5 years). But the good thing about this blog is that it's up to me to decide what I'm in the mood for.

Oddly enough, with all the strawberry-rhubarb pies I've made, I don't think I ever followed the recipe from Cook's Illustrated's The Perfect Pie. What's interesting is that they address the "strawberries and rhubarb bake differently" and "strawberries exude water" problems by having you cook some of the strawberries with the rhubarb, adding the rest of the berries later.

The first step is slicing the long rhubarb lengthwise and then chopping those strips into small chunks.

Then I'll macerate the rhubarb and some of the berries in sugar and some kirsch. As mentioned in an earlier pie post, I won't yet add the thickener (in this case ground tapioca.) The sugar and kirsch help the fruit exude excess liquid, and I will drain the liquid off and put it in a shot glass in the fridge - it makes a wonderful chilled liqueur! Then I'll add the tapioca and cook the fruit to soften it; then add the remaining berries.

Of course the pie dough has already been made, usually the day before to let it chill properly. This time around I decided to do a lattice top; it's a bit of a pain but looks nice and it's fun to see the fruit bubbling up from inside.

As anticipated, Jeff had one slice and said, "Very nice," leaving the rest of the pie for me to work through. It's amazing how long it takes one person to eat an entire pie - but I managed.

The Verdict: As good as ever.

Another success, if not terribly appealing to Jeff. The crust was perfect and the sweet-tart combination of the rhubarb and the berries was excellent.

My dad would have loved it...though he would tell me "It's OK," and later tell my sister it was the best pie he ever had. I thought of Dad with each forkful.

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