with weekend guests arriving today, i set out early to prepare a few things ahead of time—the better to spend time with them instead of in the kitchen. i had it in my head all week that what we needed for memorial day weekend was a strawberry rhubarb pie; berries are just coming into season here and my friend susan gifted me a beautiful bunch of rhubarb.
i can’t even remember the last time i made this pie filling; it may have been when i was still a youngster, living with my parents. i know it’s easy to put together, but i wanted to be sure of what i remember to be the ingredients, so i had a look around my cookbook shelf and found a recipe i liked in this book (which is a very good baking book, BTW).
first i steamed the rhubarb in syrup as directed. i hulled and cut the berries while that cooked and rolled out the pie crust, too.
i couldn’t help myself.
ever since i can remember i have wanted to put together a lattice pie crust, but i never have. when i opened the book and saw yet another illustration showing how to do it, i said, that’s it—what better opportunity than when baking a jewel-tone pie?? luckily, the one crust i had originally planned rendered plenty of leftovers to accomplish the work.
i think this method is very clever—you assemble to whole thing on a plate or flat metal pan, then refrigerate. when you are ready to put it on the pie, you can slide or flip it right over without damaging it. brilliant. and it only took a few minutes, i swear.
once i had the two crusts rolled, i stuck them back in the fridge. it’s hot here today for one thing, but also, i wanted to bake the pie closer to dinner time, so it would be very fresh. at this point i was just getting all the parts ready.
once the rhubarb was out of the skillet, i added a couple more ingredients to thicken the juices into a sauce, then mixed it with the fruits.
mmmm, at this point, it tasted great—just what i wanted. this filling has a fresh, summery taste—not sour at all, but not too sweet (i dislike it when strawberries get cloyingly sweet). i love the juxtaposition of strawberries and rhubarb; they keep each other from being too much themselves.
once all these parts were together, i went back to work at my desk for a few more hours until afternoon. i took a short nap at the height of the heat, then got back to work in the kitchen.
i got the pie crust out of the fridge and filled it, then flipped the lattice from the plate to the top of the pie—after several hours in the fridge it stiffens up, making this very easy to do.
into the oven it goes for a total of about forty-five minutes and whatever magic happens in there, the result is worth the heat and the wait.
it comes out a ruby jewel, mmm.
now we wait—by the time dessert rolls around, it should be just right for eating; the crust still crisp and the filling cooled, with maybe a hint of warmth still in it. perfect with ice cream—ooops, we might have to get some.
mmmm, the perfect way to kick of the weekend.
we’re probably on our way to the wool show as you read this, with a day full of friends, fun, and our favorite pastime. check back in a couple of days for a review of the show.