Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Springtime Baking!

Even though I have been put on bed rest, I am still trying to do minor things around the house - like getting last minute nursery/baby items together or cooking light meals here and there. Therefore, I have decided I will do one 'light chore' each day. Now I am not saying I am going to go take out the trash or something crazy - rather, I will do a light load of laundry (something I can carry in my hands, like linens) or make an easy meal or bake something - one or the other.

While I've been laying around, I've been reading through food magazines to see what produce is currently in season. Of course there are strawberries and asparagus and artichokes, and then I saw rhubarb! My grandmother has been baking rhubarb pies for as long as I can remember. However - no one in my family ever really told me what rhubarb actually was - so like any normal kid, I stayed cleared of the rhubarb pie. What a waste! They are delicious.

Here's a preview of my strawberry/rhubarb pie:


Essentially rhubarb is a pinkish or magenta springtime 'fruit' and is very tart in flavor. It looks very similar to celery and it is perfect in pies and crisps which is how it got it's nickname of "pie plant". But you can also include rhubarb in say, a stir fry for not only color, but the wonderful tart flavor!

Ingredients for the Filling:
  • 3 1/2 cups rinsed and trimmed rhubarb (1/2 in thick)
  • 3 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled, halved 
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water (optional - for glaze)
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter (optional)
As you can see, I opted to skip both the egg yolk glaze and the butter - the store-bought pie crust is plenty filling and the sweetness of the strawberries/sugar is enough without the butter.



I rinsed off my rhubarb stalks and cut off the ends. I then sliced them about a half inch thick...maybe a little smaller. I wanted to proceed with caution in case they didn't cook thoroughly enough in the oven. 


Then I added my halved-strawberries and ALL the other ingredients together in a bowl (excluding the egg and the butter if you chose to use those). "All other ingredients" included the brown sugar, white sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. I reserved a tiny bit of cornstarch for the surface in case the strawberries were real juicy. 

*Note: I've read mixed reviews on this step - some people prefer to add some of the dry ingredients directly on the pie crust to prevent it from moistening and become soggy on the bottom - but this recipe called for it to be all mixed together. I will do a follow up and let you know if it was soggy/runny. And I will also ask my Gram what she does. :)


Here are all the ingredients mixed up, ready to add to the pie crust! Now this to me seemed like a very "filling" pie. I am used to blueberry pies which are simpler (no slicing and dicing involved) and it also seems like less filling in those - so I was nervous this would overflow and spill over in my oven. Happily, it did not. Maybe it's because of my cornstarch idea - who knows.


My lazy lattice top. I didn't do my usual "over/under" and also didn't use my fork around the edges. Man, I am getting lazy!


And here it is after it cooked for about 1 hour and 45 min. The recipe suggested preheating the oven to 400 degrees and bake the pie for 20 minutes. Then, turn down the heat to 350 and proceed to cook for another hour and 20 minutes. By that time, I was ready for bed.


I took some photos this morning when I woke up and it looks delicious! Much more solidified and cooled down at this point. I can't wait to dig in!! Jim and I are heading over my cousin's house tonight, Dennis and Brooke, for pizza. I am bringing the pie over for dessert. I hope it's good! I will need to bring some vanilla ice cream to accompany it. ;)


Here's a slice, served alongside some vanilla bean ice cream. It was delicious!



A and B are moving like crazy lately - I am thinking it won't be too much longer til they are here! With that said, we washed a ton of their bottles last night while the pie was cooking. Multi-taskers!!!


xo,
Shaz


P.S. Flashback Photo!!

Here is my sister's strawberry/rhubarb pie she made in 2010!