Maple Sugar Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Late May brings us abundant rhubarb and the season’s first strawberries. My grandmother had a huge patch of rhubarb and when my family sold her house, I brought part of it to my garden. I have many plants that are special to me based on their history in someone else’s garden. The rhubarb ties me to my childhood, and cool spring nights, visiting my grandparents in Huntington.
You can use any crust recipe you like. Most recipes call for both butter and vegetable shortening. I usually substitute butter for the shortening as it’s what I have on hand. An all butter crust is a wonderful thing. Slice the rhubarb into small chunks and make sure to bake the pie until you see the filling is bubbling! If the crust gets too brown, lay a piece of foil over the top for the last 10 minutes. Serve with maple ice cream for a seriously delicious dessert!
Make the crust:
2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
16 tablespoons of butter (or 6 tablespoons butter and 3/4 cup vegetable shortening)
1 1/4 teaspoons of salt
1/2 cup of ice water
Using a Cuisenart or pastry forks, blend the butter, flour and salt until it resembles small peas. Slowly drizzle in the water until the dough begins to form a ball. Based on the heat and humidity of the day, you may not need all the water.
Divide into two balls and flatten each into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for later.
Make the filling:
3 cups of rhubarb, sliced to half inch pieces
2 1/2 cups of strawberries, sliced
3/4-1 cup of pure Vermont Maple Sugar
1/4 cup of cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
1 tablespoon of orange juice
Mix all ingredients together and set aside while you roll out the crust.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove crust from refrigerator. I like to roll out the discs between two pieces of plastic wrap. I find it is so much easier than relying on extra flour to avoid sticking. Roll out the crust into a 12 inch circle and place in a 9 inch pie pan. Spoon in the filling and then roll out the second disc. You may choose to drape a solid piece of crust over the pie, or create a lattice. A lattice entails slicing the rolled out disc into 1/2-1 inch strips, and weaving the strips over and under each other, on top of the filling. Crimp the edges, and if desired, brush the top crust with a bit of whisked egg and sprinkle with maple sugar.
Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees and then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for 25-30 minutes more. Let cool a bit before slicing. Enjoy!