Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Farmer's Market Rhubarb-Strawberry Pie

There's definitely something to be said about basing one's meals around what is in stock at the nearby Farmer's Market. This is, of course, how one eats the most flavorful foods, the most nutritious produce, and the most local ingredients that the community currently offers. Thanks to this form of food shopping, I'm now a big fan of the delicious combination of rhubarb and strawberry. Rhubarb is actually a vegetable, known for it's tart flavor, and it's thick stalks are currently found everywhere, only a few steps away from the large, juicy strawberries that are growing now. Most people are aware of the nutritional value of strawberries, and rhubarb also contains a large amount of vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. Not only are these two foods nutritionally compatible, but the sweetness of the strawberry and the tartness of the rhubarb compliment one another for a tangy and summery flavor.

This pie is a prime example of how exquisite the strawberry-rhubarb relationship is. The addition of sugar and strawberry preserves further help to offset the acidity of the rhubarb, and can even be decreased to match one's taste. Although I'm still working on perfecting my pastries and creating an aesthetically pleasing pie, I'm quite satisfied with the flavor of this one. Appearances aside, I'm sure I'll be taking advantage of this fruit and veggie combo as long as the season lasts.

Rhubarb-Strawberry Pie with Hazelnuts

For crust:
3 cups all purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
10 tablespoons (about) ice water
For filling:
3 ½ cups 1/2-inch-thick slices trimmed rhubarb
3 ½ cups strawberries, hulled, quartered
¼ cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked, chopped
½ cup (packed) golden brown sugar
½ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tbsp. strawberry preserves
1 large egg yolk beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water (for glaze)


Crust:Combine flour, sugar and salt in processor. Using on/off turns, cut in shortening and butter until coarse meal forms. Blend in enough ice water 2 tablespoons at a time to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; cut in half. Flatten each half into disk. Wrap separately in plastic; refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. (This can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling.)

Filling:Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine first 7 ingredients in large bowl. Toss gently to blend. Roll out 1 dough disk on floured work surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter flass pie dish. Trim excess dough, leaving 3/4-inch overhang.
Mix the first 9 ingredients together in a bowl. Spread into the pie dish.
Roll out second dough disk on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Cut into strips and form a lattice pattern over the pie. Trim ends of dough strips even with overhang of bottom crust. Fold strip ends and overhang under, pressing to seal.
Brush glaze over crust. transfer pie to baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake pie until golden and filling thickens, about 1 hour 25 minutes. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely.

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