Strawberry and Rhubarb come together in a delicious pie. Each bite is different. In one you taste the tang of rhubarb. In the next, the sweetness of strawberry. And in another the two unite in a sweet-tart blend of fruit.
I was in college when I tasted rhubarb for the first time. It was a revelation.
What is Rhubarb?
Rhubarb is a vegetable.
And it is very tart. I have heard the flavor compared to that of a sour green apple, unripe grapes, or a not-yet-ready-to-eat kiwi. Sugar will tame the tang, but it will keep its acidic flavor. Which makes it perfect to pair with sweet fruits (like strawberries). in fact, it gives another element of flavor to one note fruits!
Rhubarb grows in long stalks, resembling a ruby red stick of celery. Like celery, it contains a lot of cellulose and gives off a lot of liquid when it is cooked. It has a short season, being best in the Spring.
Finding rhubarb may be the hardest part of this recipe. It is not well known in the South. Which means, for my Southern readers, you may have to ask the produce manager at your store to get some in.
Start by cutting the rhubarb into small dice and halving the strawberries. You may have to quarter some of the strawberries because they come in a ridiculously large size these days!
Put them in a bowl and add:
Sugar for sweetness. I chose brown sugar because I think it gives some complexity to the pie.
Salt to wake up your tastebuds.
Balsamic Vinegar to bring out the strawberry flavor, especially if your strawberries look good but have little taste.
And Instant Tapioca Pearls to thicken the juices so the pie does not end up as a soupy mess.
Toss them all together and let them sit for at least fifteen minutes. Stir them once or twice as they macerate. Do not skip or rush this step. The sugar and salt will draw the juices from the fruits and the liquid will soften the tapioca pearls so you don’t end up with a crunchy pie.
Use the time you are waiting to heat your oven, and take the pie crust out of the refrigerator to soften a little.
About that pie crust. I have made this pie with my own pie crust recipe (find it here) and with a ready-to-roll pie crust. It’s good either way. I liked the homemade crust more but no one else seemed to notice the difference!
Roll the bottom pie crust out and use it to line a 12-inch pie pan. Fill the crust with the fruit mixture, making sure to scrape out all of the delicious juices. Make a lattice top for your pie (instructions here ) or, if you prefer, cover it with a whole crust. If you do, make sure to slice an opening in the top crust to vent the steam while the pie cooks.
Serve the pie as is or with vanilla ice cream.
STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE
- 2 c diced rhubarb
- 3 c strawberries halved or quartered
- 1 c brown sugar
- 3 tbsp instant tapioca pearls
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 double pie crust
- 1 tbsp milk
- Demerara sugar
Prepare the Fruit
- Cut off the ends of the rhubarb. Slice in half if very thick and dice into small pieces. Halve or quarter the strawberries. Place the fruit in a bowl and toss with sugar, tapioca, salt and balsamic vinegar. Set aside for at least 15 minutes to macerate, stirring once or twice as it does.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and remove your pie crusts from the refrigerator to soften a little.
Assemble the Pie.
- When the fruit is ready, assemble the pie. Roll out the bottom crust to fit a 12” pie plate. Place the pastry in the pie plate and pour in the fruit. Make sure to scrape the bowl to include all of the juices.
- Cut 3 tablespoons of butter into small pieces and scatter the pieces on top of the fruit in the pie.
- Finish the pie with a lattice top crust or a whole crust, as desired. Brush the milk over the top crust and sprinkle with demerara sugar.
- Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and continue baking for 40 minutes or until the pie is browned and the fruit juices are bubbling .
- Cool before serving.
Note: This pie works equallywell with a homemade crust or a purchased ready-to-roll crust. You can find instruction on making a lattice top on my blog here