Strawberry season in Michigan is so fleeting that my tiny apartment-sized freezer is full of the sweet gems. The great thing about freezing them, is that even if you don’t have time to bake with them when they are in season, you can just pull them out of the freezer when you have time! One of my favorite ways to enjoy strawberries when they are in season is pairing them with a flaky crust and sour-tart rhubarb, also from Michigan.
Mastering the art of the ideal pie crust can be tricky and frustrating. As someone who has made a couple of gross pies in her day, I have found a recipe and a couple tried and true tips that work for me. Some of the expertise comes with experience, and working with your specific flour, altitude, water, etc. Many experts say that it’s easiest to make your dough in the food processor, however, I’m a firm believer that the blades ruin the flakiness that is key to good crust.
My go to pie crust recipe can be found in Kate McDermott’s fantastic cookbook, Art of the Pie. It can be found on page 61 and you’ll only need flour, salt, butter, and water. Now, you’re your own person, so use any pie crust you feel comfortable with. If pie makes you uncomfortable, buy this book and use this recipe. I’m not going to include her recipe on here, because if you are committed to good making good pies, you really should have her book in your cookbook library. Also, she has so many other great recipes and tips that are very valuable. I would recommend buying a marble rolling pin. It helps to keep the dough colder, keeping the butter inside the dough solid until you bake the pie.
The filling recipe that I use is adapted from Kate’s recipe found on page 250. I like to keep my fillings simple to let the gorgeous flavor of the just picked fruit shine through. Just combine the ingredients below and let them cook down inside the pie. For this pie, I didn’t pre-bake the pie crusts before putting in the filling, like some recipes call for. It does take a little over an hour for this pie to bake. I cover the pie with tin foil for the first 20 minutes to help the filling to begin to set. Uncover for the rest of the baking process. If you notice that the crust is getting too brown towards the end of baking, just re-cover with foil.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Filling
4 cups of strawberries, quartered
2 cups of rhubarb, sliced
1 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour