Old-fashioned Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Yeah!  Spring Break is here and I have some time now to tend the garden.  First up, harvest some rhubarb. My favorite way to use rhubarb is in a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.  Usually in the interest of time, I'd look up a recipe online, but since I'm on break and feeling unrushed, I thought it'd be a nice change of pace to sit at the breakfast table with a bowl of cereal and flip through the pages of my Dessert Binder.  

Confession:  I hoard recipes thinking someday I'll get around to making them.  Sometimes it actually happens, as in today!  I found the perfect recipe from Saveur magazine (yikes, July/Aug 1998 issue) celebrating spunky grandma, Louise Piper, an Iowa State Fair Pie Queen.  When the article claimed, "Since the age of 15, she [Louise] has remained faithful to her Betty Crocker pie crust...", my interest was piqued.  I have a couple of pie crust recipes that I think are darn good, but 50 years of baking the same pie crust???  I gotta check this out.  Plus, this pie crust has no butter or lard!  Plus, this pie won a blue ribbon at the mother of all state fairs.  Spoiler alert:  I was not disappointed!

Old-fashioned Strawberry Rhubarb Pie  
Adapted from Louise Piper's recipe in Saveur magazine
Makes one 9" pie

For the pie crust:

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together:
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (342g)
1 teaspoon salt

In a measuring cup, pour:
2/3 cup vegetable oil

Add to vegetable oil, but do not stir together:
6 tablespoons milk

Pour oil and milk into flour/salt mixture.  Stir until dough just holds together.  

Divide dough in half, shape into two balls and flatten slightly.  Roll each ball between two sheets of wax or parchment paper into 12" rounds.  Peel off top sheet of wax paper on one of the rounds and flip onto a 9" pie pan (not deep dish, see Notes below).  Remove 2nd sheet of wax paper and gently fit dough into pie pan.  Set aside other pastry round.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

For the filling:

Combine together in a large mixing bowl:
1 1/4 cups sugar (250g)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (43g)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Add to flour mixture and toss well to coat evenly:
3 cups hulled and halved strawberries
2 cups thinly sliced rhubarb

Fill the bottom pie crust with strawberries and rhubarb.  Scatter on top:
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Cover with remaining pastry round (discarding wax paper) and crimp edges together to seal.  Make slits on top to allow steam to escape.  Brush top of pie with:
2 teaspoons milk

and sprinkle with:
2 teaspoons sugar, regular or sanding

Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, about 50 minutes.  I like to place the baking sheet on top of pre-heated pizza tiles to help brown the crust bottom.  Using a glass pie pan allows you to check for browning on the sides and bottom.  If edge of crust browns too quickly, cover with strips of foil to prevent burning. Allow pie to cool one hour before serving.

Notes:  My family loved this pie, especially the crust which was crisp and flaky.  When told the crust had no butter, my daughter said, "But it smells buttery!"  Hubbie also had no inkling it was butter-free.  This was super easy to make, no need to pull out the food processor and easy to roll out, no need to chill the dough beforehand.  You could probably even put the ball of dough directly in the pie plate and press it in. 

Make sure you use a regular 9" pie pan, ie not a deep dish pie pan.  I realized my mistake when I added the fruit and it barely filled the pan, so I added another 1 cup of rhubarb and 2 cups of strawberries.  It came out a bit sloshy, but didn't detract from the taste one bit.

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