dear pie, you’re the best. love, kris

4 May

I always thought I was a pie-hater.


Despite my raging sweet tooth, I would have rather gone dessertless than have eaten pie. On the chance that I did have to eat, so as not to offend, I would eat the filling and maybe the top crust, if there was one. I just couldn’t get into it.

And then I needed to start working on pie recipes for the cookbook, as not everyone is a pie hater. So I perfected my crust, getting it buttery and flakey. Then I started concocting flavor combinations, ranging from the familiar CranApple to the more exotic Pear and Chocolate Cream Galette to the just plain fun Gas Station Pies. The next thing I knew I was dreaming pie, envisioning pie, craving pie. Whodathunkit?

Back up to my childhood and my aunt, baking rhubarb pie. Perhaps there was some kind of fruit in there, too, I don’t remember, but I remember running from that pie like the plague. Rhubarb is something everyone in my family baked with, it is a hearty crop that many of my family members grew. It is very bitter and tart raw, and it’s very stringy like celery. Actually, rhubarb is a vegetable. Maybe that’s why I was scared of it.

Fast forward to this weekend at the farmer’s market where I bought some brilliantly colored stalks of rhubarb, flying home to excitedly make a strawberry rhubarb pie, my first one ever. What happened to me, you ask? I think I finally had some sense knocked into me.

I kid you not, this was the best pie that I have ever tasted. Jim and I ate through 3/4 of the pie in less than 18 hours! When you factor in that 8 of those were spent sleeping, there was a lot of pie consumption this weekend. The tartness of the rhubarb, now soft and the edge of the flavor mellowed, and the sweetness of the strawberries melded together in something altogether magical, filling a deliciously flaky crust. I can’t even express how in love I am with this pie! If it hadn’t tasted so good, I would have been depressed to eat the last piece after dinner this evening.


Bottom crust, filled with crimson goodness.


Top crust on and crimped, with a sad-looking strawberry shaped vent, ready to hit the oven!


Beautifully browned… then it had to sit and cool completely. No one wants a runny pie!


Oh yeah, baby…


That’s what I’m talking about…

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Prep time: 30 minutes, plus 50 for baking and additional cool time

Best Basic Pie Crust (from 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes):
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 teas. salt
1 cup margarine, cold, cut into chunks
1/4 – 1/2 cup cold water

In a large food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Pulse a few times to blend. Add the margarine and pulse mixture until it becomes a course meal. Slowly add in water, 2 tbsp at a time, until a dough comes together. Divide dough in half, wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using. Dough can be frozen up to 1 month. Alternatively, combine flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Using a pastry cutter or fork, blend in margarine until mixture becomes a a course meal. Add water 2 tbsp at a time and rapidly mix together until a dough comes together. Yields: 2 crusts for 1 pie or 2 bottom crusts

Pie filling:
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp. corn starch
1 vanilla bean, scraped or 1/2 teas. vanilla extract
1 lb. rhubarb, washed and cut into 1/2- 3/4 inch chunks
1 lb. strawberries, washed and cut into quarters

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch and vanilla bean scrapings. If using extract, reserve. Mix well until there are no clumps. Add rhubarb and strawberries and mix to coat. Let fruit mixture macerate for 10-15 minutes. If using extract, add at this time.

While fruit is macerating, roll out crusts to fit a 9 inch pie tin. Fit in bottom crust and pour in fruit filling, scraping any residual sugar mixture into the crust. Cut out an air vent in the top crust, or make a few small slits and then cover filled crust with top crust. Pinch edges together and cut off any remaining crust. Brush top crust with a little water and sprinkle on a little sugar.

Bake for 30 minutes with a pie shield or some tin foil overing the edges of the crust. Remove pie shield and bake for an additional 18-22 minutes. The filling should be bubbling if you can see it and the crust should be golden. You may need to place a cookie sheet or some tin foil below the tin to catch potential drips. Remove pie from oven and let cool completely before serving, at least 4 hours. If you cut it at this time, it may still be a little juicy, but with a couple of additional hours the filling will be completely set.


17 Responses to “dear pie, you’re the best. love, kris”

  1. Tara May 4, 2009 at 10:42 pm #

    This absolutely amazing! As soon as we start getting good strawberries up here I will have to make it. Thank you for the recipe!

  2. Nora May 4, 2009 at 11:26 pm #

    I don’t think I’ve ever had rhubarb! I’m excited to make this 🙂

  3. itstartedwithafish May 4, 2009 at 11:41 pm #

    och, rhubarb and strawberries… a heaven-sent combo !
    The aromas taste-paradise must be made of (that and the occasional quince). Thank you for that recipe !!!!
    I am always on the look-out for rhubarb recipes ( growing them in the garden, – the only crop that never fails me, – and being one of the strange folks that used to eat raw rhubarb as a kid, running around with a stalk of rhubarb in one hand and a bowl of sugar in the other for dipping…), and have already baked rhubarb cakes twice this May (uhoh, sounds like a dangerous rhubarb-obsession) and this one will be made sooner than soon… rhubarb and strawberries… oh, the joy of joys !!!

    • Kris May 5, 2009 at 9:02 am #

      Ooh, rhubarb cake… I’d love to try that!

  4. JD May 5, 2009 at 3:41 am #

    My dad used to grow rhubarb and he loved to eat it. I never got interested in it. Not even in a pie. But I would eat a gooseberry pie no problem, and those are more tart than the rhubard is. Of course I put about 2 Tbsp of sugar on one slice, so that might have helped.

  5. jumbleberryjam May 5, 2009 at 5:22 am #

    I’m terrified of crust making! And had a similar response to rhubarb until I had strawberry rhubarb crumb bars at a coffee shop in Seattle. Then I was hooked. Such a great combo. But, still…I’m more of a crumb than crust girl – unless someone else makes it for me ;-).

    • Kris May 5, 2009 at 9:06 am #

      Crust is really, really easy with a food processor. I used to be afraid of it, too, but I swear it takes no longer than 2 minutes in the FP. And it’s flaky and butter and reliable, all things I like in my food!

  6. Gary Loewenthal May 5, 2009 at 10:49 am #

    Wow. Those pictures are mesmerizing. Will have to make.

  7. Andrea May 5, 2009 at 12:24 pm #

    Gorgeous pictures and electable-sounding recipe. My rhubarb is halfway up – can’t wait.

  8. Courtney May 5, 2009 at 2:37 pm #

    Hahaha…I am not a huge pie fan either. I don’t like the crust! I LOVE the filling, though! I might make myself some of that delicious sounding filling without the crust, though…now, THAT sounds good!


  9. liz May 5, 2009 at 10:47 pm #

    I haven’t had pie in forever and strawberry rhubarb is my favourite, you’re killing me here! seriously, that crust looks *perfect*.

  10. Diann May 6, 2009 at 12:50 pm #

    I love strawberries and most pies. I love to bake pies and make crusts and I’m so excited you’ve included pie recipes in your new book.

    My sister is a pie hater and it’s so disappointing.

  11. Vegan Vice May 6, 2009 at 8:17 pm #

    dear pie. we haven’t officially met. but i love you too. ❤

  12. Sandy May 6, 2009 at 9:38 pm #


  13. VeggieLab (Ted) May 7, 2009 at 8:50 pm #

    I may have to try this sometime, because I have that same history of rhubarb aversion. Replace the aunt with mom, who put it in just about everything when it was harvest time. Small doses were fine, but everyone who has ever seen rhubarb grow knows how big of a supply any kind of “harvest” would create.

  14. Sanja May 8, 2009 at 12:29 am #

    Yum, that looks delicious!

  15. shellyfish May 8, 2009 at 10:23 am #

    Oh that just looks so nummers! I love pie – I love anything sweet I think!

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