We had the privilege of visiting with friends at their beautiful rustic cottage for part of this May long weekend. When asked what to bring, the directive given, “Please bring a dessert and then whatever you would like to drink.”

Our host is a dessert hound, but in particular a pie guy. In May there is only one pie that suits a cottage invitation by our measure and that is the strawberry rhubarb pie. My 11 pound supply of rhubarb is dwindling but I had no problem filling this pie.

A 90 minute drive and then a 10 minute boat ride to the island is not conducive to bringing along ice cream as a side. Happily, this pie stands well on its own as it bursts out a bold, full fruit, tangy taste explosion.

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE
pastry adapted from Joy of Cooking, filling adapted from Canadian Living

Servings: 8

Pastry:
2 cups all-purpose flour (I use 5 Roses)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup lard (I use Tenderflake)
1/4 cup water

Filling:
3/4 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons tapioca

3 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced

3 cups rhubarb, chopped

Sprinkle of lemon juice

1 tablespoon butter

Sift flour and salt together in a bowl.

Remove 1/3 cup of this mixture and place it in a small bowl or cup.

Stir water into it to form a smooth paste. (I usually add the water to this small bowl of flour after I have cut in the lard, in order to keep it moist.)

Cut lard into the flour mixture in the first bowl with a pastry blender until the grain is the size of small peas. It works best when the lard is still chilled and not fully at room temperature.

Stir the flour paste into the dough. Work it with your hand until well incorporated and the dough forms a ball. It is important not to over work the dough or it will become tough.

Wrap the ball in saran wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Stir sugar and tapioca together in a small bowl. I have always preferred tapioca as the thickener for this fruit blend. I feel it suits a tangy zingy taste and an extra juicy fruit. Mix strawberries and rhubarb together in a large bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice – no more than 1 teaspoon. Lemon juice is great for ‘brightening; fresh fruit. Toss to coat. Pour sugar mixture over the fruit. Toss to coat.

Roll out half of the pastry and fit into 9-inch pie plate. [I roll out my pastry between two pieces of waxed paper that is very lightly floured. This minimizes overworking and prevents it from becoming dry from over-flouring.] Prick the bottom of the pie shell and also the sides. This prevents the bottom shell from puffing up during baking.

Spoon fruit into pie crust and work it well together as to minimize the air pockets. This will allow the top crust to sit on top nicely. Using approximately 1 tablespoon of very soft butter, place small dots of butter all over the top of the filling.

With warm water, wet the edge of the bottom pie shell. This will help the top crust adhere to the bottom crust, making a tighter seal. This particular pie can be very leaky because of the very juicy filling.

Roll out remaining pastry and fit over top of pie. Press the top crust to the bottom on the moistened edge. If fluting the edge, trim it first. If using a fork pattern around the edge, then trim after it has been forked.

Cut vents in top for steam to escape. A large hole in the centre is particularly helpful for this pie since it is a very juicy filling and creates a lot of steam when it is baking.

Bake on baking sheet in 425ºF oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375ºF. Bake for 35 minutes longer or until golden and filling is bubbly.

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