Emily has just finished her sophomore year in college. Yay! After working hard all semester, getting through the last of her papers and final exams, she was officially brain-drained! It was time to come home. I got up early one morning to make the 4-hour drive to Tampa to collect her and her things. We loaded up the car so tight I couldn’t see out of the rearview mirror, got a quick bite for lunch and started our trek back across the state. About halfway through the drive, we ran into the reason for this Old-Fashioned Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.
A roadside stand. I love roadside stands and I’ve been known to force Scott off the road because of a handmade sign heralding “Fresh Georgia Peaches, Cold Watermelons, Gator Jerky and my personal favorite Boiled P-Nuts! So when we saw the signs teasing “Sweet Ripe Strawberries — One Mile Ahead,” it was a done deal. I pulled off onto a dusty shoulder where a denim and plaid clad man with salt and pepper hair gave us his spiel. “Sweetest strawberries around,” he boasted and handed us our own to sample. These berries were red — all the way through. They were perfect, juicy and ripe. They tasted like a strawberry should taste, right out of the fields. My initial thought of just getting a pint or two, quickly turned into half a flat!
Emily and I chowed strawberries all the way across Highway 60, past the cows and the farms, the citrus groves and the No-Name Motel (that’s the name). Having eaten our fill by the time we hit I-95, we started thinking about what to do with the rest of the berries. Shortcake? Ice cream? Daiquiris? Salads? I have to say — Em was loving this — she was going to get “real food” and her Mom was going to make it for her.
By the time we got home, she’d settled on pie. I went to the market the next day to get pie crust (’cause you know I don’t like to make pastry) and they happened to have rhubarb… Well strawberry-rhubarb happens to be an all-time favorite in this house — I couldn’t have planned it any better.
I cut up the fruit, (and went a little overboard on the berries because they were so good) added sugar and arrowroot and loaded up the pie shell. Emily wove the lattice crust, brushed it with cream and added a sparkly dusting of demerara sugar. Then we popped it into the oven.
After it cooled we cut into it. I have to admit it was wetter than I was hoping for. Those berries were really juicy and they ran, despite the quarter cup of arrowroot powder I’d used. No matter. The hungry hoards seemed unconcerned with my faux pas. In fact this pie lasted approximately 1 night (and I only got one piece — again). Between Emily, her friend, Miranda and Scott it really didn’t stand a chance.
- 2 9-inch pie crusts
- 1 1/2 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/2" pieces
- 1 1/4 pounds strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
- zest of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons demerara sugar
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Arrange one crust in the bottom of a pie pan, pressing the bottom and sides of the crust. Set aside.
- In a large bowl combine the rhubarb, strawberries, brown sugar, white sugar, salt, lemon zest and lemon juice. Toss to combine. Transfer the berries and rhubarb to the pie shell, leaving any excess liquid in the bottom of the bowl and spread evenly into the crust.
- Cut the remaining crust into 1" strips. The strips on the ends should be reserved for the end pieces on the pie and the center strips are used for the center pieces. Weave a lattice crust, then tuck any loose ends underneath the overhang of the bottom crust and pinch the edges into a decorative border. Brush the crust with the heavy cream and sprinkle with demerara sugar.
- Place the pie on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil to catch any spills. Bake for 20 minutes at 400°, then turn the oven down to 350° and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. Serve.