Friday, March 26, 2010
I've been searching for signs of spring all over the place and my heart skipped a happy beat when I found rhubarb at the grocery store this week. Right above it were strawberries on sale, 2 pounds for $5. SO not local this time of year, but a craving is a craving.
And then a dilemma...I love, love, love my grandmother's pie crust recipe. Seriously, for me the best part of the pie is the crust (and homemade pie is my favorite dessert). But the recipe for the easiest, flakiest, crispest pie crust I've ever tasted is made with butter flavored Crisco.
Here's the problem: I've sworn off fake food and it doesn't take a food detective to realize that "butter flavored Crisco" is fake. They admit their falsehood right on their label, so I don't have to read the fine print to know this is on the list of foods I don't want to eat.
I decided to try an all butter crust recipe I found at the Land 'O Lakes website. My experiments with using all butter in biscuits have gone just fine so I had pretty high hopes.
The pie dough didn't come together like I hoped. The whole cold water, stir with a fork thing sounds great in theory, but I've never been able to pull that off with the amount of water they recommend. Even after refrigeration, the dough was stickier than I was used to.
Still, I persisted and the filling made me happy, happy, happy.
These pies smelled simply fabulous while they baked. The scent of butter that filled the house made the teenagers drool all over themselves in anticipation, and the crust looked extra flakey.
I thought I had found my answer - UNTIL I tried to cut the pie. That crust was seriously tough. Even my sharpest knife struggled to get through it. It took me five slices to get one photo that was even close to pretty.
So, I'm asking for your best pie advice and your best pie recipes. What on earth did I do wrong and how can I make an all natural pie in the future?
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
In my family we like our pies a little tart, so if you prefer a sweeter pie increase the amount of sugar.
Make your own favorite recipe for a two crust pie.
2 cups of rhubarb, washed and sliced into 1-inch pieces.
2 cups strawberries – leave smaller berries whole and cut larger berries in half or thirds
3/4 cup sugar (1 cup if you like your pie sweet)
1/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons butter
1. Roll out bottom crust and place in pie plate.
2. Put rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and flour in a bowl and mix well. Pour into prepared pie crust. If there is extra flour and sugar that hasn’t been absorbed by the juice of the fruit, sprinkle it evenly over the top.
3. Cut the butter into small pieces and disperse on top of the fruit mixture. Roll out top crust and cover the fruit.
4. Cut off excess overhang (should be about a half an inch all the way around) and fold top crust under bottom crust and pinch together. Crimp the edge by making a V with your left thumb and forefinger and pushing the dough into the V with your right forefinger.
5. With a knife liberally poke vent holes in the top of the crust in a pleasing design, making sure the whole crust is covered.
6. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 – 50 minutes. To check if pie is done, slide a knife into one of the vent holes. Fruit should be tender.