Monday, June 15, 2009

Time for pie

In the interest of full disclosure, I set out to make an in-season pie using all fresh ingredients but things didn't exactly work out that way. My particular craving this week was for strawberry rhubarb pie. I noticed fresh rhubarb in the grocery store last week (which I sometimes get mixed up with swiss chard, which is something else entirely) and in thinking about what I could do with this in-season fruit my mind wandered to strawberries (a nice complement to rhubarb) then to pie. Fast forward to the dairy case. As I picked up my usual weekly ration of yogurt products for the boys my eye fell on a Pillsbury product I had not seen before: Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crusts.

I hate making pie crust. Likely because I'm not very good at it and I have little patience for things I'm not good at; as an aside this character flaw may explain the way my kids react to life from time to time... Frozen pie shells are always hit and miss. Often when you go to use them they're cracked so you have to fix them. If I wanted to fiddle around fixing pie crust, I'd make my own thanks very much. So I decided to give these new-fangled refrigerated pie crusts a chance. Back to the fruit aisle where no local berries are available yet, so California imports it is. I knew that I had some frozen rhubarb at home so with these three essential pieces of the pie puzzle in place - to the kitchen!

I decided to use an epicurious recipe this time out: Lattice-Topped Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie. Obviously I skipped the pastry making part (hurrah!) leaving that work to my friend Pill S. Bury. The filling was simple: chop up the rhubarb and strawberries, mix them with two kinds of sugar and a bit of cornstarch, a dash of cinnamon and sprinkle of salt. Nothing easier. Except perhaps the pastry!

The refrigerated pie-crust worked like a dream. It unrolled very easily and was a cinch to fit into my 9 inch round glass pie plate. I put the filling in then used the second pie crust to make the lattice topping. I just rolled out the flat pastry round and used my pizza wheel to cut out strips. Instant lattice. These I attempted to arrange artfully over top of my pie filling. Trimmed it up and into the oven. Best experience with pastry *ever*. So how did it taste? Here's how it looked:

This shot was taken mere seconds after the pie came out of the oven. You can see that the filling was all oozy and sticky. In the bottom right corner it's actually still bubbling. It actually bubbled right out of the pan, onto the bottom of my oven, which actually made for an oozy, sticky mess.

The pie crust stood up well, I thought. I brushed it with an egg and water wash which accounts for the nice browning effect.

My husband enjoyed this pie despite announcing he doesn't like rhubarb. Honestly, put enough sugar in something and it's bound to taste good. The filling was just sweet enough for my taste. I prefer this particular variety of pie warm out of the oven with vanilla ice cream melting over the top. So that's how I enjoyed it. The crust was perfectly acceptable. I'm not a pie crust aficionado myself, so considering the effort I was very pleased with the overall effect.

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