I’m currently working on the pie chapter for my new cookbook… the new book that doesn’t yet have a name, but does have an awesome (and ever evolving) BRUNCH CHAPTER, and should be in your hot little hands in Fall 2014. Now though… now, I’m working on the pie chapter. It’s a humdinger. It’s a doozie.
A lot of words go into the making of a pie. A lot of butter goes into the making of a pie. A lot of proportions, and cream, and cornstarch, and hope, and confidence, and trust, and joy. Sometimes tears.
If you do it right, you can taste it all.
It’s hard to find the words to express the chaos and triumph of pie baking. It’s also hard to find the words to express the chaos and triumph of writing a book.
Whoa. Wait. Did I just have a breakthrough?
While I gather my thoughts, gather my butter, gather my pie recipes and try to get everything sorted… I’m realizing that some recipes were just too good to keep from you for so long. This is that.
I hope you make a pie this weekend. I also hope the pie plate is scraped clean come Sunday night.
I love you, it’s true.
Strawberry and rhubarb are just about jumping off the shelves in California markets. I think that might sound like a humble brag… but I don’t mean it too.
Summer is comin’ at us, and it totally wants to make out. I’m game. Let’s do this.
This dish is like having your pie and eating your crumble too.
Yes. Two crust elements.
This buttery buttermilk pie crust is going to hold all of our strawberry and rhubarb goodness.
First we have to roll it out and make it pretty.
Coconut and oat crumble is going to top our pie. This feels right.
The chaos that leads to triumph.
This pie feels like everything it is supposed to be. It’s sweet and juicy, hearty and incredibly satisfying. It’s the kind of pie that might inspire you to wave over that neighbor you’ve never actually spoken to, and offer her a slice of pie. She’ll probably look at you like you’re crazy, but no on says no to pie. Ok… weirdos say no to pie… but that’s their problem, not yours.
I feel like this is one of the best things to come out of my kitchen this year… and A LOT of things have come out of my kitchen this year. This pie shines bright.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Pie
makes 1 9-inch pie
For the Crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1/4 cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoon cold buttermilk
For the Filling:
3 cups 1/2-inch thick sliced rhubarb (about 1 pound)
1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
large pinch of salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
For the Topping:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup granulated sugar
large pinch of salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes OR coarsely chopped pecans
To Make the Crust:
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold, cubed butter and, using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture. Quickly break the butter down into the flour mixture, some butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes, some will be the size of peas. Create a well in the mixture and pour in the cold buttermilk. Use a fork to bring to dough together. Try to moisten all of the flour bits. Add a bit more buttermilk if necessary, but you want to mixture to be shaggy and not outwardly wet.
On a lightly floured work surface, dump out the dough mixture. It will be moist and shaggy. That’s perfect. Gently knead into a disk. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Allowing the dough to rest in the refrigerator will help rechill the butter and distribute the moisture.
To roll out the pie crust, on a well floured surface, roll the crust 1/8 inch thick and about 12 inches in diameter. Transfer it to a pie pan. Trim the edge almost even with the edge of the pan Fold the edges under and crimp with your fingers or a fork. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 3 hours.
To Make the Filling:
In a medium bowl, toss together rhubarb, strawberries, sugars, cornstarch, salt, and lemon juice. Toss until all of the fruit is covered in a coating of sugar and cornstarch. The cornstarch will disappear and the sugars will begin to make juice with the fruit. Allow to rest at room temperature while you make the topping.
To Make the Topping:
In a medium bowl (yea… we’re using a lot of medium bowls), whisk together flour, oats, sugar, and salt. Add the cold butter chunks and, using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture. Quickly break the butter down into the mixture until well incorporated. Some butter bits will be the size of peas, and smaller. Add the coconut (or pecans if using) and toss to combine.
To Assemble the Pie:
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator. Toss a handful (about 1/2 cup) of the topping mixture into the fruit mixture, toss. Dump the fruit mixture into the pie crust. Top generously with topping mixture. Place on the prepared baking sheet and place in the oven. It’s important to use the middle rack because if the pie is too close to the top of the oven, the coconut will burn quickly.
Bake the pie for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 35 to 45 minutes, or until the pie is juicy, bubbling, and golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 2 hours before serving. This will help the juices mellow and thicken a bit. Pie is best served just slightly warm with vanilla ice cream. Store covered in the refrigerator.