Sweet and Tart Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Is there anything better than fresh pie? Maybe making a pie with strawberries you picked fresh from the farm that week? Pies are always a perfect dessert, but they seem to taste a little bit better when made with fresh, local ingredients.
While we don’t usually have pies on hand at Sweetbriar Rose, we can always make one as a special order. Give us a call at Sweetbriar Rose and let us know what pie you want and when you want it, and we will make it happen.
Berry Picking in Oregon
Jennifer, the sister who manages all the media for Sweetbriar Rose and is married to a soldier, lives in Oregon. Our chef, Kim, can’t go too long without seeing her nieces and nephew. Because flying with four kids is the opposite of fun, Kim visits Oregon regularly.
If you have ever visited Oregon in the late spring and summer, you know fresh produce abounds. Depending on the week, you can get strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, melons, apples, pears, and more, not to mention all of the delicious vegetables.
But before we could get to the pie-making, we had to get the ingredients. We all decided to head out to a local farm for some U-pick strawberries for a strawberry rhubarb pie. The result was perfection. Deep red in color, that unmistakable sweet and tart flavor, and everything was pulled together with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream.
Have you ever taken four kids berry picking? It’s quite the experience. With the older two, you can give them a bucket and set them loose. We have gone picking enough they know what they are looking for, and it is FUN for them, like really fun.
However, picking with a two-year-old and a three and a half-year-old is another story. They haven’t quite figured out how to safely navigate the field or which strawberries are ripe and ready to be picked. Inevitably, you end up with a basket full of partially red, half-eaten fruits. Plus the several berries that are smeared all over the face and clothes of said children.
Thankfully, the local farm we visit is kind and loves having families visit. They know we will be back for cherries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. If we were here long enough, we would visit in the fall for peaches, pears, and apples, as well. Unfortunately we won’t, but that is another story.
We love using local ingredients whenever possible. While it isn’t always feasible, we always aim to support local businesses, and that includes buying local food. In Oregon, we buy local strawberries and rhubarb for a pie or other berries for jam.
In Texas, we love local wine and beer, or local peaches from our neighbors. You will find many of our items in the store are locally sourced as much as possible.
Why Strawberry Rhubarb?
Anyway, back to the pie. Oregon strawberries are fantastic and unlike anything you can buy in a grocery store elsewhere in the country. They are generally smaller, redder, sweeter, and have a much shorter life.
After picking these berries, you have two, maybe three days to enjoy them before they are too soft. Typically, we pick a bunch, eat as much as we can, then freeze the rest.
If you ever have the chance to be in Oregon in early summer, be SURE you visit a fruit farm and buy an entire flat of Oregon strawberries. You won’t regret it.
Strawberry rhubarb pie is fantastic because the strawberries are soft and sweet while the rhubarbs are firm and tart. Together, they make a taste and texture that is unlike any other. Many people will say they don’t like strawberry rhubarb, but that is likely because they have never had a good one.
Do yourself a favor and get to a store for all of the fixings for a strawberry rhubarb pie. While you probably can’t use fresh, Oregon strawberries, the finished product will still be delicious.
Making the Pie
The base of any good pie is the crust. While you can buy store-bought crust, making your own crust is not hard and makes the pie so much better. All you need for a fantastic crust is a food processor, flour, cold butter, salt, sugar, and water. It’s simple!
We will use the same crust as the one for our Apple Pie. In that post, we go into more detail on the method for the PERFECT crust. It’s simple, hard to mess up, and turns out great every time.
For the filling, you will want fresh strawberries. The redder, the better. You will also want fresh rhubarb. Ensure you cut the rhubarb into small, thin, and uniform sizes. It is not fun taking a bite that is mostly rhubarb…
For the Crust
2.5 cups (325 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar, optional
1 cup (230 grams) VERY cold butter, unsalted
.5 cup ice water, more or less
For the Filling
3 large stalks rhubarb, sliced in half, then into ¼ inch slices
4 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup of Clear Gel
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
To make the Crust
Combine 1.5 cups flour, salt, and sugar to a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine.
Cut butter into cubes and drop into flour mixture and process for 10-15 seconds until crumbly and all flour is coated. You will probably need to scrape the sides.
Add remaining cup of flour and pulse several times. The dough will be very crumbly.
Transfer flour mixture to another bowl then add 5-6 tablespoons of ice cold water. Using a rubber spatula, press the dough into itself while scraping from the bottom. If the dough is staying together, it is ready. If it is still dry and crumbly, add another tablespoon or 2. Continue this mixing and adding until the dough comes together. Do not overwork the dough, and do not add too much water.
Divide the dough in half, form each half into a disc or hockey puck shape, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days. Or you can freeze it if you aren’t making the pie right away.
To make the filling
Combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugars, Clear gel, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl. Carefully mix together, ensuring all pieces are covered. Let sit for 20 minutes.
To make the pie
Preheat the oven to 425℉
Remove crusts from fridge, liberally flour a clean, flat surface, and roll out your first half of dough. Lay the rolled out dough across your greased pie pan.
Fill with prepared filling.
Roll out second half of dough, ensuring there is enough to spread over the edge. Lay the dough across the top of the pie.
Cinch the edges and cut some ventilation holes in the top.
Beat the egg and use it to brush an egg-wash over the top of the pie, avoiding the cinched edges to prevent burning.
Bake pie on bottom rack for 15 minutes. Lower temperature to 350℉ and bake for an additional 45 minutes.
Allow the pie to completely cool before cutting. Let sit for several hours or overnight, if possible.
Notes for a perfect pie:
If your strawberries aren’t very sweet, you can add additional sugar if needed.
Clear Gel is a thickener that tolerates high temperatures because it doesn't break down, discolor, or thin out. If you don’t have Clear Gel, you can substitute equal amounts of cornstarch or Tapioca flour. If you cook things that you have to thicken regularly, consider purchasing some Clear Gel.
Place you rack low in the oven so the bottom of your pie is cooked well.