Pies are my thing. They always have been. I'm pretty sure they were my mom's thing too. My dad loved a good pie, and for my brother's birthday, it was always pie, never cake. My husband is the same way, he would choose pie any day over a cake. My boys are working their way there too.
So when my friend mentioned the rhubarb was starting to come up in her garden, I got excited. Strawberries in the store and rhubarb in the garden can only mean one thing to me. Strawberry Rhubarb Pie! If you never tasted this pie before, it is divine. I have made 9 of them over the past 2 weeks... yeah, I kind of have a problem with that! To my credit, 8 of them were mini pies for my baking class. The girls made strawberry rhubarb and fresh strawberry pie. The final pie was full size for some good friends. This weekend I think I'm making fresh strawberry.
The strawberry rhubarb is simple. Cut up your strawberries and rhubarb. Mix together sugar, flour and a pinch of salt. Layer the ingredients into a pie shell and dot with butter. I like to cover mine with a lattice top, it just looks so pretty! Brush with an egg wash, and sprinkle on sanding sugar. Pop it in the oven for an hour, and you have a wonderful desert at the end.
Fresh strawberry pie is equally delicious. One of the girls said it was the best pie she had ever eaten. Another likened it to strawberry shortcake. The strawberry pie is not baked. First thing you need to do is blind bake your pie crust. If you've never done this before, is is simple. Just fit the pastry into your pie pan and flute the edges. Prick the crust all over, then line it with foil. At this point you can fill it with pie weights, or you can grab a bag of dried beans and use those (my preferred method). Bake this in a hot oven for about 15 minutes. You may need to remove the foil and let the bottom of the crust bake just a touch longer until lightly browned. Set it aside to cool until your filling is ready. The filling is separated into two parts, cooked and not. The cooked filling is some mashed strawberries, sugar, water and cornstarch. This is cooked on the stove until boiling and thickened, a little butter is added for glossiness and it is set aside to cool. The uncooked filling is pure strawberries. Some people like them whole, I prefer to cut them a little, just so I get more in my pie! Once the cooked filling has cooled, pour that over the fresh strawberries, and put it in the fridge for at least 2 hours for it to set.
I can not take credit for any of these recipes. My mom passed along the only pie cookbook I have ever or will ever use. It is a Farm Journal Complete Pie Cookbook dating back to 1965. You can still find the cookbook in some used book stores. Keep your eye out for it at book sales, it is worth it and will become a trusted companion in your pie making adventures. Good luck!