I have reached the point in the Portland winter/spring where I really, really freaking need it to be warm and sunny.
I know, I’m a jerk for complaining about the weather conditions I knew existed when I moved here. Just like I was a jerk for complaining about the heat in Arizona in July.
In an attempt to at least feel like it’s springtime, blue sky and all, I made the most spring-y pie I could think of: Strawberry-Rhubarb.
I love baking pies — it’s almost as therapeutic as long distance running — though it’s taken me a loooong time to get good at it. There were many disasters along the way (including a 4th of July pie I baked last year into a pan that still had paper in the bottom. Even the drunk people at our house left it alone…) but I’m of the current belief that anyone can make a serviceable pie crust with the right recipe. And the filling part is easy.
So, let’s tackle the crust first, since this seems to be what freaks most people out. I like this recipe because it uses a mix of fats (butter and vegetable shortening) which results in maximum flakiness. I’ve heard that for a really flaky crust, leaf lard is the way to go, but I avoid it because “leaf lard” is actually code for: “visceral fat deposits surrounding the kidneys and inside the loin,” and that makes me feel like vomiting.
ANYWAY. Crust ingredients (for single crust):
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2/3 cups cake flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces AND 5 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening cut into pieces
- 1/4 cup cold water
Super easy steps steps to success. Note: you could use a food processor to do this, but then you’d be a wussy.
- Combine the flours, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and mix. Scatter the butter and shortening over the dry ingredients and rub it in using your hands until the fat is broken into fine pieces. It should look kinda like this:
Next, sprinkle the water over the mixture and toss well to dampen it. Add the remaining water and continue to mix. The, still using your hands, pack the dough into a ball like this:
Ingredients: (note: I actually went pretty rogue here because the recipe I was using had way, way too much sugar in it.)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup flour (the recipe says tapioca, but I refuse and the flour is just fine.
Add all the ingredients into a bowl and mix em together. That is the extent of the instructions. I never understood why recipes break the mixing all the stuff together phase into a million steps. It will look really pretty like this (and will smell really spring-like and great):
Now for the actual hard part: rolling out the dough and getting it into the pan. A no-duh tip I recently learned is to roll it out on wax paper, then flip the wax paper over and guide it into the pan instead of over-handling it. For some reason my rolled out dough always looks like part of Pangea.
Once the dough is in the pan, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and stick the crust in the freezer for 15 minutes (will keep the bottom from getting soggy when you bake it.) Final step, dump the fruit into the crust and bake.
Anyway, this pie is the best especially at a time when Portland is the worst.