As documented in my post on pie dough, I am relatively new to the world of the pie-obsessed. And my first pies were all of the mixed-berry variety (I’ve been mixed-berry/pastry focused since third grade, when Pepperidge Farm raspberry turnovers were a dessert staple). Thankfully, however, I’ve branched out in the pie filling department (I can get just the tiniest bit set in my ways when it comes to a particular ingredient/flavor/food item) and am newly preoccupied with strawberries and rhubarb (just about the tastiest of pie fillings), given the tart/sweet dimension. So preoccupied in fact, that I insisted on picking more than I could use and freezing much of it, in an effort to insure that I would be eating strawberry rhubarb pie past June. Which I am.
I consulted several sources (big surprise) in developing my filling (like The Pie and Pastry Bible and Smitten Kitchen), but ended up finding Anne Dimock’s straight-up rhubarb pie recipe and this strawberry rhubarb pie recipe the most intriguing. From Dimock I learned the “secret to rhubarb pie,” a ratio of 1/4 cup sugar to every cup of sliced rhubarb (I played with the ratio a bit due to the addition of strawberries in my pie and the sweetness factor was perfect); and from Four and Twenty Blackbirds’ Pie Book, I decided to replace my go-to thickener (corn starch) with arrow root and added a grind or two (or four) of black pepper, along with my cinnamon and salt.
The result is a sweet, but not too sweet, filling with just the right amount of hold-together-ness and no discoloration (cornstarch can make fruit look murky). The pepper adds an amazing zing (don’t be afraid to give the grinder a few serious turns). In short, a go-to filling that will convert all the mixed-berry pie lovers out there to the very special world of strawberry rhubarb.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
- 3 1/4 cup strawberries hulled and sliced, if large (frozen works well)
- 3 1/4 cup rhubarb sliced into 1/2" chunks (frozen works)
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 to 4 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 to 4 grinds fresh black pepper
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter sliced into 1/2" bits
- Combine the strawberries and rhubarb in a large bowl. Add the sugar, arrowroot and spices and, using your hands (or a wooden spoon), gently toss the fruit and the dry ingredients together until the fruit is nicely coated and the arrowroot has completely dissolved.
- Place one rolled out sheet of dough in the bottom of the plate or half sheet pan as per the above instructions. Add the filling. Dot the top of the filling with the butter, and continue to follow the off the charts flaky pie dough instructions for prepping and baking your pre-baked pie.