It’s actually a little late in the season for rhubarb, but I saw some in the market. It looked so good, that I bought it along with a quart of strawberries. To my way of thinking, rhubarb and strawberries make a perfect combination – in a sauce, a cake, or a tasty pie.
I have great memories of eating raw rhubarb straight out of my grandmother’s garden. I pulled off the leaves, peeled the skin from the flat side of the stalk, shook on some salt, and ate the whole thing, shaking on more salt as I went. My grandmother cautioned me not to eat the leaves as they were poisonous. That was good advice because rhubarb leaves are rich in oxalic acid (along with greens like sorrel) and oxalic acid can precipitate in the kidneys causing kidney failure. The stalks have oxalic acid, too, but not so much to be dangerous. That was good for me as a child. I was never poisoned, but I often had a belly ache.
The recipe I used is based on one from that great baking book, The Fanny Farmer’s Baking Book by Marion Cunningham (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1984)
Rhubarb Strawberry Pie
- 4 large stalks rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 3/8 inch dice
- 1 quart strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- pie dough for a two-crust pie, rolled into two circles for a 9-inch pie (commercial prepared pie crust is perfect)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- turbinado sugar
- In a large bowl, combine the diced rhubarb and slice strawberries and set aside.
- In another large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, salt, and vanilla extract. Stir in the rhubarb and strawberries, mixing gently until the fruit is well coated (I know – rhubarb is technically not a fruit)
- Line a 9-inch pie pan with one of the circles of dough. Distribute the filling mixture evenly.
- Cut the butter into 16 pieces and dot the top of the filling.
- Cover with the second circle of dough. Seal and crimp the edges. Cut several vents in top crust.
- Mix thoroughly the egg and milk. Using a pastry brush, paint the mixture on the crust and then sprinkle with turbinado sugar
- Bake in the middle of an oven preheated to 450°F for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 35 minutes. Anticipate spillovers by placing the pie pan on a cookie sheet.
- When the crust is golden brown, remove from the oven and cool on a baking rack.
- Serve warm, preferably with a scoop of ice cream.