Well, I've finally done it: Crossed a "must-make" off my recipe bucket list! And I have Chatelaine and their Strawberry-rhubarb pie to thank for it.
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Now I have made pies before, but always with a pre-made crust. I once assisted in a pastry-making event, but I was the sous chef and can't lay claim to that particular pie. So making this pie, complete with from-scratch crust, was pretty exciting. I'm not sure why I was so afraid of pastry, which is about as easy to make as, well, pie, if you have a food processor. I watched Chatelaine's video for tips and tricks to perfect pastry, and then got to work.
The pastry is made with flour, butter, a tiny bit of salt and sugar, and some cold water and lemon juice. The processor did all the work - truly. Once the dough is formed you split it in two and then shape each ball into a disk. The best tip here was to handle the dough as little as possible - apparently pastry likes the cold, not our warm hands! Once the disks are formed they go into plastic wrap and then the fridge for at least 20 minutes (or in my case, overnight).
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The next day when I took the pastry disks out they was rock solid (read: not ready for rolling). Which was fine, because it gave me time to make the filling. I used fresh rhubarb from my garden and fresh Ontario strawberries, both now in season. The filling is a mix of strawberries, rhubarb, a cup of sugar, orange rind, and minute tapioca (helps the filling set and avoids the run-off common to some fruit pies). The strawberry-rhubarb mixture is left out for about 15 minutes (and stirred often) to allow the juices to release from the fruit. In the meantime I got back to work on the pastry.
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So what's so tough about make-your-own crust, you ask? The rolling…without tearing, cracking, and fingernail holes (oops!). Also, the shape: Each piece should be round once rolled to fit the pie plate...mine were oval (at best) and a little flimsy around the edges. I will admit I had to roll each piece out twice (okay, three times) to get it to the right shape and thickness, but the end result was great. A little trimming and a few finger pinches around the edges (plus a couple of slits to allow the steam to escape during baking), and the pie was ready for baking.
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Once baked, the pie has to sit for two hours to set properly. We could only hold off for 1.5 hours, so our first couple of pieces ran onto the plates, but every piece after that was gooey without being runny. The pie was delicious, if I do say so myself. Chef in training and mini sous chef have already requested another one. I have a feeling I'm going to be an expert pastry-maker by the end of the summer…
Try this recipe: Strawberry-rhubarb pie
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