Thursday, June 13, 2013

How to make: Strawberry Rhubarb Mini Pies

So rhubarb is one of my favorite "fruit" pies to eat in the spring. Is it a fruit? It's more like a stalk. Wikipedia says, "In culinary use, fresh raw petioles (leaf stalks) are crisp (similar to celery) with a strong, tart taste."  I GUESS it's not a fruit.  Growing up, we usually had rhubarb pie at some point during this time of the year, due to the GIGANTIC rhubarb plant growing in my grandpa's backyard.  It just feels so weird to me to have to buy it in the store, since we never had to when I was living in Michigan. Unfortunately now since I've moved to Chicago, and I don't have a yard to plant rhubarb in, I have to make do!

Rhubarb only shows up in the grocery store at this time of the year as well, so I spontaneously bought some last week.  I purchased the rhubarb not because I wanted pie necessarily, because I feel I need to cook with it every year.  Oh, who am I kidding, I always want pie!

Now there's a couple of special tools I used to make these mini-pies.  First, I used a mini-tart pan.  "But Laurie, you called these PIES, not tarts!".  YES YES YES I know, but in my mind a tart doesn't have a top crust and these do.  Semantics!  These 4 x 1 inch tart pans will work beautifully for these pies anyway.  If you don't have this, you can make a regular sized pie, or even use muffin tins to get the mini-pie effect.

Second, I used a pastry cutter.  You absolutely do not need this to make these pies.  BUT I got it for my birthday and this was the first time getting to use it!  In the past, I've used a pizza cutter, or just a knife to make my upper-crust lattice.

yield: 2 mini-pies (4")
[printable recipe]


For Crust: (or you can use pre-made dough)
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup cold butter (or half butter and half shortening)
4-5 tbsp ice cold water

For Filling:
2 cups diced rhubarb & strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375F
2. For filling:  Mix fruit, sugar, flour & cinnamon together in medium bowl.
3. For crust:  Mix flour & salt together.  Cut in butter with pastry cutter until pea sized.  Sprinkle 1 tbsp of water over the flour mixture & gently toss with fork.  Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl.  Repeat with 1 tbsp of water at a time until all the flour mixture is moistened.  Form dough into a ball.
4.  Divide dough in half  Divide that one half into half again. (at this point, you should have two quarters and 1 half of dough)  Roll out both quarter pieces of dough and line the bottom of tart pans.  Trim the edges of dough so there is no overhang.
5.  Pour the filling into the dough-lined tart pans (as much as you can).
6.  Roll out the remaining half of the dough and cut lattice pieces with pastry cutter.  Weave the lattice on the top of the mini-pies, and tuck the ends into the bottom crust.
7.  Place pies on foil lined baking sheet (they will boil over a bit).  Bake for 25 minutes or until dough is cooked and filling is bubbly.

Here I've lined my tart pans with the rolled out quarter piece of dough.
Trim the dough up.

Put as much filling inside as you can get!

Roll out the remaining half of the dough and cut your lattice pieces.

Start to weave the lattice like so.

Finish up the weave...

And tuck in the ends!

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