This time of year, eating strawberry-rhubarb pie is an act of faith.
Remember when I went strawberry-picking with the kids last spring? Well, after all the needed freezer jam was made, there were some berries left over. They went in a big freezer bag and into the basement freezer chest and were eventually forgotten.
Tonight we were scheduled to have some friends over for dessert. What to make? Pie is almost always a good answer, so I went down to get some rhubarb and also discovered the extra strawberries. I thought, “Do I dare use up some of this precious goodness?” Spring is still a ways off, but I have faith it will eventually come. The closer its arrival gets, the stronger my faith, the brighter my hope, and less protective I am about the year’s storage of berries and rhubarb.
Unfortunately, our friends couldn’t come, but the pie was very good anyway. Here’s the recipe, in case spring is closer to you than it is to me.
1 recipe pie crust (for 2 crusts)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 Tablespoon grated orange zest
3 cups hulled strawberries
3 cups cut rhubarb
Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Roll out half the pie dough and place in a 10-inch pie plate, fluting the edges. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg, and orange zest. Add fruit and toss to coat. If using frozen fruit, microwave this mix in 30-second intervals until it’s mostly defrosted. Let this sit for 15 minutes.
When the crust is prebaked, fill with fruit and cover with lattice strips or regular top crust with slits. Seal edges. Sprinkle a little sugar on top. Place the pie plate on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Place on the lower rack of the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Then lower the heat to 375ºF and place the cookie sheet and pie on the middle rack and bake for another 30 minutes. The center of the pie should be bubbly. Cool for 2-3 hours.
Recipe adapted from The Village Baker’s Wife by the fabulous Gayle and Joe Ortiz of Gayle’s Bakery in Capitola, California.