Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Mint and Bitters
We’ve had a stellar weekend here in Toronto. Spring has finally recognized us and made up for a less than impressive start to the season. Blue skies, magnolia and lilac trees in full bloom, the lake is filled with sailboats, the parks are filled with sun starved humans and their dogs, the patios are filled with happy eaters and drinkers. All has been fabulous.
And I baked a pie. My favourite pie. Jim’s favourite pie…no, I take that back, his favourite pie is pretty well any pie that he has access to.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is so iconic of this time of year. Strawberries are luscious, juicy and sweet. Rhubarb is tart and softens to a lovely contrast against the pureness of the berries. I love this combo in jam, a compote for ice cream or even pancakes and waffles.
Really, Spring isn’t complete until I have baked this pie…a few times! In the last few years I’ve been experimenting with bitters quite often, trying to see where I can use them to bring out the flavours of the other ingredients in a dish, or to add a secondary depth of flavour. In this case, I opt for Rhubarb Bitters from Fee Brothers, because I find often the strawberry side of the pie seems to dominate. So the bitters balance out the flavours a bit more and give the rhubarb an opportunity to shine. The fresh mint that I chop into the filling also adds another type of freshness, with a bit of tang. So this pie, to me, is a step above your everyday pie, it has grown up!
You already have access to my absolute favourite Pie Crust recipe, so make this the day before if possible (or even whip some up and leave in the freezer for when the urge for a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie suddenly hits you!)
Enjoy this pie, and when you bake it, I hope the sun shines, and the birds sing, and the lilacs share their fragrance to enhance your day!
- 1 double crust Pie Crust recipe (see the archives for the best one ever!)
- 2 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and chopped
- 3 cups rhubarb, chopped (if the stalk is large, split lengthwise and then chop)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tbsp arrowroot starch or cornstarch
- 3 tbsp flour
- 2 tsp chopped fresh mint
- 4-5 large dashes of rhubarb bitters
- 2-3 tbsp ground almonds
- Egg wash (1 egg beaten with a tsp of water)
- 1 tbsp raw or demerara sugar
- Preheat the oven to 425 F and place the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven.
- Combine the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch, flour, mint and bitters in a bowl, stirring to ensure that the starches and sugar are coating all the fruit.
- Line a 9 inch pie tin with one portion of the pie crust dough. Spread out the ground almonds evenly across the bottom of the pie plate.
- Pour the filling into the pie plate.
- Prepare the top crust the way you would like: lattice, patterned, even just a flat cover (in this case ensure that there are vent holes, not just cut lines- the juices need a little bit of an escape route!!) Crimp the edges. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
- Brush the entire top with the egg wash, and sprinkle with raw or demerara sugar.
- Place the pie on a baking sheet.
- Bake the pie for 30 minutes.
- Reduce the temperature to 375 F and bake for a further 30 minutes or so, until the juices are bubbling, and the crust is golden brown. (if you find that the edges are getting browned before the pie is done, place a pie guard or tinfoil over the edges, and continue baking.
- Let the pie cool at least 4 hours to set the juices.
- I find it best with juicy pies like this to either bake it first thing in the morning, or even the day before. You want the juices to set properly.