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!
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Mint and Bitters
This iconic Spring pie gets a makeover with fresh mints and rhubarb bitters.
- 1 double crust Pie Pastry recipe see archives for Perfect Pie Pastry
- 2 1/2 cups strawberries hulled and chopped
- 3 cups rhubarb chopped. If the stalk is large in diameter, split it lengthwise and then chop
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tbsp arrowroot starch or cornstarch
- 3 tbsp flour
- 2 tsp chopped fresh mint
- 5 generous dashes or rhubarb bitters
- 3 tbsp ground almonds
- egg wash 1 egg, beaten with a little water
- 1 tbsp raw or demerara sugar
Have pie pastry prepared, two disks, with one slightly larger than the other one in the fridge.
Bring the larger disk to room temperature and roll out on a well floured surface to fit a 9 inch pie plate.
Roll out the pastry onto a well floured rolling pin and transfer to the pie place, unrolling it to fit and gently hang over. Ease it into the plate. Trim the edges to a 1inch border along the edges. Return to the fridge to set for 30 minutes.
When ready to fill the pie, take the pie plate out of the fridge. Also remove the smaller disk of pastry.
Preheat the oven to 425F. Place one rack in the bottom third of the oven, and the other in the middle.
Combine the strawberries and rhubarb in a large bowl.
Combine the sugar, starch, flour and mint in a small bowl and mix well.
Pour this over the fruit and stir to combine well. Add the dashes of rhubarb bitters.
Pour the ground almonds over the bottom of the pie crust. Spread them out in a nice layer.
Add the fruit over the almonds. Spread out evenly.
Take the smaller disk of pastry and roll out. Prepare a lattice or use cookie cutters to make shapes to cover your pie. Or you can just make another circle to fit over the pie. Press the edges together and fold under and then crimp or flute. If using a full pastry top, cut vent holes to allow the steam to escape.
Refrigerate 30 minutes.
When ready to bake, place the pie on a baking sheet and brush the entire top with the egg wash. Then sprinkle the top with the finishing sugar.
Bake in the lower third for 30 minutes.
Reduce the temperature to 375F and move the baking sheet and pie to the middle rack. Continue baking for another 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 edged and continue baking)
Let the pie cool at least 4 hours to set the filling and juices.
I find it best with juicy fruit pies to either bake it first thing in the morning or even the day before serving. You want the juices to set properly.