Strawberry Rhubarb Pie – Dutch Style

rhubarb plant with large leaves
The leaves of a rhubarb plant always remind me of elephant ear hostas

Growing up, we had a patch of rhubarb in the backyard. It was on the back corner of my parent’s property, and for some reason, no one minded that we took the lion’s share of the crop each year. I distinctly remember my mother warning me that although we ate the stalks, the large ornamental leaves of the plant were poisonous. For anyone wondering what rhubarb is, I usually compare it to celery. It can be stringy and green. When cleaning it up, you don’t use the leaves or the wide bottom part of the stalk. I like to run a vegetable peeler around the outside of the rhubarb stalks to get rid of any hard, fibrous bits that won’t easily break down when cooked.

diced rhubarb stalks
Close up of diced rhubarb stalks with all those little strings

Although it appears and is prepared similarly to celery, rhubarb is definitely it’s own flavor. Rhubarb is mostly bitter when eaten raw, and it turns into a mix of sweet and sour when cooked. That’s exactly why people have been stuffing it into pies for so long – it gives sweet berries a little more depth of flavor. Another bonus is that rhubarb’s firm stalks don’t break down as easily in pie filling and can help give a pie a subtle bite.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie - Dutch Style
Our neighbor’s strawberry patch has done so well this year we’ve ordered at least 25 pounds so far!

In coming up with this recipe, I wanted to use the same Dutch style crust I’ve used in the past for my apple pies. I love how simple the recipe is and that the same ingredients are used for the top and bottom. I had to play around with the filling a bit as the strawberries I was using were very juicy and ripe. In the first batch of strawberry rhubarb pie filling I made, the result was more of a jelly than a pie filling. I lowered the amount of water, increased the amount of rhubarb and strawberries, and voila!

Dutch Style Crust for Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Dutch Style Crust with flour, oats, sugar, butter and a touch of cinnamon

Enjoy this Dutch Style Strawberry Rhubarb Pie at your next get together or just because on June 9 (the official Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day in the United States)!

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 2 C. all-purpose flour
  • 1 C. packed brown sugar
  • ¾ C. unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ C. quick-cooking oats
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Filling:

  • ⅔ C. granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. Clabber Girl Corn Starch
  • ¼ C. water
  • 3 C. stemmed and sliced strawberries
  • 1 ¼ C. diced rhubarb
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F.

For the crust: Combine the ingredients using a pastry cutter; reserve 1 C. for topping. Press remaining crumb mixture into a greased 9-in. deep dish pie plate. Bake the bottom crust for 10 minutes while the filling cooks.

For the filling: Whisk sugar, corn starch and water in a saucepan until smooth; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in strawberries, rhubarb, vanilla and cinnamon. Pour into crust; top with reserved crumb mixture. Set in oven with a baking sheet underneath to catch any filling that bubbles out of the pie while baking. Bake at 350° F. for 40-45 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the crust browns on top.

Dutch Style Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Dutch Style Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Perfect Pie Crust At Your Fingertips

pecan-pie (4)

Let’s face it: few things are as loved and as feared as homemade pie crust.

We love it because at its best, it’s perfectly flaky, yet perfectly tender, and it reminds us of Grandma and the comforts of home. But many novice bakers have avoided mastering this kitchen repertoire staple because it has the reputation of being very difficult.

The truth is, pie crust is a little tricky, but not nearly as scary as it may seem. Let’s walk through some of the basics that will help you make a perfect pie crust from scratch.

Fats

Some people love butter, others prefer vegetable shortening, and still others swear by lard. You can use any or a combination of all of these fats. Butter doesn’t give pastry quite the flakiness that shortening does, but the flavor is much richer. Shortening generally makes the dough a little easier to handle, but you do sacrifice some flavor. Lard produces a flaky crust as well. Combinations of fats often create the best results.

Keep Ingredients Cold

Whether you opt for shortening or use Grandma’s recipe that calls for lard, one secret to flaky crust is to keep your ingredients cold. Flaky crust is created by pieces of un-melted fat rolled between layers of flour, which then melt during the baking process, leaving crispy pockets. Chill fats, water and even your flour thoroughly to maximize flakiness.

Mix Properly

Cut fats into dry ingredients before adding liquids. Using a pastry blender, a couple of forks, or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, combine fats and dry ingredients until coarse crumbs form. Then add cold water a bit at a time until the dough holds together. Don’t overwork your dough. Too much kneading will make it tough.

Flour Thoroughly

Be sure to flour your work surface before rolling out the dough. The last thing you want is for your perfectly rolled pastry to stick to the counter top! Dust the surface liberally with flour, and rub flour on your rolling pin, as well. Alternately, you can roll crust between pieces of parchment paper.

Handle With Care

Don’t handle the dough any more than necessary. Heat from your hands will transfer to the pastry, causing the fats to melt and sabotaging your flaky texture. To safely transfer your dough to the pie plate, gently roll it up over the rolling pin and slide it off into place.

Chill Before Baking

Pie dough has a tendency to lose its chill once its been rolled, shaped and fitted to the pie plate. It never hurts to pop the entire plate, dough and all, into the freezer for one last chill. Thirty minutes in the freezer will allow the fats to solidify again and help keep the dough from shrinking once it goes into the oven.

‘Baking Blind’

For pies with a cream filling, you will need to pre-bake your pie shell, also known as “baking blind.” To keep the crust from shrinking in the pan, it’s helpful to line your formed shell with a piece of parchment paper and fill with ceramic pie weights or dry beans. Remove them before cooling.

Top Crust

Don’t attempt to put a top crust over warm pie filling. Your dough is essentially glued together with butter and water and will quickly fall apart if placed over hot filling. Also, some recipes call for an egg wash, which will give your crust an attractive shine. Another option is a milk wash, which is often paired with a sprinkling of sugar to create a nicely browned crust.

So break out your rolling pin, tie on that favorite apron and stride confidently into the kitchen. You’ve got this! With these helpful hints and a bit of practice, you’ll be serving up your own perfect pie crust in no time.