Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Source: Ze Xiao, Pie Contest Winner
This pie won second prize in CUESA’s Harvest Festival Pie Contest on October 26, 2013.
2¼ cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar (preferably caster or superfine sugar)
2 sticks cold butter
6 tablespoons ice-cold water (the ice-cold part is very important; don’t skimp on this!)
¼ cup small white tapioca pearls
3½ cups sliced and hulled strawberries
3½ cups sliced (½-inch pieces) rhubarb
½ cup sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Zest of ½ lemon
Pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
1. Mix the flour with the salt and sugar, then divide the butter into mini cubes and drop them into the flour batter. Cut the butter into the flour until you get the proverbial pea-sized pieces of butter and flour.
2. Incrementally add the water into the butter as follows. Put 2 tablespoons in, cut the crust with a pastry cutter, clean the pastry cutter, then put another 2 tablespoons in, cut it again, add 1 tablespoon, cut it, and see if the dough comes together. If it doesn’t, start adding the remaining 1 tablespoon of water but not quite all of it, and try to get the dough to come together. Before you use your hands, make sure you put your hands around a cup of ice-cold water to cool them down, as you don’t want your hands melting the butter. At first it seems like you’ll never get all the dough to hold together, but you will. Do NOT add more than 6 tablespoons of water.
3. On a floured surface, form a ball with the pastry crust and cut it into half (it’s important to halve it, or you’ll have an uneven pie).
4. Reform the halves into flattened balls, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to 3 days) before using.
5. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Roll out the pie dough into two crusts, and place one of them in a 9-inch pie pan.
6. To make the filling, soak the tapioca pearls in water for about 10 minutes, then drain.
7. Combine the tapioca with the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice and zest, and salt. Pour the filling into the pie crust, then place the second crust on top. Crimp the top and bottom crusts together.
8. Mix the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water, and brush the top pie crust. Cut some holes in the top for vents, and then sprinkle turbinado sugar on top to give it a nice browned look at the end.
9. Bake for 30 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350°F for an additional 25 to 30 minutes.