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Strawberry Rhubarb Lattice Pie with Foolproof Flaky Crust

June 17, 2012

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Many home cooks seem to be wary of making their own pie crust. I used to be one of them.

Then about 10 years ago, I stumbled across an utterly foolproof flaky pie crust recipe from the PBS series, America’s Test Kitchen … and everything changed.

It’s mercifully easy & fast to prepare — easy as pie in fact! There are just a few essential things to remember:

— Don’t overprocess. The finished dough should have pieces of fat remaining throughout. They shouldn’t be blended in. It’s this fat that leads to flaky.

— Don’t worry about too moist a dough. 8 tbs doesn’t sound like a lot of water until you start folding it in and then the dough starts looking a little (scarily) wet. But it’s all good. It’s this moisture that helps keep the dough pliable when you’re rolling it.

— Cold is key. You must use cold butter, cold shortening and ice water. This helps keep the fat pieces that lead to flaky pastry intact.

— Let the dough rest in the fridge as directed before rolling. Resting time is critical for proper gluten development which leads to the right overall strength & texture of the pastry.

Another plus: this uncooked dough freezes perfectly. I often whip up a triple batch just to have some on hand when fruit in season calls out to me, or when guests are headed our way.

Truth be told, if my waistline could stand it, I’d have pie every single day. And though I’d surely mix things up, with peach ginger one day, blueberry peach another, apple apricot the next, cherry after that, and so on, strawberry rhubarb is my hands down favorite.

You’ll Need:

For the Pie Crust —

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

2 tbs sugar

8 tbs crisco, chilled

12 tbs butter, chilled and cut into chunks

8 tbs ice water

A food processor fitted with steel blade

A medium bowl

A rubber spatula

Plastic wrap

A rolling pin, floured

A pastry cloth, floured

A pizza wheel or sharp knife

A 9″ pie pan

2 tbs milk

A pastry brush

A sprinkling of sugar

For the Filling —

1/2 lb rhubarb, washed, trimmed & sliced into 1/2″ pieces

16 oz strawberries, washed, hulled & halved

1 cup sugar (1/2 brown makes it more flavorful)

1/4 cup corn starch

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

A large mixing bowl

Steps:

1. Start the pie crust about 1 1/2 hrs hrs (and up to 2 days unless you plan to freeze it) before you plan to bake off the pie.

2. In the food processor, combine the flour, salt & the 2 tbs sugar with a few pulses.

3. Add the crisco and pulse 10 times.

4. Add the butter and pulse 10 times.

5. Turn the mixture out into the bowl and sprinkle the ice water over everything.

6. Use the rubber spatula to fold the water gently into the dough.

7. Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a disc, wrap each disc in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

8. For the filling, gently toss together the rhubarb, strawberries, cinnamon, corn starch, sugar & salt in the large bowl.

9. Preheat the oven to 400.

10. Set out the pastry cloth & sprinkle it with flour. Do the same with the rolling pin.

11. Roll out the first disc of dough until its about 13″ in diameter. Transfer it to the pie pan, and trim, leaving 3/4″ overhang all around.

12. Turn the overhang up and create a ridge of dough all around the pie pan, crimping with your thumb & forefinger.

13. Roll out the other half of dough until its roughly the same size.

14. Use the pizza wheel or knife to slice 1″ wide strips of dough.

15. Spoon the fruit filling into the dough lined pie pan.

16. Lay the strips of dough on top, forming a lattice pattern. Crimp edges to the ridge of dough already along the edges of the pan.

17. With the pastry brush, paint the lattice with the milk. Then sprinkle with sugar.

18. Bake for 20 minutes

19. Reduce heat to 350 and bake 60 – 70 minutes more, until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling through the lattice.

20. Allow to cool until just barely warm or colder before serving.

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