Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with an Olive Oil Crust


Okay okay fine. I give up.

Strawberry rhubarb is my favorite pie in the universe and I don't care who knows it. The bright red... The juice... The tartness... The sweetness... The fragrance and depth of flavor... I cannot even begin to describe the kind of joy it brings me to have a slice of strawberry rhubarb pie. I don't care if it makes me #Basic.

When spring begins to spring, I sit on my hands lest they go flying off my wrists as I cannot wait until May comes so that I can have the pie. In my commitment to eating seasonally, I generally don't like to eat anything that's not readily growing in my garden. Nature will tell me when I may eat something, so I must be patient. This is my own little practice at discipline and spirituality. I surrender to the earth in my own quiet way and it brings me peace to do so. 

I don't like strawberries that I don't grow myself at this point. I feel like strawberries are the kind of fruits that never taste as good as they look, lest they be dipped in chocolate. Did you know that the reason that many store-bought strawberries taste tart and flavorless is that they're picked while still green and ripened with ethanol gas on the way to the store? You can, of course, get u-pick strawberries here and there at farms, but I've got a gorgeous patch at home soI don't see why should I pay for something I can get for the price of a little patience.

Now that I have rhubarb plants intermingling with my strawberries, I'm so happy to know that my pie patch is complete. Because it is the first year of my rhubarb plants, they're going to be quite thin and small, but will grow thicker and larger with each passing season. Rhubarb is a wonderful vegetable that is so hardy it can even grow in harsh Alaska. One thing to remember about rhubarb: the leaves are toxic, so please only eat the stalks! If you're interested in learning more about rhubarb and exploring its flavor, try on a rhubarb bao or a spiced rhubarb pie for size.

All of these were in my thoughts when I went to the farm for my weekly CSA. Strawberries and rhubarb were up for grabs! I didn't personally grab any, but just the thought of them - and mine - being ripe was enough to push me over the edge to want some delicious strawberry rhubarb pie. Even better, this recipe is entirely vegan so all of my friends can enjoy it! 

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Olive Oil Crust

Crust

  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 5 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Ice water, as needed
Filling
  • 1 quart strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 pint rhubarb, peeled and chopped
  • 1 c granulated sugar + 3 Tbsp 
  • 4 Tbsp corn starch
  • A fat pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp each of flour and granulated sugar
Let the strawberries and rhubarb sit in the sugar overnight, but for my perfect strawberry rhubarb pie, I like to let it go for a solid 48 hours. No, really! If you can be patient, it's worth it. 

Meanwhile, let's make that crust! This is a surprisingly easy recipe to make. Simply mix all of the crust ingredients together until it forms a dough. Wrap it in plastic and let chill for at least half an hour. When you're ready, beat the devil out of it with a rolling pin to loosen the glutens, then roll it out to fit a pie shell pan. Once it's rolled, cover it and let it relax in the fridge until you're ready to use it. This is a unique pie crust because glutens will form more easily considering the fat is in a liquid state. You're going to want to treat it with respect as such!

When you're ready to bake your pie, preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Drain all of the macerated liquid from the strawberries and add it to a small saucepot. Bring this beautiful liquid to a simmer and cook it for about 15 minutes, which should reduce it by half, on a low flame. Meanwhile, add the cornstarch and salt to the strained fruit and mix until incorporated. Allow the liquid to cool for about five minutes so it's not scorching hot before you pour your reduction back over the strawberry-rhubarb mix. If you wanted to add some fresh herbs, such as basil or thyme, to your pie, now would be the opportune time!




Sprinkle the flour and sugar over the bottom of the raw pie crust and shimmy it around to get an even coating. This is "crust dust" to keep you from getting a soggy bottom. Add your filling to the raw pie shell and top with your topping of choice. You can top your pie with any sort of decoration that you like, but I chose a coconut oil streusel along with some flaked coconut that I had lying around. A simple streusel is just equal parts, by volume, of flour, sugar, brown sugar, and cold fat. For a single pie, you can use about 1/4 c of each. I also mixed in a handful of raw oats for good measure. You can also double your crust recipe if you want to make a lattice top! I'll leave it up to you. You're the one that's eating this pie, after all. No matter what, you'll bake it for 45 minutes, or until set. Allow cooling at room temperature for at least 2 hours before cutting and serving.

I like to have this pie chilled, but room temperature is just fine. Some people prefer it warm, but there's something about warm strawberries that freaks me out and I cannot fathom exactly why. Please don't let my hangups about food corrupt your pleasure! If you want a warmed piece of strawberry rhubarb pie with a scoop of ice cream, then I cannot and shall not stop you. 

I hope you enjoy this wonderful season ahead of us. Happy cooking and happy eating!

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