Rhubarb is a classic spring flavor and makes a great pie filling. In this recipe I used raspberries instead of strawberries for something a bit different. I also used some honey to sweeten the filling.
Ingredients for pie crust:
1 stick quality frozen salted butter (I like Lurpak or Kerrygold. Unsalted butter will work too, just add more salt)
1 cup all-purpose flour (I prefer Hungarian or King Author) plus more for working the dough
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cane sugar
¼ to ⅓ cup ice water (it must have ice in it!)
Ingredients for filling:
¾ - 1 cup fresh rhubarb coarsely chopped (½ to ¾ of an inch size)
6 oz raspberries (this is the size of the normal raspberry carton in American stores)
1 tbs. Björn's Crystallized or Traditional Honey
1/3 cup cane sugar plus 1/2 half tablespoon of cane sugar for topping filling before baking
¼ - ¼ cup filtered water (maybe less)
Juice of ½ to 1 lemon
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Preheat oven to 425℉.
A note about pie crust. Making a pie crust from scratch can be intimidating but the real secret is a good quality food processor. It’s still possible to make pie crust without a food processor, but it’s more difficult. The key is to not overwork the dough. I have a separate section below for making pie crust without a food processor.
Making pie crust with a food processor:
First, take out your frozen butter and cut it into cubes using a butter knife. It can be difficult because the butter is hard so make sure you are careful and use a cutting board.
Put the flour, butter cubes, salt and sugar into your food processor. You can use the normal food processor blade.
Pulse the butter/flour mixture until it blends completely and becomes grainy like sugar. Then continuing to pulse the mixture slowly adding ice water, a tablespoon at a time. Keep adding water until mixture begins to form a dough and will hold together when pinched between your fingers. At this point, you want to take the blade out of the food processor and then gently push the dough into a rough ball in the food processor bowl. Then turn that ball of dough out onto a clean workstation that has a bit of flour on it.
Making sure there is flour underneath, work the dough into a more solid ball using your knuckles. Using your knuckles will help keep the dough cold, the palm of your hands are warm and will make the dough too sticky.
Once the dough is formed into a solid ball, flatten it a bit with a rolling pin by gently hitting the ball. You want a semi-flat and round circle. Once you get to that point, stop and let the dough rest for 2-4 min.
You can then roll out your dough. Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough into a circle that is a 2” bigger than your pie pan. I used a 9” milk glass pie pan but any small pie pan will work. Once you have a big circle of crust, gently lay the pan upside down on the dough. Then using a paring knife, trace a circle around your pan that leaves 2” of extra space. This will be the sides of your pie. Flip the dough over and into your pan. Be careful, this part is often where dough gets torn.
Once the dough is in pie pan, use your finger to arrange the dough on the sides of the pan. At this point, you want the sides to be straight so you can fill the pie with filling later and then fold the sides over to creating a semi double-crust. Then place pie crust in the refrigerator to chill while you make the filling.
Making the pie filling:
For the filling, take half of the rhubarb and half of the sugar and place it in a skillet or pan on the stove. Cook rhubarb and sugar for roughly 5 min. or until the sugar melts. If mixture is dry, add the filtered water, a little bit at a time to help the rhubarb cook. Do not let it burn. In a bowl, stir together cornstarch and lemon juice. If you have a juicy lemon, only use half of the juice. If it’s a bit drier, use the whole lemon. Pour the cornstarch and lemon mixture into the pan of cooked rhubarb and cook for 4 more min. or until the cornstarch becomes clear and the mixture thickens. If mixture gets too thick, thin it using water. The final product should be like a cooked jam, think but not sticky.
Take the cooked rhubarb off the stove and let it cool in a kitchen strainer or colander over a bowl. Letting the filling cool this way will get rid of excess moisture which can make the pie runny. Wash your raspberries. Once the cooked rhubarb is cooled, mix the raspberries and the rest of the raw rhubarb into the cooked rhubarb mixture. Add the rests of the sugar and the honey. If you have trouble getting the honey to mix in, let the mixture sit, the honey will begin to dissolve in the juices from the fruit. Stir again and then take your crust out of the refrigerator and pour the filling into the crust being careful not to get any one sides of crust.
Gently fold the sides of the crust down over the pie filling. If the dough is too cold and not playable, let the raw pie sit out for a few min. until the crust warms up a bit.
Once the pie is assembled, sprinkle the extra 1/2 half tablespoon of sugar over the filling only. If you think your filling, is sweet enough, skip this part. Rhubarb and raspberries can vary in tartness. Don’t get it on the crust as it will discolor during backing.
Bake pie for 30 min. at 425℉. Let pie cool completely before serving so that the filling will hold together. Serve with cold cream, vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. I topped mine with lilac flowers which are edible but have no real taste. You can top yours with edible flowers too, lilac, violet or pansies are common edible flower. If you are unsure if a flower is edible, don’t use it.
Making pie crust without a food processor:
For this method, butter should be refrigerator cold, not frozen, Cut cold butter into small cubes and place in bowl with flour, salt, and sugar. Using your fingertips only, work flour and butter together until is is mostly blended and has pea-sized crumbles. Keep working until flour and butter are blended and there is no excess flour in the bowl. Then add ice water, a teaspoon at a time and work it into the dough. Try hard not to overwork dough or let it get too warm, If it feels sticky or like the butter is melting, chill in refrigerator for a half hour and keep working.
Once dough is formed, work it into a loose ball and then follow the instructions above starting with the “Once dough is formed…” paragraph. Best of luck!