There has been so much rhubarb taunting me that I had to make another pie. Our yard is a shared yard with the 3 other tenants in our building and there is not much room to put a garden. There are a few small flower beds, mostly in the shade and close to the house. Not very promising for a vegetable garden. So we were looking for a place to put our seedlings and found an organic farm about 20 km from here that offers a portion of their land for gardening purposes at a reasonable fee. You pay by the square meter and we acquired a long plot that is 2 meters wide. This seemed to be enough space for our plants and the other vegetables that the farm provides you with. The plot comes with potatoes, cabbage, leek, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, kohlrabi, carrots, beans, peas and to top it off a row of sunflowers. Most are seeds that have been planted in long rows and the entire garden is split up into separate variable sized plots. The garden is located in a small town some where between Cologne and Bonn, two major cities in this area. Most of our fellow gardeners are city folk who don’t have land of their own and want to have a garden accessible to them. The vegetable seeds were provided by a buxom farmer who owns the land and surrounding fields. He planted them in the field last week and now we are on our own. Next to our shared garden on 2 sides there are fields of rye-grass. On another side there is a very small road, and I mean very small, dividing up the landscape and allowing us access to our field. And to the right of our small garden expands a sea of nearly endless rhubarb. My eyes started to mist at the sight. Oh what I could do with all that rhubarb. Plants as far as the eye could see.
Crust for Strawberry-Rhubarb pie
2 cups all purpose flour (plus a little extra for rolling)
1 1/2 sticks of butter or margerine
1/3 cup very cold water
A little milk (or soy milk) for brushing on top
You need to start with very cold butter and very cold water. This is important!
In a large bowl cut the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter or with 2 knives until the butter is pea-sized. If you don’t have ice water then put a small glass of water in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes before you start. Now add the water one tablespoon at a time and work it in gently until the dough forms a ball that is not to crumbly and not too sticky. Don’t add the water all at once because you may not need it all! If the dough is a little wet add a little more flour but don’t overwork the dough. Be very gentle with it and try to handle it as little as possible. You don’t want to knead it, you just want to gently press it into a ball and then wrap it in foil and put it in the fridge. Let the dough rest for at least an hour and up to one day. When you are ready with the filling for your pie take the dough and cut it into two halves. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of flour on a clean dry work surface. Press the halved dough ball into a round, flat circle and sprinkle a little flour on top. With a rolling pin gently roll the dough out in several directions to form an even layer of dough.
Occasionally lift the dough and re-dust the surface with flour. I lift half at a time and spread the flour out underneath. Also put a little more on top if needed. You don’t want the dough to stick to the work surface or the rolling pin because it will tear or leave a hole when you try to move it. When the dough is rolled out enough that it will fit into a pie plate with a little extra for overhang fold the dough into quarters. Lift the quartered dough and gently pat to remove excess flour. Refold in the opposite direction and pat it again to remove the flour. Then lay it out in the pie plate and set aside. Do the same with the other half of the dough and put on top of your filled pie.
Now use a butter knife to trim the excess dough from around the pie. Leave about an inch or two of overhang to finish the crust. Take both bottom and top crusts and fold them under forming a little wall around your pie. Then flute the edge with your index finger pressing in on one side of the wall of dough and your index and thumb from your other hand on the other side of the dough wall. Do this all the way around the pie. Then cut in air vents with a sharp knife or pierce with a fork in any design that you like on the top crust. Brush the top and fluted edge with milk and bake.
Filling for Strawberry-Rhubarb pie
The filling I used was very similar to the strawberry-rhubarb pie recipe used by the Blissful Baker, only I didn’t use orange zest or cinnamon and I used 3/4 cup of flour instead of only 3 tablespoons.