Sweet as pie
Rhubarb season is in full swing and to make the most of this very British vegetable I make sure I buy some each week at the moment. Of course, this does rather leave me scratching my head over what to do with it all. While I have seen some interesting savoury recipes for rhubarb (being a tart beast it makes a really good accompaniment for fatty meats such as duck as a sauce) I am still plodding along the dessert route, and decided to make a pie.
The combination of rhubarb and strawberry is classic, and for good reason; the sweet strawberries contrast beautifully with the tart rhubarb. I deliberately used minimal sugar to highlight the contrast between the bitter and the sweet and it worked well. To make it a little different I also used aromatic lemon and rosemary sugar in the filling. The rosemary worked surprisingly well with the rhubarb, enhancing its vegetable side and giving the pie an almost savoury edge. Whilst this is definitely a dessert, it’s a subtle one, and won’t leave you on a sugar high.
Rhubarb and strawberry pie
This pie is a great way to use strawberries which are a little past their best; sweet squishy strawberries balance out the tartness of the rhubarb perfectly.
40g butter, cubed
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 egg (yes, really, crack it, mix it and use the rest to glaze; alternatively use 1 tablespoon milk)
Pinch of salt
60g gluten-free flour blend
1 teaspoon cold water
200g rhubarb stems, trimmed and chopped into chunks
100g strawberries, hulled and halved
2 tablespoons sugar
Zest of half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1. Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg, then stir in the salt and flour blend. Bring the dough together; if it is a little dry and crumbly add the water until it is a smooth, cohesive ball. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 180 C. To make the filling put the rhubarb and strawberries in the base of a 7-inch pie dish. With your fingertips rub the lemon zest and rosemary into the sugar until well mixed in. Sprinkle the aromatic sugar evenly over the fruit.
3. Roll out the pastry to an 8-inch circle. Lay this over the fruit, cutting a hole in the centre for steam to escape. Brush the top of the pastry with a little egg wash or milk for glaze, then bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.
4. Remove from the oven, leave to cool for 5 minutes, and serve with a little single cream.
Serves 4-6 for dessert. The flavours, if possible, improve after a day in the fridge.