Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Wondra Crust and Viking Butter

I must say at the outset, that this is a rather expensive way to bake a strawberry rhubarb pie. Instant-blending flour is not cheap, nor is imported Danish butter, but in the end I baked a pie that had an incredibly flaky, tender crust that would be difficult to improve. That said, Lurpak and Wondra aren't items that ordinarily end up on my shopping list, and I'm reasonably certain they won't become staples. I will however, remember this recipe next time I need an impressive pie. I made two, and one is resting in the deep freeze waiting to be baked, so I know we can enjoy this pie at least once more. We all agreed it was delicious, and I suggested perhaps it would be worth baking fewer pies saving up for better ingredients. They both scrunched-up their faces at that suggestion, but honestly, I wonder if anything else will ever measure-up to this pie. I can't imagine using another crust, at least for a fruit pie. Damn, those Vikings make good butter!

The recipes for both the pastry and filling come from Farm Journal's Complete Pie Cookbook, 1965. Man, talk about a book I'd like to bake my way through! I've had terrific luck with the recipes so far, and in general, my Farm Journal Cookbooks tend to be quite reliable. I purchased this one at the Library Sale (Thursdays, and the first Saturday of each month at the Swanson branch in Omaha) for the grand sum of a quarter. I'm glad I saved money on the book, because the pie itself cost a small fortune.

For the Pastry:

1 3/4 cup instant blending flour (in the US this is Wondra)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter (I used Lurpak)
1/4 cup ice water

Measure flour and salt into a large bowl. Sift lightly. Cut in shortening and butter until flour is damp. Add ice water a teaspoon at a time until dough just comes together. Divide into two balls for each crust. I made a lattice for the top, but you could use a solid covering.

For the Pie:

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup instant blending flour
2 cups fresh strawberries cut in half if large
2 cups rhubarb cut in 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter
Cream and coarse sugar for glazing top

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Combine sugar, salt, and flour. Arrange half the rhubarb and strawberries in the bottom crust. Cover with half the dry mixture. Repeat with fruit and end with dry mixture. Dot with butter. Adjust top pastry. Brush with cream, and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake (on a baking sheet, because you KNOW it will leak) 40-50 minutes, or until crust is golden, and filling is bubbling up nicely.

Note-this makes a juicy pie. If you prefer it thicker, add some cornstarch, or more flour.

If freezing pie, prepare a solid top pastry, but do not cut vents. Cover with wax paper and cling film. When you bake it, bake from frozen, and after about ten minutes, remove it from the oven, cut vents, then continue baking as usual. 

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