Ummm . . . I made a pie.  I made like the whole thing–the crust, the topping, all of it.  See, this jewhungry author only figured out how to cook about 2 years ago so there is still a vast array of foods I have NO IDEA how to make and a majority of them I find very intimidating.  Pies were in this category.  However, when the hubby and I were registering for our wedding I made the genius decision to register for a pastry cutter thinking that one day I would bake a dang pie.  Well, that one day came about 7 months after our wedding when the Whole Foods in our neighborhood was having an amazing sale on local strawberries.  Four pints of strawberries later and I was on my way home ready to face a pie.  Now, my dear friend, Chicago Red, is a pie mistress and even instituted Friday Pie Day, which just sounds delicious, but I digress.  The point is I know and love a pie mistress so I was nervous to disappoint.

Upon scouring the internet and finding most pie crust recipes calling for shortening, I found a recipe on a blog called Sweet Mary and it turned out to be sensational (though I did learn the lesson the hard way that I MUST run an egg wash over any exposed crust and to go ahead and double the recipe if I want a gorgeous lattice topping).  Another lesson I learned is the danger of using frozen fruit.  I had no access to fresh rhubarb so I was forced to use frozen and of course, the end result was a little watery.  Regardless, the pie was delicious and I will attempt to make it again with all fresh ingredients.

Oh, also? TONIGHT, jewhungry co-author and playwright extraordinaire, Jeremy, is debuting his insanely hilarious show, You’re Being Ridiculous at the Gorilla Tango Theater in Chicago.  I dedicate this post and this pie to him! Also, go see the show.

Pie Dough:

1 1/4 unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cold unsalted butter cut into 1/4 inch cubes

3 tablespoons very cold water

Here are my tips/tricks to keep in mind:

Pie dough is easier to roll when it is cold, cold, cold.  So, I put my mixing bowl, chopped butter, and a small bowl of water right into the freezer for about 15 minutes before starting.  Also, every baker will tell you to work fast.  As soon as the butter starts warming up, things get more challenging.  I also have a Kitchen Aid Mixer, which is probably my most beloved possession.  You can also do this by hand, it really won’t matter.

Also, this recipe makes one crust.  If you are doing a double crust, double the recipe (of course!).

By hand:  Stir flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl.  Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the texture looks like coarse meal with the butter pieces about the size of small peas.  Add the water and mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment:  Stir the flour, sugar, and salt in the mixer bowl.  Add the butter and toss with a fork to coat.  Mix on medium-low until it looks like coarse meal with the butter pieces about the size of small peas.  Add the water and mix on low just until the dough pulls together.

Transfer the dough to your work surface. If you are doing a double crust, divide the dough in half.  Put the half you are not using in the fridge while you work.  Pat the half you are using into a ball.  Flatten into a disk with 6-8 gentle taps of the rolling-pin.  As you work, lift the dough and give it a quarter turn.  You can keep dusting the top of the dough, work surface, and/or rolling-pin as needed so things don’t stick.  Roll out into a round about 12 inches in diameter and about 1/4 inch thick.  To get the dough in the pie dish, roll it halfway right on to the rolling-pin.  Lift up and slip the pie dish right underneath the dough.  Center.  And, lay it down gently.  Press into the pan.  Cut off edges and leave about 3/4 inch of overhang.

At this point, you need a pie recipe!  I usually lightly brush the bottom dough with beaten egg when I do fruit pies.  This will cook a bit when in the over and prevents the bottom of the dough from being soggy.  Who likes a soggy crust?  Not me!   Obviously, you will repeat the steps above after making the filling if you are making a double crust pie.  Then, you can do the edges as you wish.  Crimp or whatever you want.

For the filling:

3 1/2 cups of 1/2 inch thick slices of trimmed rhubarb

1 16-ounce container of strawberries, hulled and halved (about 3 1/2 cups)

1/2 cup packed golden brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Combine first 7 ingredients in bowl.  Toss gently to blend.  Roll out one dough disk on floured surface to the size of your pie pan.  Place in pie pan and trim the excess around the edges.   Egg wash the bottom of the crust with beaten egg.  Pour the filling into the crust.  Roll out the second disk of dough.  Cut into strips about 3/4″ wide.  Arrange one set of strips on the pie.  Space them out evenly.  Then form a lattice with the remaining strips.  To form a lattice, it is just like weaving.  There should be an over-under pattern.  I should have really taken photos of the whole process and written my own steps.  I will keep that in mind for a future lattice pie.  For now, take a look at the Food Network’s directions.

Once the lattice is  finished and placed on top of the pie, trim and crimp the edges.  Then, egg wash the whole top.  Bake at 400 for about 25 minutes.  Reduce temp to 375 and bake till golden and bubbling.  Perhaps, this will take about another  45-60 minutes.  Cool completely to let set.


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