Strawberry & rhubard pie with step by step guide to making the perfect pie dough

This past Monday we celebrated the day dedicated to my favorite thing to eat and make. Maybe not dedicated to exactly, more so jokingly associated with it, but I was never any good at math so I'll take pie instead. It is finally rhubarb season, one of my favorite things to bake with. As a child I used to hate rhubarb, or maybe more so I was just put off by its strange likeness to celery and could never imagine that something delicious could be created with it. Nonetheless Strawberry and Rhubarb is now one of my favorite pies to make. The tartness of the rhubarb paired with the sweetness of the strawberries allows for a balance that prevents one flavor from overpowering the other. The pies in this post are a little crispy because I am not used to working with a fan oven at home, and as usual I was borrowing someone else kitchen again. I have also included step by step instructions (with gifs!) of how to make my favorite pie pastry dough from Four and Twenty Blackbirds. This pastry provides just enough flake, while also maintaining structure in the face of overly juicy or wet fillings. The recipe I have written out bellow is for the Double Crust portion, which makes enough for a bottom and a top crust (or lattice), of a pie. I recommend you always make extra dough and just go for the Double Crust recipe. But if you are looking for just enough dough for a single bottom crust, then half the recipe to get a Single Crust portion. Any left over dough can always be frozen and used at a later time!

Perfect All Butter, Flaky Pie Dough

things you'll need

large mixing bowl
cling film/saran wrap
small jug
227g unsatled butter, cold & chopped into cubes
320g all purpose flour
1 tablespoon white sugar
large pinch of salt
about 1 cup cold water
about 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

First, measure out the cold water and the apple cider vinegar and put it in the fridge to stay cold. Cube the cold butter and put it in the fridge to stay cool. Then in a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Take about half of the cubed butter and add it to the flour mixture, put the rest back in the fridge.

Second, rub the butter into the flour. Try to use only your finger tips to rub the mixture, as your hands will be too warm and will melt the butter, resulting in tough pastry. Once most of the butter has been incorporated and there are few large clumps of butter left, add the rest of the cold butter, and rub that into the mixture. You should work it until you have between fine and pea sized crumb consistency. It doesn't have to be entirely even, but you shouldn't have any clumps of just butter. or pockets of flour left. 

Third, make a well in the center of your flour and butter mixture, and pour some of the wet ingredients into the middle, about 3-4 tablespoons (or 1-2 if doing a single portion of the pastry). Then, keeping your fingers together like a paddle, work the water into the flour.   Making a dough come together is definitely the most tricky part of making the pastry, as this is where you run the risk of working it too much. This melts the butter which makes the pastry tough and very difficult to work with. But this is actually easy to avoid as you just have to keep making sure you don't allow too much pastry to get stuck between your fingers, because this is where the warmth of your hands will melt the butter. There are a few methods to bring the pastry together; try pressing the flour onto itself, or the claw method where you stir the mixture with your fingers spread apart like a claw, but remembering to remove any pastry that gets stuck to your fingers. Keep adding little splashes of the water and cider mixture until the dough can be shapped into a ball. You might not use all of the wet ingredients as the dough shouldn't be entirely wet, but not flour-y enough that it doesn't stay together when shaped. 

Lastly, once the pastry can come together in a ball without falling apart, turn it out onto a clean flat surface. Cut the mound in half. then shape the halves into two flat rounds. Then wrap the rounds in cling film securely so that there are no parts of the pastry exposed. Then place them in the fridge to rest. It is very important to let the gluten in the pastry rest, and let the dough become cold in order to roll out. You can leave the pastry in the freezer for up to a month, just let it defrost in the fridge, or you can leave it in the fridge for up to two weeks, if you are not using it immediately. But let it have at least 30mins-1hr before rolling out if you are using it on the same day. 

My Favorite Strawberry & Rhubarb Pie

things you'll need

large mixing bowl
baking tray
double crust portion of Pie Dough

for the filling

1 pound of rhubarb chopped into 1/4 inch thick pieces
2 cups of strawberries chopped to similar size as rhubarb
about 1/3 & 2 tablespoons (84g) of white sugar
2/3 cup (146g) of brown sugar
3 tablespoons ground arrowroot
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamon
1/4 teaspoon of allspice
1 egg
large pinch of salt
dash of Angostura Bitters
Demerara sugar to finish
an egg and a splash of milk for egg wash

what to do

first, preheat the oven to 425˚F/220˚C, then roll out one half of the pie dough into a large circle. grease a pie plate with butter, then line it with the dough, leaving about 1 inch extra hanging off the rim. take about 1 heaped teaspoon of flour and of sugar, mix, and spread out on the base of the crust. this will soak up juices when baking, and prevent a soggy bottom. pop this into the fridge to stay cold.

second, in a large bowl, combine the sugars, arrowroot, spices, and salt. then add all of the fruit and toss to coat the fruit in the spice mixture. then whisk the 1 egg with the dash of bitters. add this to the mix, and stir to combine everything.

third, take the other half of the pie dough, roll it out to similar thickness as the base. cut out six large strips for a lattice. then pour the fruit into the pie plate, juices and all. top with a lattice. fold the extra pastry hanging off the rim into itself and press to seal. then crimp if you please, or leave it, whichever you prefer. 

lastly, place on a baking tray, egg wash the pastry, and sprinkle all over with Demerara sugar. bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry starts to turn golden. then turn completely and lower the temperature to 375˚F/190˚C, and bake for another 30-35 minutes, or until the pastry is deep golden brown, and the bubbling of the fruit around the edges subsides. allow to cool for 30 minutes before slicing up. Serves 8-10.