“Our cows have come fresh. Would you like some milk?” a neighbor from the Tres Bellotas Ranch asked one Sunday after church. For city dwellers this translates: “Our cows have calved. There is a superabundance of fresh-from-the-cow-milk.” The diplomatickitchen was a grateful recipient of the offer.
Fresh milk is good to look at. When poured out into a pitcher, the cream settles in a broad band at the top. This cream may then be skimmed off and whipped or turned into butter or…served at the side with dessert, just as it is. Furthermore, fresh milk tastes…true.
If one is planning a lunch or dinner party, the cook might regard a timely gift of this sort as an opportunity to change the menu and share this nice present. For a lunch in early spring, Strawberry Rhubarb Pie belongs to the season and is fortuitously complemented by a pitcher of fresh cream. It is included in the diplomatickitchen’s Easter Lunch Menu.
Americans at the table may be unfamiliar with true fresh cream, since raw milk is not widely available for sale in the United States. In some areas it is only legal to buy it directly from the farmer; in other places, customers buy shares in a dairy farm’s cows and receive their dividends in the form of milk. The perception of raw milk is otherwise in France where it is preferred for high quality dairy products. Raw milk is legal throughout the EU and each country may determine its own standards for its sale.
Note: To print this recipe, or any other diplomatickitchen recipe, go to the bottom of the page, at the end of the post, and click on the icon: Print & PDF. You will have the option of printing in smaller text size and without photos.
Timing Note: The pie is best if made a day in advance and allowed to cool at room temperature overnight. A pie of this kind, straight from the oven, is very tasty, but can’t be successfully cut into slices.
- 13 ounces of Unbleached Flour, measured by pouring the flour into the measuring cup and leveling it off (370 grams), plus some more to lightly flour the pastry board
- 1/2 teaspoon of Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of Baking Powder
- 8 Tablespoons of cold Butter (115 grams)
- 1/2 cup of Vegetable Shortening (80 grams)
- 2 teaspoons of Cider Vinegar
- about 10 Tablespoons of Ice Water (116 ml): The dough should be soft and very pliable. Add a little more or less water as necessary. Flours are not all the same and altitude and humidity may also affect the amount of liquid required.
Ingredients for the Filling and Finishing the Pie: Metric measurements are in parentheses.
- 4 cups or 1 pound of fresh Strawberries, quartered (465 grams)
- 1 and 1/2 cups or about 9.5 ounces of fresh Rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (270 grams cut into pieces a little larger than 1 cm)
- 1 and 1/4 cups granulated White Sugar (340 grams)
- 2 Tablespoons of Cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
- 1 Egg, beaten
- 1 Egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon of Water for glazing the Crust
- Optional Accompaniment: A pitcher of Heavy Cream, lightly sweetened, or not sweetened at all.
- a Food Processor fitted with the Rotary Blade Attachment may be used to make the Pie Crust Dough
- a large Bowl and a medium-sized Bowl for preparing the filling
- a Pie Pan with a 9-inch base (about 23 cm), 2-inches deep (about 5.5 cm)
- a Pastry Board and Rolling Pin
- a Pastry Wheel is useful for cutting strips of pastry to make the top crust, but a Knife will work, too.
I. Making the Pie Crust Dough
1. Pour the flour, salt and baking powder into the bowl of the processor, fitted with the rotary chopping blade. Pulse to mix them. Add the butter, cut into bits, and the shortening. Cut the butter and shortening into the flour by pressing the Pulse button on and off until the mixture is well combined. (The butter and shortening may instead be worked into the flour by hand until it has a crumbly texture.)
2. Mix together the ice water and cider vinegar. Turn on the processor and, with one hand pressed firmly down on the lid of the processor, pour the liquid slowly through the tube. (Pressing down on the lid prevents any jerky motion of the processor as the dough forms.) As soon as the mixture pulls away from the sides of the processor and forms a cohesive mass, turn off the machine. (If making the pastry by hand, the liquid may be added gradually while stirring with a fork or wooden spoon. As soon as the dough becomes cohesive, stop mixing it.)
3. Test the texture of the dough before removing it from the processor or mixing bowl. It should be soft and pliable, not crumbly. If it feels a little dry, add a few more drops of water. The dough does not require lengthy refrigeration before rolling out, but it may be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated briefly while making the filling. (If the dough is refrigerated for longer than about 30 minutes, the butter in it will harden and the dough will have to be softened at room temperature before it can be rolled out.)
II. Making the Filling
1. In a large bowl, combine the strawberries and rhubarb.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg.
3. Pour the sugar mixture over the fruit and mix everything together well. Add the beaten egg and toss the fruit around to blend it in. Set the bowl of filling aside while you roll out the pie crust.
III. Assembling and Baking the Pie
1. Preheat the oven to 400 F (205 C) and position the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. On a lightly floured pastry board, roll out half the dough into a circle that will fit into the pie pan with a 1-inch (2 cm) overhang. Fit the round of dough into the pan.
2. Roll out the second half of dough into a circle of similar size to the first one. With a pastry wheel, cut the round into 1/2-inch strips (strips a little wider than 1 cm).
3. Pour the filling into the pastry-lined pan.
4. Weave the lattice crust (this is the fun part): Lay half of the pastry strips horizontally across the pie filling 1-inch (about 2 cm) apart. Place a long strip vertically down through the center of the pie, and weave it over and under the horizontal strips, gently folding back every other horizontal strip and placing the vertical strip beneath it. Work out from the center, placing the vertical strips about 1-inch (2 cm) apart and weaving each one over and under in the same way as you did the first one. (Note: If the long center vertical strip crosses over the corresponding long horizontal one in the center of the pie, then the vertical strips on either side of it will cross under the long horizontal one.)
4. Trim any overhang from the strips to the rim of the pie pan. Fold the overhang from the bottom crust up over the edges of the strips, all around the rim of the pan, pressing the overhang to seal it over the strips and form a pastry border all around the rim of the pie. Crimp the border to make it pretty.
5. Brush the lattice and crimped border with the egg wash and bake the pie for 40 – 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden.
6. Cool the pie at room temperature before cutting it. A pitcher of sweetened (or unsweetened) heavy cream is a nice accompaniment.
A Note: The Dessert for the Lunch Menu Easter Lunch is Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.
A Second Note: The National Public Radio broadcast ‘Raw Milk…Panacea or Poison’ is an interesting introduction to the controversy surrounding the benefits of raw versus pasteurized milk and is available to read and listen to here online.
An Acknowledgement: The pie crust recipe is an adaptation of one from The King Arthur Flour website.
An Invitation: You are invited to request suggestions from the diplomatickitchen for your own menus for any occasion by clicking on the feature ‘Ask and Tell’ here or in the Menu at the top of the page. Do you have a menu concept with a gap or two that wants filling…or perhaps you are an expat looking for ways to adapt your recipes to what is available in your temporary home…maybe you are just looking for a new way to use a familiar ingredient or would like suggestions on how to adjust quantities of a recipe from the diplomatickitchen for smaller or larger groups…Replies will be published in ‘Ask and Tell’ or sent by email if you prefer.
© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2013