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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Posted in : Old New England Recipes on by : Michael Marsha Tags: , , ,

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

My mother used to make rhubarb pie. I’m not sure if she put strawberries in it or not. My sister and I never got any. I think she shared it with my grandmother . It grew early in the Spring right beside the garage. It’s a pretty plant with it’s green and bright pink leaves.  As far as I know, it’s pretty much insect and animal proof. Rhubarb stalks are very tart and the leaves are poisonous. Two plants will supply you with a full summer’s worth of rhubarb.

Rhubarb is native to northern Asia. It was strictly used as a medicinal plant. The rhizomes were dried and then ground into powder. In China it was valued as a tonic for digestion, a mild laxative and a multipurpose healer of wounds, burns and other ailments.  In the middle ages it was prized in Europe as an expensive commodity. Rhubarb was more costly than cinnamon and saffron.

Only when sugar became readily available was it used for cooking. Legend has it that Benjamin Franklin brought the first seeds to America. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America credts an unnamed gardener in Maine who may have brought the seeds or rootstock from Europe around 1800.  The plant migrated south into Massachusetts where it became wildly popular. By 1822 it was sold in produce markets along the Easter Seaboard.

The earliest culinary use of rhubarb was first noted in 19th century America.  It was called the “pie plant” and was mainly used a filling for tarts and pies. This remains true today. These days you can find recipes using rubarb is many other desserts and even some quick breads, cakes and sauces.  Rhubarb is very high in potassium, manganese, and vitamin C.

If you’ve never had it, you really should give it a try. It can be rather expensive if you buy it fresh in the grocery stores. There are some stores carry the frozen version.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

2 cups sliced strawberries

2 cups cut-up rhubarb

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 cups sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

3 eggs

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1box Pillsbury™ refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box

In large bowl, mix strawberries, rhubarb and lemon juice. In medium bowl, mix sugar, flour, tapioca, eggs, salt and cinnamon. Stir into fruit mixture; set aside 15 minutes

Heat oven to 400°F. Place 1 pie crust in ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate. Press crust firmly against side and bottom. Spoon filling into crust-lined pie plate. Top with second crust. Wrap excess top crust under bottom crust edge, pressing edges together to seal; flute. Cut slits or shapes in several places in top crust.

Bake about 15 minutes or until crust is light golden brown. Place cookie sheet on oven rack below pie in case of spillover. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake 40 to 45 minutes longer or until golden brown.

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