Strawberry rhubarb pie. It’s an odd concept, because rhubarb is odd. It doesn’t really seem like something that should be consumed. But once cooked, with the right proportion of sugar and strawberries (or no strawberries–I once made a rhubarb custard pie…if only I could find the recipe again), it becomes a thing of legend. It is affectionately, or unintentionally, referred to as “roo-bub” around here, which makes me think of a small, friendly kangaroo. But really, the secret about roo-bub is that it is so much fun to prepare.
Peeling rhubarb is like picking a scab, but it makes a fun zipping noise and leaves a fragrant pile of curly peelings. It takes awhile, but it is full of zen and satisfaction. Even if you don’t like rhubarb (sacrilege, though I guess my own father doesn’t like it, so I can’t judge you too hard), I highly recommend peeling some once in awhile. You’ll find your stress levels plummeting.
Anyway, I am not–gasp–a huge fan of cake. Cake makes me feel like I need to run six miles the next day. Pie, however, has fruit in it. Fruit retains some healthy value even when mixed with sugar and other unhealthy things. At least that’s what my unconscious tells me. So I really like pies for special occasions. My sister and her husband had pies for their wedding. Sean got pie for his birthday.
My decision to make strawberry rhubarb pie was the result of two things. First of all, when Sean’s parents came up for his last Mad Jacks gig, his mom brought me a bag full of their first crop of rhubarb. Second of all, I discovered Smitten Kitchen. This is, in my limited knowledge and opinion, the best food blog out there. It helps that the author has the most adorable toddler in the world and really, really, really knows her stuff about cooking. In fact, she just came out with a cookbook that makes me wish my birthday were in the summer. Why do I think she’s a genius? Because this was the best. pie. ever.
You know when you cut into a pie and it goes everywhere? This doesn’t happen with her recipe. The secret ingredient? Tapioca.
You know when the pie filling tastes amazing but the crust is starchy and bland? This doesn’t happen with her dough recipe. Because she’s a genius. Well, a genius who knows what to do with butter and a refrigerator.
I have no substitutions or alterations to her recipes because I followed them, step-by-step, ingredient-by-ingredient, the whole way through. So I will leave you with this: