Spring is in full swing and with that comes the first harvest! I am so glad that two years ago I asked if any of my friends had a rhubarb plant they would share with me. Thankfully two different friends came forward, and I now have a beautiful sunny section of my garden dedicated to rhubarb. Like most perennials, rhubarb should be divided every four years or so to keep it thriving. Once established, you will have an endless supply of glorious tart rhubarb stalks. Not only is it great to use fresh, but if you want to preserve it for winter, it freezes beautifully.
For the crust:
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 16 tbsp (1 cup) cold unsalted butter*
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
*If you use salted butter, reduce the salt to 1/2 tsp
For the filling:
- 3 cups of frozen blueberries
- 3 cups frozen rhubarb
- 3 tbsp Corn Starch
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 3/4 C brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 t vanilla
- 3 T butter
For the crust:
Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut the cold butter into pea-sized chunks and mix into the flour. Toss to coat the butter pieces with flour and then use a pastry blender to cut up any bits of butter that are too large. You want butter chunks!
Add the cold water one tablespoon at a time. Toss the mixture after each addition to distribute the water throughout the dough. You know you have enough water when the dough clumps together when you squeeze it in your hand. If it flakes or falls apart, add another tablespoon of water and recheck. Continue until the mixture is blended.
This recipe is enough for a double crust, so divide your dough in half, wrap in plastic, and form two flat disks. Chill for at least 30 minutes, but these can be made a few days in advance. If you only want to use one, throw the other in the freezer, so you're ahead of the game for your next pie; when you are ready to use the frozen dough, plop it in the fridge the night before so that it is prepared to go in the morning.
Roll out your dough to a 12" diameter on a well-floured surface (don't forget to flour the rolling pin too). Carefully place your dough in a 9" pie plate and trim to fit. Design the edge to your taste.
For the filling:
Pour 1 cup of the blueberries into a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook the berries down, stirring from time to time until they release their juices and reduce by half. It takes about 10 minutes. A spoon should leave a clean streak across the pan when stirring. Add the vanilla to the blueberry reduction. Let this cool while you assemble the other ingredients.
Mix the sugars, cornstarch, lemon zest, salt and cardamom in a small bowl. Then in a large bowl combine all of the frozen fruit, coat with the sugar mixture and then add the blueberry reduction. Mix until the pie filling is fully incorporated.
Pour into the chilled, prepared pie shell and dot with butter. Create a foil collar for the crust to prevent over-browning. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
If you forgot to preheat your oven earlier, I'd say throw your beautiful creation back in the fridge, so it stays nice and cold before diving into the oven. In pie baking, a chilled pie dough will soon become a delicious flaky crust. I've cut corners here more times than I'd like to admit and trust me, it never turns out, so if you're going to put in all this effort to bake a pie, plan and do it right: keep it cold.
Remove the foil collar and continue to bake another 30-50 minutes until the filling has set (not runny) and the crust is golden brown.
Remove your masterpiece from the oven and let it cool completely on a rack. The filling will set more as it cools. Make sure you have ice cream on hand because let's be real, this pie screams to for with ice cream. Serve and enjoy!