When I think about rhubarb, it reminds me of my Grandmother. She was a master gardener (a skill, by the way, that was definitely NOT passed on to my mother or me). She was an organic gardener of the old school and the plants that wrapped around her tiny two-bedroom house in Marysville, WA flourished. Never a fan of chemical pesticides, she would pick bugs off the plants and crush them between her strong fingers.
Grandma was a big woman, tall and rotund. When I think of her in the garden, I remember her moving slowly from plant to plant wearing loose fitting clothing, her thin waist-length gray hair woven into braids and then twisted up on top of her head.
And I remember rhubarb, the biggest, reddest, strongest rhubarb you have ever seen, sprouting out of her vegetable patch in the back. It was like an alien grass, tall and rigid like my Grandma.
Grandma Roundy been gone for many years, but I thought of her fondly as I mixed together this sweet and tangy pie.
Mixed Berry Rhubarb Pie
Adapted from a recipe at smittenkitchen.com
- 2 recipes (2 crusts) American Pie Crust
- 10 ounces of rhubarb cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 1 pound of strawberries that have been hulled and sliced if big, halved if tiny
- 12 ounces of fresh raspberries
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. On a well-floured counter, roll half of pie dough into a 12-inch circle and carefully transfer to a 9-inch pie plate.
Stir together rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, sugars, lemon, salt and tapioca in a large bowl. Mound filling inside bottom pie crust and dot with bits of unsalted butter (Remember the butter because I usually forget).
Roll second half of pie dough into an 11-inch circle and cut decorative slits in it. Transfer it to center over the pie filling. Trim top and bottom pie dough so that their overhang beyond the pie plate lip is only 1/2-inch. Tuck rim of dough underneath itself and crimp it decoratively. Transfer pie to a baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes then reduce temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, until the pie is golden and the juices bubble visibly.
This is the hard part. If you possibly can, let the pie cool on a rack for several hours before cutting. This allows the juices to gel. It’s better to let it cool for 5-6 hours and then reheat if you want it warm. If you cut it right away, it will still taste great, but it will be runny.