A crisp? A pie? A crispie? “The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play..” So begins the first line of The Cat in the Hat. And, as I lay in bed this morning listening to yet another round of thunder and pouring rain, I knew that no yard work would be accomplished today. The weeds and the grass would be left to grow another six inches while I daydreamed of strawberries and rhubarb, and remembered that it was my grandfather’s favorite pie. I’ve been working on a strawberry-rhubarb crisp lately, but haven’t gotten it quite where I wanted it. So I lay there contemplating the possibility of a pie with a crisp topping. Sometimes apple pies have streusel topping, would it work for a strawberry-rhubarb pie? Why not? It was too wet to do anything except stay inside- I’m talking about the kind of rain that soaks you through to the skin in less than half a second. I had no pie crust mix in the house. And wasn’t motivated enough to brave a quick, wet run to the store.
Was I daring enough to attempt my own? Pie crust couldn’t be that scary could it? It’s just flour, water and shortening- in the correct proportions of course. Really, was I going to let three ingredients intimidate me any longer? With the house fairly clean- as clean as it’s ever going to get with two active children, I had nothing else to do….so I went for it! And, I have to say, I’m not only proud of the results, I’m in love with them! No more mixes for this mama!
The pie crust is surprisingly easy to make. It held together well and the texture just melted in our mouths. I confess, I had to throw out one batch before I landed on what I liked, but still, with time on my side today, and my little sous chef ‘helping’, I knew I’d at least have fun playing in the kitchen. As for the filling, I’ve always loved strawberry and rhubarb. Maybe it’s sentimental, or maybe it’s because rhubarb and strawberry are one of nature’s brilliant pairings. A little sweet, a little tart, a lot of enjoyment.
If you’re baking a shell prior to filling it: Preheat the oven to 375. Take a second pie plate and grease the outside. Place the greased pie plate on top of the crust and cook for 20 minutes. This will keep the crust from collapsing. Remove from the oven and gently remove the greased pie plate. Your crust is now ready for filling. If you need to keep cooking the bottom of the crust, you may prick the bottom part of the crust with a fork, and return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes. Alternately, if you have pie crust balls, or marbles, you may use those in lieu of a second greased pie plate.
3 cups strawberries- chopped if fresh, whole if frozen
3 cups rhubarb, chopped
1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped
1/4 cup cornstarch
In a bowl, mix all the ingredients and let stand for 15 minutes. If the strawberries are frozen, defrost them almost all the way first. (almost all the way means they’re still a little cold, but no longer frozen solid)
Place in the crust and top with crisp. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes, or until top is bubbly and brown.
1 cup certified gluten free rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick (8 tbs) butter, chilled
1/4 cup cornstarch
Place dry ingredients in the food processor and pulse once. Add chilled butter by tablespoonfuls and pulse until pieces are pea-sized or smaller- about 6 times. Pour into a bowl and squeeze with your hands until crumbles are larger in size. Crumble over fruit filling of your choice- in this case strawberry-rhubarb pie!
To make a crisp instead of a pie: Place filling in an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish. Crumble the crisp topping over the filling and cook at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, or until top is bubbly and brown. Can be served immediately with ice-cream, or allowed to set up and thicken before serving.