I’m a sucker for a beautiful pie, and especially a strawberry rhubarb one, so even though rhubarb season may be nearing an end, I had to share this pie I made a while back. I love love love rhubarb pie, and this one is a riff on Anne Dimock’s Straight-Up Rhubarb Pie as seen on Food52 – which is a damn good rhubarb pie and needs no embellishment – but when I made this one, the very first strawberries of the season were also hitting the grocery store and I couldn’t resist.
Anne’s recipe has a great ratio for fruit to sugar to thickener that works well for almost any fruit pie filling (1 cup to 1/4 cup (less for very sweet fruit) to 1 tablespoon, respectively), although I used cornstarch rather than flour as the thickener, as I prefer how it gels more translucently than flour, which can be a bit cloudy. I kept the hint of cinnamon that goes so well with rhubarb and, as it turns out, strawberries. With such a classic pie filling, I decided to go all out on the top crust: lattice AND braids AND leaves. I love how it looked, and I love even more how it tasted. This one is a keeper, that’s for sure!
Fancy Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
First of all, make your pie crust – you will need a double crust, and I have a very good recipe here (delicious and lots of flakiness). Divide the pastry dough 2 discs (one slightly larger than the other), wrap in plastic, and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
Prepare the filling. In a large bowl, combine:
4 cups chopped rhubarb (the redder the stalks, the prettier it will be when cooked – although green rhubarb tastes just as good!)
2 cups quartered strawberries
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (you can get away with a little less if your berries are very sweet, but the rhubarb packs a sour punch)
6 tbsp cornstarch
2 pinches cinnamon
Mix everything together and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 425˚F (350˚F convection) with a rack in the bottom third of the oven.
Take the smaller of the 2 chilled pastry discs out of the fridge and roll out on a floured surface into a 14″ circle. Transfer it to a 9″ pie plate and press it into the bottom and up the sides. Trim the edges about 1″ from the edge of the pie plate and reserve the trimmed pastry scraps (you’ll use them for decoration later). Turn the edges under and press firmly.
Use the tip of a teaspoon to press 2 indents, one inside the other, in a scallop pattern around the edge.
Fill the pie shell with the prepared filling, and set aside.
Roll out the second chilled pastry disc on a lightly floured surface to a slightly larger circle, about 16″ wide. Using a pastry wheel or a paring knife, cut the pastry into strips of varying thickness. Make sure to cut 6 skinnier strips from the middle of the circle, where they will be the longest (these will be for the braids around the edge), and set these strips aside.
Arrange half of the remaining pastry strips over the filling. To weave a lattice pattern, fold back every second strip halfway, then place another pastry strip perpendicularly across. Replace the folded-back strips, and repeat, now folding back the strips that were covered by the perpendicular pastry strip. Continue on both sides of the pie until you have a beautiful woven lattice top, and reserve any leftover pastry strips.
Use kitchen shears to trim the excess pastry from the lattice right at the edge of the pie filling (this gap will be covered by a braid, and you don’t want too many excess layers of pastry there) and again, reserve the pastry scraps.
Take your 6 skinny pastry strips and braid them into 2 braids. Whisk together an egg wash of 1 egg + 1 tbsp water + pinch salt, and paint it on the underside of the braids.
Arrange the braids, egg wash down, around the edge of the pie, overlapping the scalloped edge and the woven lattice. Don’t worry if the ends of the braids don’t quite meet up – this can be covered up later.
Gather up all the pastry scraps, gently press them together into a disc, and roll out on a floured surface into a long oval/rectangle. Cut 6 skinny strips for 2 more braids, and use a paring knife to cut out leaf shapes from the remaining pastry.
Braid the 6 strips into 2 braids, and use the dull edge of the paring knife to press veins in the leaves.
Egg wash the underside of the braids and stick them on the pie inside the first set of braids. Try to be strategic about where the gaps between the braids are so that you can cover them up with a leaf…
…and then place the leaves over the gaps using egg wash to stick them on.
Brush the entire top of the pie with egg wash, sprinkle with granulated sugar, and place the pie on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet (to catch any drips).
Bake in the bottom third of the preheated 425˚F (400˚F convection) oven for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 350˚F (325˚F convection) and bake 45-60 minutes more, until deeply golden brown and the juices in the middle of the pie are bubbling (this is how you know the cornstarch is cooked and has thickened the juices).
Allow the pie to cool to room temperature (if you can!) before serving so that the juices don’t run all over the place.