My life changed this week when I tried fresh, local strawberries. Possibly for the first time ever?
I don’t know what I bought all my life in Arizona but they can hardly be classified as strawberries. These little ones (the Hood variety, possibly named for the nearby Mount Hood?) are so soft and sweet, I absolutely can’t restrain myself from eating entire pints at a time.
So I’ve never actually made a strawberry-rhubarb anything. Probably partly due to the Arizona thing and not being able to find good-quality fresh rhubarb in season. One time, I made a Raspberry Rhubarb Panna Cotta (for the other book) but I used frozen rhubarb for that. Basically, I’m a rhubarb novice — just throwing that out there.
At the market this weekend, there were buckets upon buckets of bright pink rhubarb stalks and it felt like now was the time. And after a heated Strawberry Rhubarb Pie debate with the farmer and two other bystanders, I came away with quite a few tips to get me going (brown sugar not white sugar–or in our case, molasses-rich coconut palm sugar… macerate, don’t boil… and just a bit of nutmeg and lemon juice to make the fruit flavors pop).
Previously I had lamented that I didn’t take a shot at a Strawberry Rhubarb something or other back when I could “happily” enjoy gluten. There are occasions that I do miss a traditional pie crust. But I think I’ve pretty much solved that with the creation of this crust for the new book, Bare Root Mornings. It took quite a few attempts with all the available flours and various gum substitutions but gelatin came through as a true winner. Flaky and moist, it does all the things your favorite crust is supposed to.
Speaking of… does whole psyllium husk actually work for you? Cause it was far from the solution I needed for holding this crust together.
This crust is used in savory applications for both the Meat Lover’s Quiche and Capicola Tomato Tart (both pictured here) in the book. I made a small change to make this fitting for a sweet application by adding a little coconut palm sugar and grated nutmeg here.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Yields: 6-8 servings
4 tsp. unflavored grass-fed gelatin
5 Tbsp. filtered water, divided*
½ c. tapioca starch (I have not tried this with arrowroot but it *should* work)
1 Tbsp. coconut palm sugar (optional)
⅛ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp. sea salt
6 Tbsp. butter, ghee, or coconut oil
2 pints fresh strawberries
1 lb. rhubarb stalks
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ – ½ c. coconut palm sugar
Whipped coconut cream, optional for serving
In a small bowl, add the gelatin to 4 tablespoons of filtered water. Stir well and set it aside for 3-5 minutes to bloom.
Add the blanched almond flour, tapioca starch, coconut palm sugar, nutmeg, and sea salt to the bowl of a large food processor. Process about 15 seconds to mix well. Add the bloomed gelatin and process until until the gelatin is mixed uniformly throughout. Stop to check for clumps and process again, as needed. Add the butter (or other fat of your choice) and process until the crust begins to come together like dough.
*Note: depending on the humidity in your area, you may or may not need to add the remaining 1 tablespoon of filtered water to the dough to help bring it together. On days when the humidity is higher, I can omit the water and the dough comes together just fine. Start by processing the fat into the dry ingredients for about 10-15 seconds. If the dough does not come together in balls, add the remaining tablespoon of water one teaspoon at a time until the dough balls up.
Press the dough into a 8-12″ pie or tart pan (I used a 12″ quiche pan here). Whether your pan has short or tall sides, it should work either way. Press the dough up the sides and cut any dough off that is poking above the rim of the pan. Move the crust to the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or until it has firmed up.
Preheat the oven to 325F.
Prepare the filling but washing the strawberries and rhubarb. Trim the tops off the strawberries and cut them into very small pieces. Trim the ends off the rhubarb and dice to a similar size as the strawberries. Combine the chopped fruit with with fresh lemon juice and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the coconut palm sugar and tapioca starch and mix well again. Set the fruit aside for 5-10 minutes to allow the fruit to macerate.
Once the crust is chilled, pour the fruit mix into the center and spread it out into an even layer. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the fruit filling is bubbling. Allow the pie to cool for 30 minutes before serving to let the crust set. Cutting before this point may lead to some crumbling. Top with whipped coconut cream, as desired.