As a kid, my family was really into Sam’s Club. With five kids at home, buying in bulk was the only option, and I loved going with my Dad on Saturday morning to stock up. There were the samples- oh the samples- which were usually a meal in themselves, and also much more fun and “junk-foody” than the food I normally got to eat. On our way out was the huge fish tank and the “drop the quarter into the teeny bowl and win a hot dog” game. My Dad was aces as this game- and almost always won us something- which made the whole trip that much more exciting.
I have a vivid memory of the pie display that was near the exit of the store, where I’d usually be waiting while my Dad paid for the huge cart of stuff. We never bought them because my Mom was a great baker (and I’m sure she wouldn’t have approved of the ingredient list.) But come summer I always eyed the strawberry rhubarb with loads of curiosity. What was that weird ingredient I’d never heard of? I waited for the day they sold a simply strawberry pie so I could beg my Dad to buy it, but I had no interest in whatever rhubarb was. I stuck with trying my hand (and failing) at winning free hotdogs for my sisters.
The funniest part of all is that I now would probably call this my favorite fruit pie of all time. Why did it take me 20-some years of my life to finally try it? Food blogging opened my eyes to rhubarb as something that I used to be weirded out by, but now really and truly love. The combination between the tartness and the sweet berries is just my favorite thing. Paired with a flaky- all-butter crust, it really is summer dessert perfection.
The key to making pie with berries is figuring out a way to thicken the filling. There are lots of options, but the ones that work the best for me are instant tapioca pearls and Clear Gel. Both may take some planning to have in your kitchen I know, and in the case of this pie, I decided spur-of-the moment to make it so I used tapioca flour as thickener instead. The result was a mostly thick filling with a little bit of juiciness, but I could eat the juicy strawberry-rhubarb liquid with a spoon and I’d be a happy lady. This is one of the most simple and delicious pies I’ve ever made- and loads better than that Sam’s Club one I can guarantee! :)
- 1 recipe Pie Crust
- 3½ cups chopped rhubarb
- 3½ cups sliced strawberries
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup tapioca flour *
- pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- heavy cream for brushing on top of crust
- raw sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a well-floured counter, roll half of pie dough into a 12-inch circle and transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. (I roll the crust over my rolling pin to help me move it to the pie dish.)
- In a large bowl, combine the berries, rhubarb, sugars, lemon salt and tapioca flour. Pour the filling into the bottom crust. Dot with butter pieces. Roll out the top crust into a 12 inch circle, and either proceed with a lattice top, or a simple double crust. Seal the edges and crimp decoratively as desired. Brush the crust with the heavy cream and sprinkle with raw sugar.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 400 and then reduce temp to 350 for another 25 minutes or until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly.
- Let pie cool for several hours before cutting, the filling will only thicken as it cools. (hard to be patient I know.) The pie can also be baked the night before serving.
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen