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This is a very different take on strawberry-rhubarb pie. Unlike the chunkiness of most strawberry-rhubarb pies, the filling in this one is quite smooth and, especially if you add the optional 2 tablespoons of heavy cream, custardy.
1 batch Our Favorite Pie Crust Recipe
3 to 4 cups (12 to 14 ounces) lightly packed diced rhubarb
2 cups (8 to 10 ounces) hulled and sliced strawberries
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1 ounce) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice OR 1/4 teaspoon lemon oil
3 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) heavy cream (optional)
reserved egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup (3 5/8 ounces) sugar
1/3 cup (2 3/8 ounces) water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Filling: In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the diced rhubarb, sliced strawberries, sugar, salt, flour, butter, and lemon juice or lemon oil. Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes; the fruit will release its juice, and it'll be easier to cook.
Separate the eggs, reserving the whites. Cook the fruit mixture over low heat for several minutes, until the butter is melted and the mixture thins out. Stir in the cream, if you're using it.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks until light. Add a bit of the hot fruit to the yolks, stir well, then add the yolk mixture to the cooking fruit. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool slightly.
Crust: Place the pie crust dough on a well-floured surface, and roll it into a 12-inch circle. Place it in a 9-inch pie pan, preferably one with sides at least 1 1/2 inches high. Crimp the edges. Prick the bottom with the tines of a fork. Place a second pie pan, pie weights or foil over the crust. Bake the crust in a preheated 400°F oven for 18 minutes; it won't be browned, but it should look set. Remove it from the oven, and cool slightly before removing the top pan, weights or foil.
Baking: Pour the filling into the partially baked crust. Reduce the oven heat to 350°F and bake the pie for 20 minutes.
Meringue Topping: While the pie is baking, place the reserved egg whites and cream of tartar in a medium-sized bowl, and beat them till they're foamy. Add the sugar a bit at a time, beating until the meringue is shiny and holds a peak. Place the water and cornstarch in a tiny saucepan or a microwave-safe container, and stir well. Over medium-low heat, or in the microwave, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently; it should thicken and look cloudy. If you're using a microwave, stir every 30 seconds or so, to prevent a thick layer from forming on the bottom. Beat the gel mixture into the meringue.
Remove the pie from the oven and spoon the meringue over the filling while the filling is still hot, making sure that the meringue makes contact with the crust all around the edges. Return the pie to the oven and bake for an additional 16 to 18 minutes, or until the meringue is lightly browned. Yield: 1 pie, 8 servings.
Nutrition information per serving (1/8 of pie, 183g): 341 cal, 12g fat, 5g protein, 19g complex carbohydrates, 36g sugar, 2g dietary fiber, 85mg cholesterol, 216mg sodium, 265mg potassium, 59RE vitamin A, 25mg vitamin C, 1mg iron, 62mg calcium, 68mg phosphorus.
This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. XII, No. 3, Early Spring 2001 issue.