Friday, May 13, 2022

Spring Pie

We have been getting some of the awesome strawberries from the farm stand on Hwy 12, just past Llano Rd when you are headed to Sebastopol. They grow them there are so they are picked very ripe and sweet smelling. You get heaped pint baskets, too.

For spring what could be better than rhubarb pie with some of those strawberries mixed in? This pie recipe is from a magazine I was reading on the plane...Southern Living I think...but as usual I mixed it up a bit. First of all instead of three cups of fruit, I used three cups of rhubarb and a cup of strawberries. It's a classic combo for a reason. The sweetness of the strawberries offsets and highlights the tang of the rhubarb, especially if you reduce the sugar as I did. The recipe called for a full cup of granulates sugar in the custard, which would have masked the bite of the rhubarb. I reduced it to 1/3 cup. If you were using all rhubarb, perhaps I would use 1/2 cup. You want that rhubarb zing contrasting with the custard softness but not being overpowered with custard oversweetness.

Another change I made was to substitute a small amount of orange marmalade for the orange zest, mostly because I didn't have an orange to use, but also because using the marmalade to paint the bottom of the pie shell helps prevent the custard from making the shell soggy. You still get the orange flavor.

About the only other change was when I mixed the custard I whisked the sugar and flour into the eggs before adding any liquid...that allowed me to make sure that the dry ingredients were fulling incorporated with the eggs and kept the custard from having lumps.

My experience was that this cooked a bit faster than expected, but ovens vary...just keep an eye on this and don't overcook the filling. Using a thermometer to check the internal temperature is a wise more.

Enjoy this taste of spring! I know that Sweetie did. He said it reminded him of rhubarb pies that his mom used to make in the spring. That's the bonus of can bring sweet memories, too.

Rhubarb-Strawberry Custard Pie

 1 pie crust circle, raw (I used half of a refrigerated ReadyCrust Pie crust)
 2 large eggs
 1 cup half and half or soy creamer
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
 1/4 teaspoon salt
 1/3 cup granulated sugar
 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
 3 tablespoons orange marmalade

3-4 cups sliced (1/2-inch- thick) fresh rhubarb, mixed, if desired, with fresh sliced strawberries
(I cut all my fruit into small cubes or chunks)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

 Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roll pie crust dough out on a lightly floured work surface into a 12-inch circle. Fit crust inside a 9-inch pie plate, pressing into bottom and up sides of plate. fold or roll crust edges under; crimp as desired. Place in freezer for 15 minutes. Remove from freezer and line with parchment paper, then add pie weights or dried beans. Bake 15 minutes in preheated oven, watching to make sure that the edges don't over brown. Remove pie plate from the oven and carefully remove the parchment and its contents. Return the pie plate to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes until pastry is light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely, about 30 minutes.

 While pastry cools, prepare the fruit, then mix together the filling:

Whisk together eggs, half and half, vanilla, almond extract and salt. Add the 1/3 cup granulated sugar (or more if you like a sweet, sweet filling), and 3 tablespoons flour in a large bowl.

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the marmalade in the bottom of the cooled pie shell and spread all over the bottom with a pastry brush.

 Place the fruit in another bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon flour. Pour coated fruit into the marmalade coated pie shell. Level the fruit, then pour on the egg mixture. Sprinkle evenly with 2 tablespoons sugar. Wrap edges of the pie crust with strips of aluminum foil to protect them from over-baking.

 Place filled pie on a baking sheet, then place sheet in the preheated oven and bake for about 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Pie is done when the center of the filling registers 175 degrees F when a thermometer is inserted in the center.

 Transfer pie to a wire rack and cool completely, about 2 hours. Remove foil shields once out of the oven. Chill pie if desired, or serve at room temperature.

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