I think strawberries might be my favorite fruit of all time. No, wait it’s mango. No, passionfruit! Do I have to choose just one favorite?! Regardless, every year I can’t wait until the first spring strawberries arrive! When they do, I proceed to eat them by the basket full. I’ll buy three pint baskets every week without fail during strawberry season from the lady at my farmer’s market (who now knows me by name and gives me a special deal since I buy so many berries from her!).
This pie is just another way of including more strawberries in my diet. You can’t go wrong with the classic combo of sweet strawberries and tart rhubarb. I added some lavender, which I have growing in our garden, for a light floral touch. If you can’t find fresh lavender or don’t have friends growing any, dried lavender is a fine substitute and can be found in most spice sections of the grocery store. And as usual, I used Martha Stewart’s pate brisee (pastry crust) because it hasn’t failed me yet. Just be sure to keep that dough cold until you bake it. That’s the key to a light and flaky crust!
Strawberry, Rhubarb, Lavender Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie.
- 1 prepared recipe of Martha Stewart’s pate brisee, well chilled
- 1 pound rhubarb (about 3 large or 4-5 medium stalks)
- 3/4 pound fresh organic strawberries (a very full pint basket)
- 4 sprigs fresh lavender
- 3/4 cup white sugar, + 1 teaspoon for sprinkling
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tiny cubes
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water, cream, or milk
Preheat oven to 375°.
Prepare the pie dough at least 2 hours in advance, preferably about a day ahead. You can mix the dough together, portion it into two round disks, wrap them in plastic wrap and keep them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to roll them out. It’s very important that the dough has had time to chill thoroughly.
When the dough is well chilled, prepare a surface with a very generous dusting of flour. Don’t be afraid to use too much. It’s awful to roll out a beautiful round crust only to have it stick to the board and rip and tear as you try and move it to the pan. Keep your rolling pin well floured too, and roll one disk out into a 12-inch circle. Once about 12 inches across, you can trim any rough edges to create a perfect circle. Transfer the circle to a 9-inch pie dish. An easy way to move the dough circle is to roll it around the rolling pin, and then simply unroll it into the pie dish. This avoids any unwanted stretching or tearing. Fold the overhanging edges under and pinch together. Place in the fridge to keep cool.
Next, prepare the filling. Remove the roots and any remaining leaves from the rhubarb and slice into 1/2 inch chunks. You may have to slice the stalks in half lengthwise first if they’re too wide. Keep in mind, you want bite-sized pieces. De-stem and quarter the strawberries or slice them smaller if the strawberries are large. Remove the flower buds from the lavender stems by gently pulling them off, discarding the stems. In a large bowl, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, lavender, sugars, lemon juice, cornstarch, and salt. Stir to combine and coat the fruit. Be sure to break up any chunks or lumps of cornstarch.
Pour the filling into the prepared bottom of the pie crust, dot the top with the pieces of butter, and return to the refrigerator while you prepare the top crust.
For the top, I did a lattice crust, but you can certainly do a plain crust to top the pie. Just be sure to cut vent holes for the steam if you do. To make the lattice top, roll the second round of dough into a 12 inch circle just as you did the first. Use a fluted pastry cutter to cut even width (about 1/2 an inch) strips from the circle. Remove the filled pie from the fridge and starting with the middle strip you’ve cut, lay strips across the pie from top to bottom taking every other cut strip from the board and keeping a 1/2 inch space between them. Once you’ve covered the pie with top to bottom strips, pull back every other strip halfway, and lay a strip from left to right. Return the pulled back strips to full length and pull back the other strips half way laying another strip from left to right. Continue this until you’ve created a full weave effect across the pie. Trim any excess with kitchen shears and gently press the ends into the bottom crust to seal.
Return the pie to the fridge to chill for 20 minutes. Meanwhile whisk together the egg and the water (or cream/milk) for the egg wash. Once the pie has chilled, brush the top crust with the egg wash and sprinkle with the remaining sugar.
Prepare your oven racks in the middle of the oven and place a baking sheet covered in foil below the rack you’ll bake the pie on to catch dripping juices. Transfer the pie to the oven and bake for about an hour and half. After about 50 minutes, you may want to loosely cover the top of the pie with foil if the top crust is browning too quickly. Bake until the juices are bubbling and the bottom crust in golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 2 hours. Try and resist taking a premature bite while the juices are setting up!
Serve with a scoop of ice cream or freshly whipped cream and enjoy!