CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

Anyone who has raised a garden or grew up in a family that had one knows that nothing beats fresh veggies. The same be true of fruit. Picking an apple off a tree or raspberries from the canes and then eating them are one of life’s true pleasures.

Now I know that not everyone can be as lucky as we are to have a plethora of produce growing right outside our back door, but there are farmers markets and small operations outside of cities where fresh produce can be purchased.

On a recent trip to our neighborhood grocery store, I noticed there were strawberries on sale. I would guess that’s the case at many supermarkets, since that tasty orb is season. And with a quick look in your local newspaper or online, you probably can find a pick-your-own site or a farmers market in the neighborhood. As far as the rhubarb goes, in this neck of the woods, nearly everyone has some growing right in their back yard, and most are happy to share.

A friend recently told me he and his wife had an enjoyable time picking strawberries at a farm not too far from their home in the Twin Cities. I told him Therese had made a strawberry-rhubarb pie a week or so ago with fresh ingredients from our garden and that it was on my agenda to write something about it. (The pie recipe, by the way, comes from a tattered ladies’ church cookbook from Strathcona, Minn. Thank you, Mrs. Quentin Johnson.) I wouldn’t hesitate to put this recipe up against any others in a contest such as those at a county fair.

And here is one more piece of advice: Don’t forget the ice cream!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie
1⅓ cup sugar
⅓ cup flour
2 cups fresh rhubarb cut in 1-inch pieces
1 pint strawberries, washed, hulled and halved
1 tablespoon butter
Milk and sugar for topping crust
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
⅔ cup shortening
5 to 7 tablespoons cold water
In a large bowl, combine sugar and flour; add rhubarb and strawberries, tossing lightly to combine. Let stand for 30 minutes.
In large bowl, combine sugar and flour; add rhubarb and strawberries, tossing lightly to combine. Let stand for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make pie crust (recipe follows), lattice top with 9 1-inch strips. Put rhubarb-strawberry mixture in crust, mounding at center. Dot with butter. Brush lattice top with milk and sprinkle on sugar. Bake for 50 minutes or until crust is golden and bubbly. Cool on wire rack. Serve with ice cream.
For pie crust, sift flour and salt together; cut in shortening with pasty blender until pieces are the size of small peas. Gently stir in water. Toss with fork; push to side of bowl. Repeat until all is moistened. Form into 2 balls. Roll one of balls from center to edge until ⅛-inch thick. Roll out the second ball and cut into strips for lattice.

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