I love summer. I love the weather, I love being outside, and I love the delicious fresh fruit that is in season during the warmer weather.
The best fruit, though, is that which is hand picked. By a four year old. Little miss and I eagerly await the beginning of the picking season at our local orchard. Lucky for us, opening week was last week, and we were able to pick loads of strawberries and several beautiful stalks of rhubarb. Perfect for making the quintessential welcome-to-summer dessert - strawberry rhubarb pie!
Little miss was involved in every aspect of making this pie, which made it even more fun for both of us.
We started off making the pie crust. My usual pie crust recipe calls for shortening, which I happened to be out of, and I know some crust recipes are very picky about using shortening vs. butter, so the first thing I had to do was pick a new crust recipe. Luckily for me, the pie recipe I had selected included an all-butter crust recipe that sounded delicious, so I didn't even have to change sites. You can check out both recipes here. The other different thing about this crust recipe is that it said that it can be made in a stand mixer. This was great news for me. Usually pie crust recipes call for a food processor (which I don't have) or for the butter to be cut in with either a pastry cutter (which I also don't have) or with two knives (my usual method). I was very excited to give my KitchenAid the chance to pull this one together. Little miss added in the cubes of cold butter, the mixer did the mixing and guess what? We got a pretty good crust dough!
The next step was to prepare the fruit (and veggie) for the filling. I gave little miss a chance to help with the cutting, but mostly just for the fun of it, since both strawberries and rhubarb both tend to just be squished when cut with the kind of knives I let her use. She was persistent, though, and more than happy to eat any and all berries that were "accidentally" squished rather than actually cut. Isn't she helpful?
I did make one change to the recipe. As written, it calls for two thirds of a cup of white sugar to be added to the cut berries and rhubarb. I opted to substitute brown sugar for half of the white sugar, to give a little more flavor. Because I love brown sugar. Little miss mixed everything together for me while I took the pie crusts, which had been chilling, out of the refrigerator.
The next step was to roll out the dough. Little miss loves to roll out any dough, so she was waiting with her rolling pin before I even had the waxed paper out. She is pretty good at it, too, though rolling out the chilled dough was a little harder than she expected. So she let mommy help just a little. Bottom crust rolled, filling poured in, I decided (inspired by a friend's recent peach pie) to try something I have never had the patience to do before - a lattice top. Little miss was intrigued by the process, as I carefully cut strips using my pizza cutter and wove them over and under. A quick coating of egg-wash, the whole pie placed onto a cookie sheet, and our pie was ready to go into the oven.
We had been planning on having this pie for dessert that night, but timing wasn't on our side that night (daddy had to work late and neither of us wanted to cut into it without him having at least seen it first), so I made a deal with little miss - since she worked so hard to help make the pie, she could have it for breakfast the next morning. I mean, seriously, is it really that much worse than some of the other breakfast treats out there? And this made a delicious breakfast. And dessert. And snack.
I love the taste of summer.
3 months ago