My sister, crafty woman that she is, recently brought back a garden’s worth of bounty from our parents’ home on Long Island. Basically she flew across the country with little else in her suitcase besides: jars of honey (the new harvest, woot!) and raspberry jam, rhubarb, and…fresh raspberries! She gchatted me early in the week and said: when are you coming over to make raspberry rhubarb pie? And I was all, when am I NOT coming over to make raspberry rhubarb pie? The answer to which I do not know, because double negatives always confuse me.
The gist is that I have been wanting to make raspberry rhubarb pie for QUITE SOME TIME NOW. Because strawberry-rhubarb is my. favorite. pie. ever. and you know how much I like pie (do you not know how much I like pie? i like pie. i like it a whole lot). So, since I love raspberries more than strawberries, substituting them into my favorite pie felt like a really obvious move.
As far as this recipe goes, my sister and I (ok, I will take most of the blame here since sister was sick and contributed only minimally) took some liberties. We took a whole Constitution worth of liberties. We substituted ALL the white flour for whole wheat pastry flour. I know what you’re thinking: bold move, sisters. Bold indeed. We had no idea how it was going to turn out, but since there was so much tarty fruit going into this shell, we weren’t concerned.
It was extremely hard to roll out. Very soft, even after refrigerated. Transfer to the pie shell was a disaster, of course, so I ended up kinda pressing the shell in there and squishing it together and calling it good enough. We also didn’t have enough brown sugar, didn’t have corn starch at all, and didn’t have cider vinegar for the pie dough. So you’re looking at probably the first pie dough to ever be made with rice vinegar. And I said I wasn’t going to do any ground-breaking baking. Check THAT out.
Half the brown sugar was substituted with white sugar, the corn starch became tapioca starch, and we added rolled oats and more butter to the topping. Because, listen readers, I have figured out the secret behind Cooking Light. They don’t look for alternatives to fat. They just cut the recipe in half. Of course there’s half the fat when there’s HALF THE RECIPE. When we made the topping we were like, this is it? This is supposed to cover an entire pie? It literally just looked like it was half a recipe for pie topping. So we were like, f this s, we want our pie wearing a sweater of topping, not a tube top of topping. So we took liberties, friends. Because we live in America, and we CAN.
And do you SEE HOW IT TURNED OUT? I’m so glad we upped that topping. I regret nothing. We (read: me) also didn’t read the directions through (i know. you’re CHOKING on surprise here), so I just put the topping on before we stuck it in the oven. The recipe says bake the pie 40 minutes and then top it, and then bake it 15 more. That doesn’t compute with me, and I don’t know why they say to do that, so I’m going to ignore it because that is so not how I make a crumbly topped pie. So suck it Cooking Light, please explain yourselves, and stop halving the topping in the name of lightness, that is ridiculous.
Here’s the part where I tell you how amazing the pie is. Because, really, it’s a fantastic pie. My sister and I, drunk on our own success, spent like 15 minutes coming up with stretched metaphors about this pie vs. strawberry rhubarb pie. I’m going to see if I can explain it here (with full knowledge that in the hangover of this morning, it really isn’t all that clever and/or humorous): This pie is excellent…WITH VANILLA ICE CREAM. It is a good pie WITHOUT vanilla ice cream, but it is phenomenal with it. Strawberry rhubarb pie is ALWAYS GREAT. Always. With vanilla ice cream. Without vanilla ice cream. Eaten out of a hat. Warm. Room temp. Refrigerated. Whatever. So here’s our really clever analogy: This pie is like Johnny Depp. Mr Depp is a good looking man. But sometimes, when his hair cut is just right, he BLOWS IT OUT OF THE WATER. He’s got this edge, this je ne sais quoi, this intriguing hotness that makes you literally drop your jaw. Strawberry rhubarb pie is like Brad Pitt. He is always. hot. Always. His haircuts do not make a difference. He can wear a douchey fedora. He can be long-haired, crew-cutted, whatever. He always looks good. But you know, he just doesn’t have that EDGE. That extra TANG. And you know, sometimes Johnny’s tang can be too much. He needs the ice cream. He needs that perfect hair cut. But when he nails it, holy twisted panties, does he nail it. And, joy of joys, we had that vanilla ice cream in our freezer. And now you know how I feel about this pie.
from Cooking Light, June 2009
2 tablespoons uncooked quick-cooking tapioca (meh. DELETE)
4 1/2 cups fresh raspberries (about 24 ounces)
3 1/2 cups chopped fresh rhubarb (about 6 stalks)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch (or tapioca starch)
2 tablespoons crème de cassis (black currant–flavored liqueur) (double meh. DELETE)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury) (OR MAKE YOUR OWN YOU LAZY PERSON)
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces (4 tbsps does you better)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
(adding some rolled oats…like 1/2 cup-ish…might be your bag. it was ours)
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Place tapioca in a spice or coffee grinder; process until finely ground. Combine tapioca, raspberries, and next 5 ingredients (through 1/8 teaspoon salt) in a bowl; toss well. Let raspberry mixture stand 10 minutes; stir to combine.
3. Roll 1 (9-inch) dough portion into an 11-inch circle. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray, draping excess dough over edges. Spoon raspberry mixture and any remaining liquid into dough. Fold edges under; flute. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes.
4. While pie bakes, place flour and remaining ingredients in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
5. Increase the oven temperature to 375°.
6. Sprinkle topping evenly over pie. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until topping is golden brown and filling is thick and bubbly. Cool completely on a wire rack.