I believe in pie. It stands gloriously uncontested at the tippy top of my personal dessert hierarchy. I believe in pies of all shapes, sizes, and colors. I believe in sweet pies, savory pies, and those that just can't decide. I believe pies should be sky high and golden grown. I believe pies can gather everyone around a table in ways that other desserts can't. Think Thanksgiving. Think summer picnics. Think holiday baking with all that spicy goodness.
So when my little sister returned from an eighteenth month sojourn in Latvia, I knew what had to grace her homecoming table. But it could not be just any pie. No sirree. Warren conjured his pie magic and created a pie filled with every perfect thing about summer heaped into one epic pan. Because pies should always be large enough to feed small nations. Such is the work of the humble slab pie. And of course I mandated that it had to be my favorite flavor. Strawberry rhubarb pie has never, not even once, let me down
Since the strawberry rhubarb filling provided such a pretty canvas, I bust out my alphabet cookie cutters to spell out the truest and most fitting phrase to ever adorn a pie. Tom Haverford would be so, so proud. Side bar: we just finished re-watching the entire series of Parks and Rec and I wept, yet again, watching every perfect stage of Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt's love story unfold. If you haven't watched P&R do yourself a favor and:
Treat Yo' Self Two Thousand Fourteen! It's the best day of the year!
Finally, here in Michigan, we are doing our very best to savor the last teensy bit of summer. I still don't understand how summer slipped through our fingers so quickly. We are making one last trip (to Madison!) to celebrate so much love at our dear friends' wedding. And yes, there will be fried cheese curds. Hope you all have a lovely last summer weekend ahead of you!
P.S. Just imagine how good this pie would taste with a scoop of Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Ice Cream!
STRAWBERRY RHUBARB SLAB PIE
For the Flaky Cream Cheese Crust
Adapted from our favorite Apple Turnovers
- 18 tablespoons butter, diced and frozen
- 3 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ice cold water, just a few tablespoons
Mix the dry ingredients together; we use a Ninja but any food processor/blender will do (a couple of forks or pastry blender will also work). Add the cream cheese and pulse, then add the butter and pulse again. Pour in the vinegar and a tablespoon of water and pulse one more time.
Place the mixture into a zip-lock bag and add enough water (one tablespoon at a time--a few tablespoons should be all you need). Seal the bag and massage it gently until the flour mix is incorporated but not runny. Try not to handle it too much to keep everything cold. Refrigerate for an hour.
For the Strawberry Rhubarb Filling
Adapted from Simply Recipes
- 6 cups rhubarb cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 4 cups strawberries, hulled and halved
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 8 tablespoons minute tapioca (you can blend yours in a food processor to make it even finer)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- zest of one lemon
Roll out pie dough to fit a 9 x 13 pan and transfer to the pan. Put the filling in the dough-lined pan and crimp the dough edges with a fork. (Optional: if you have extra dough, cut out a few fun sayings with cookie cutters and place on top of filling.) Brush the crust with a little bit of milk and sprinkle with sugar.
Put pan on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Then lower heat to 350 and bake for 50-60 minutes longer (start checking to see if it's done at 50 minutes). Serve with a scoop of strawberry rhubarb pie ice cream! Serves 10-12.