Pie is my favorite dessert. I taught myself to make it because I love to eat it, and now I think making it is almost the best part.
Pie isn’t especially hard to make. But it does reward good ingredients, and even more importantly, I think, patience. Pie crust can smell fear, and if you sweat it or stress it, well, that’s just no way to make a pie. But if you take your time, have good fruit, and lots of butter, it’s very hard to go wrong.
I have made pie crust without a pastry blender or a stand mixer, just my hands. I’ve underseasoned, thrown in random dashes of lemonade, and come out with a big, beautiful, baroque top crust that resembled an ocean wave. It doesn’t matter — pie shows that you care, and almost everyone loves eating it.
This pie was made for an office birthday celebration. Pie is great for that, because it benefits from an overnight rest so the juices can set.
Adapted from the brilliant book Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe, by Joanne Chang
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons whole milk
Blend flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture until a coarse meal is formed, with a few pea-sized lumps of butter.
Whisk together egg and milks. Gradually add it the butter mixture, stirring with a spoon to blend in the dry parts.
Form into two balls and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill for at least an hour (overnight is helpful).
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Adapted from Martha Stewart
1 lb rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 lb rhubarb, hulled and sliced
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Combine rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, orange juice, cinnamon and salt, and stir gently to combine.
Roll out one pie crust on a floured service and put it in your pie plate. Add filling and arrange the fruit nicely, cut side of the strawberries down. Hiding the cut sides of the rhubarb will make your pie brighter and a little more uniform in color. Dot with butter.
Roll out second pie crust on a floured surface and cut into thin strips. Weave a lattice pattern, starting with the center cross and working outward.
Trim any excess dough, seal edges and crimp around the outside using a fork.
Brush the top crust (going over each section of exposed lattice) with a beaten egg, then sprinkle with a little sugar. Do not skip this step, because there is nothing, nothing sadder than an otherwise beautiful pie without a properly browned, glossy top crust.