Though we claim to be rhubarb purists as our grandmother was, we do believe it pairs very well with tart raspberries.
All-Butter Crust for a 9-inch double-crust pie (see ingredients and directions below)
About 1 pound fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 1/2 cups)
2 cups raspberries
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons ground arrowroot
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg
Dash Angostura bitters
Egg wash (1 large egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water and a pinch of salt)
Demerara sugar, for finishing
Roll the dough as directed (see "Rolling Out the Dough" section below) and fit into a well-greased 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking pan. Trim the excess, leaving about a 3/4-inch overhang. Roll a lattice as directed in "Cutting and Weaving Lattice" section below. Refrigerate both for at least 30 minutes.
Combine the rhubarb, raspberries, granulated and brown sugars, arrowroot, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt in a large bowl and toss to combine. Stir in the egg and bitters. Pour the filling into the chilled pastry shell, arrange the lattice on top, and crimp as desired.
Chill the pie in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to set the pastry. Meanwhile, position the oven racks in the bottom and center positions, place a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack, and preheat the oven to 425°F.
Brush the pastry with the egg wash to coat, being careful not to drag the filling onto the pastry (it will burn). Sprinkle with the desired amount of demerara sugar.
Place the pie on the rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry is set and beginning to brown. Lower the oven temperature to 375°F, move the pie to the center oven rack, and continue to bake until the pastry is a deep golden brown and the juices are bubbling throughout, 30 to 35 minutes longer.
Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, 2 to 3 hours. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The pie will keep refrigerated for 3 days or at room temperature for 2 days.
If you absolutely insist, this recipe can be made with strawberries instead of raspberries, but reduce the granulated sugar by 1/4 cup.
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All-Butter Crust for Double-Crust Pie
Makes dough for one double-crust 9- to 10-inch pie or tart
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup cold water
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 cup ice
Stir the flour, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the butter pieces and coat with the flour mixture using a bench scraper or spatula. With a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture, working quickly until mostly pea-size pieces of butter remain (a few larger pieces are okay; be careful not to overblend).
Combine the water, cider vinegar, and ice in a large measuring cup or small bowl. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the ice water mixture over the flour mixture, and mix and cut it in with a bench scraper or spatula until it is fully incorporated. Add more of the ice water mixture, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, using the bench scraper or your hands (or both) to mix until the dough comes together in a ball, with some dry bits remaining. Squeeze and pinch with your fingertips to bring all the dough together, sprinkling dry bits with more small drops of the ice water mixture, if necessary, to combine. Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight, to give the crust time to mellow. If making the double-crust version, divide the dough in half before shaping each portion into flat discs.
Wrapped tightly, the dough can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month.
Rolling Out the Dough
Remove the dough from the fridge 5 to 10 minutes before you begin rolling. Dough that is too cold will develop cracks when it is rolled.
Lightly flour your work surface and a French (tapered) rolling pin. (If you’re not using a French rolling pin, follow the instructions in the next paragraph for using a flat rolling pin.) Place the dough in the center of the work surface, and beginning from slightly below the center of the disc, roll the dough away from you using one even stroke, applying more pressure on the left side of the pin than on the right; most of the flattening will occur in the upper-left quadrant of the dough circle. Decrease pressure as you reach the dough’s edge. After each stroke, spin the disc an eighth to a quarter turn counterclockwise and roll again. Sprinkle more flour underneath and on top of the dough and on the rolling pin as you work; use just enough to prevent the dough from sticking.
As the disc becomes larger, use care to not overstretch the center of the dough. The tapered-style rolling pin tends to put more pressure on the center of the disc, so once the dough circle is 8 to 9 inches across, we like to switch to a flat pin to finish rolling (either handled or dowel-type; if you prefer this type overall, your rollout instructions start here). Continue rolling in the same fashion as before, starting just below the center of the disc and pushing away from you, but now apply even pressure across the entire top half of the disc, lightening up as you reach the dough’s edge; then rotate counterclockwise. If cracks develop, cut a piece of dough from the edge and pat it into the crack to patch (you can also add a brush of water to help seal it if needed).
Roll the dough until it is 2 to 3 inches larger than the pan you are using and about 1/8 inch in thickness.
If you want to do this step ahead of time, you can roll out the dough into a flat disc, place it on a sheet of parchment paper that is larger than the disc, and then gently roll it up. Freeze the dough solid, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and put it back in the freezer until you need it. Allow it to thaw until pliable, about 15 minutes, before using.
Cutting and Weaving Lattice
Throughout this book you will see different examples of lattice widths and weaving, including braiding. Lattice can be cut into any width you desire. Be creative with shapes and sizes. There are just a couple of things to remember: it’s much easier to work with the dough when it is well chilled, and a pizza cutter is the easiest tool to use for cutting lattice strips. The following directions are for a pie with a total of 8 strips of lattice.
A: On a floured surface, roll the prepared dough into a circle approximately 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8-inch thick, following the directions provided in “Rolling Out the Dough” section above.
B: Using a pizza cutter, trim one inch of dough from either side of the disc to square off the circle; discard the trimmings.
C: Cut the remaining shape into 8 strips of equal width. This is your lattice. Transfer the lattice to a parchment-lined (or flour-dusted) baking sheet and chill for a minimum of 30 minutes.
To Weave the Lattice
D: Lay strip number 1 of the lattice vertically across the top of the filled pie, just slightly to the left of the center. Lay strip number 2 over strip number 1 at a 90 degree angle, just below the center of the pie. Lay strip 3 over strip 2 to the right of and parallel to strip 1.
E: Lay strip 4 over strip 2 to the left of and parallel to strip 1.
F: Fold back the right end of strip 2, and lay strip 5 to the right of and parallel to strip 3.
G: Unfold strip 2 so it’s on top of strip 5, completing your vertical lattice placement.
H: Fold back the top ends of strips 1 and 5, and lay strip 6 above and parallel to strip 2.
I: Return the top ends of strips 1 and 5 to their original positions. Fold back the bottoms of strips 1 and 5, and lay strip 7 below and parallel to strip 2.
J: Return the bottom ends of strips 1 and 5 to their original positions. Fold back the top ends of strips 3 and 4, and lay strip 8 above and parallel to strip 6.
K: Return strips 3 and 4 to their original positions. Your pie is now ready to be crimped.
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Excerpted from the book The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book by Emily Elsen and Melissa Elsen. Copyright 2013 by Emily Elsen and Melissa Elsen. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved.
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