Friday, March 14, 2008

Happy PI(e) Day!

Hooray for Pie!

Kitchen Parade has declared that March 14th shall be Pie Day in honor of the mathematical PI (3.14yadayadayada) and asked food bloggers from all over the world to bake a pie in honor of this constant of all constants. And since PI is so important to circles (it is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter) what better way to celebrate than make a big ole edible circle filled with fruit.

Now, I'm a pie girl; a serious pie girl. In fact if I was given my druthers I'd pick pie over cake any time, any place. I like cream pies and fruit pies. I like quiches and pot pies. One crust or two crusts, doesn't matter to me if it is pie. You give me a menu that has Boston Cream Pie on it or one of those triple chocolate molten cake things and I'm sticking my fork in that BCP. I'm so much of pie girl that my mom has made me a strawberry rhubarb pie for every birthday since I was ten years old. Today, even if I'm not home in Northern Michigan for my June birthday, she will freeze enough strawberries and rhubarb so that when next I'm home I'll get my birthday pie.

Over the weekend, I was rotating my flour stock in my freezer when I stumbled upon a small package of chopped rhubarb left over from last spring. I also noticed the first spring strawberries that actually smell/taste like strawberries are starting to show up in the grocery store. So, on Sunday, I picked up two quarts of strawberries and made myself a strawberry rhubarb pie to go with the roasted chicken and green beans I was having for my dinner.

It was like tasting the first hint of late spring and it made me smile.

Best of all, it made my neighbors who are building an addition on their house smile too. Because after I sliced myself a piece, I wrapped up the rest and took it over the husband and two sons who were working on putting the new windows in the addition. The pie tin came back washed and with a note saying it was the perfect way to put in windows and they only got strawberries on one pane...

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

2 cups chopped rhubarb
2 cups chopped strawberries
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp tapioca starch
2 Tbsp flour
2 10" pie crusts (I used the recipe for pie crust from Alice Waters "The Art of Simple Food")

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a 9" pie tin with cooking spray. Place one pie crust in the bottom, pressing it in to fill the corners and trim to leave about 1/2" overhanging the edge of the pie tin. Mix tapioca starch into sugar and set aside. Coat rhubarb and Strawberries with flour and fill the pie tin until fruit is mounded about 2" higher than pie tin edge. Sprinkle sugar and tapioca mixture over fruit. Place other pie crust on top of fruit. Seal and crimp with bottom crust and cut vents in top crust. Cover pie edge with foil or pie ring to protect crimp from over-browning. Bake for 35 - 45 minutes until crust is golden brown and fruit is cooked. Remove pie ring/foil for last 15 minutes of baking.

Let cool for 20 minutes before serving to allow juices to thicken.