Posted on
a spring strawberry rhubarb pie

It is almost rhubarb time – it is in grocery stores already, a bit ahead of the season here – a sign of spring and the growing season ahead.

TOOLS:Several large MIXING BOWLS, (a large CUTTING BOARD or clean surface to roll out a crust if make crust), a CUTTING BOARD to chop fruit, a FORK for mixing, a SHARP KNIFE for chopping, a PIE PLATE, and an oven which will be pre-heated to 425 degrees.


Note on pie crust: This recipe does not include the crust recipe yet – however, the one I make most often is a butter and lard crust. Butter only crusts also work, and there are other types of oils that might be used as well.

For the sugar mixture to add to the pie filling, add 1 CUP + about a 1T of SUGAR, and 1/2 cup of FLOUR, and mix with spoon. Set aside.

I chopped about 5 cups of clean RHUBARB (need enough, with strawberries, to round out your pie dish). Vary chop – fine, to 1″ – the larger will stay as whole pieces in the pie, once the pie is cooked. 2 CUPS of whole hulled STRAWBERRIES (or 1 1/2, or 1 – depending on how large they are, and how many you have – if have less, add a bit more sugar, cut the larger strawberries in half.

A PIE CRUST, prepared (or make the crust). Sprinkle a little sugar mixture over the bottom.

Add to the Sugar Mixture in bowl then, 1 package of GELATIN -7grams or 1/4 ounce – mix with spoon, pour over fruit, and mix fruit with this sugary mixture.

Put this fruit mixture in pie-crust, put a top piecrust on, if a lattice, add some butter between the lattice-work.

Note on Gelatin:
The gelatin is not a requirement to thicken the pie. Nor is gelatin the usual thickener for a rhubarb pie – the flour in the sugar mixture is a all required – maybe add another T, if much fruit, and not using gelatin. Other thickener possibilities are tapioca, arrowroot, starch, and maybe carrageenan (for the first three, see an article below in references for equivalents and more).
With the gelatin added, the pie will not gel/set-up until cooled – not that it does with flour – (maybe with arrowroot it might?), so if using gelatin and serving warm or very warm, consider serving with ice-cream.)

Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25- 30 minutes, then at 390 degrees until finished (juice should be boiling up through crust).Note: Keep checking crust while baking – if darkening too fast, lower temperature, or place a piece of tinfoil over the top (just lay the foil on top of pie – note – no tinfoil in microwaves, not sure about all appliances – please read appliance directions).

Raisins:About 2T of chopped RAISINS add sweetness, and unique flavor – if use them, subtract a T of sugar.

Gelatin variations, and two-layer pie, chilled: Not sure if agar agar or carrageenan from seaweed might be used in place of gelatin? (for a gelatin-like pie).
Also, consider, (if using gelatin as part of thickener for pie, and would like a cold dessert) making a slightly flatter pie, without a top-crust, letting cool, and then putting a thin layer of gelatin, strawberry juice, sugar, cooked per gelatin directions, adding chopped strawberries – maybe a quarter-inch – over, and letting this set again in the refrigerator. This is untested. It has been a while since I have been thinking about particles bound in a binder, but I wonder if this 2-layer thought might work also with, for example, arrowroot in the pie, and then adding a little arrowroot also to the gelatin layer over the top. This should be tried scaled back as a very small pie, or tart, until are certain this might work. For incorporating some binder that is the same, layer to layer, see various texts on painting written during the Renaissance- I do not recall which – nor am I certain of this at the moment. For a contemporary text, on Renaissance painting, see Michael Price’s book – Renaissance Mysteries – Volume ! is an excellent recipe book! On painting, but also on approaches to experimenting with recipes.

Japanese Knotweed: It is said that Japanese Knotweed which has medicinal and nutritional benefits, but in many parts of the US is vigorous growing and quick to spread and therefore considered invasive in many ecosystems) has shoots which can be collected in spring to make a rhubarb-like pie (roadsides are not a good place to collect, however, and likewise, nor are other locations at risk for having ground contamination, such as stands which have had weed-killer applied). I have no idea if putting rhubarb with knotweed in the same pie is a harmonious combination. There are recipes for strawberry-knotweed pies.

A TREAT FOR YOUR DOG? Skip the raisins, ideally (see below). Or cut back to 1T of raisins, and reduce the amount you give to your dog to a half a teaspoon.
There is a lot of sugar, so your dog probably only needs a Tablespoon of pie as a treat anyway – so if include 2T, or 1T of raisins, just give them a very tiny taste, and no more. (With 2 T, half the pie only has 1 T, 1/8 a pie, less than a teaspoon, and so by the time you get to a T of pie, you might be at only about one raisin – but Tufts suggests to keep their kidneys safe, and stay away from even one raisin – especially good advice therefore if your dog has kidney problems, or if your dog is very small, or if your dog might somehow have come by a raisin already, or piece of one.)

Reference:This pie is based on a pie from V.Feller, and Betty Crocker.
Reference on thickening – very clearly written – and explains clarity of thickeners also: https://www.finecooking.com/article/thickeners by Nicole Rees.
Reference, on painting in layers with pigment and a binder which includes a gelatin, or rather a rabbit-skin glue, see Michael Price’s book on painting – Renaissance Mysteries – Volume 1.