We’re roommates. Brianna is a vegan on low-fodmap, while Mary is gluten-intolerant and allergic to nuts. Needless to say, cooking can be a challenge…especially when our favorite activity is baking!
We choose to seize the opportunity and embrace the challenge. One of my favorite vegetables is rhubarb and let me tell you, our rhubarb custard pie is out of this world! So when we saw fresh, beautiful rhubarb in the store today (a rarity) we couldn’t resist bringing some home. The result? Delicious, flaky, Rhubarb-Strawberry Pie that we both could enjoy!
Tips and Tricks
How to pick rhubarb
Never use ‘bad’ rhubarb…just walk away! What does bad rhubarb look like? Anything that is spongy, squishy, or dry is a horrible, horrible idea. Good rhubarb will be hard and full of juice. The best pieces are smaller than an inch in diameter. Surprisingly, the color of the stalk is irrelevant to flavor. You may be tempted to avoid the green, matte stalks and only choose the red, ribbon-like stalks. Instead, focus on choosing hard, small stalks that do not appear dry on the ends and do not squish when pressed.
If you have never tried raw rhubarb, you should know that it is incredibly tart and starchy. Few people can handle the level of tartness, which is why we strongly encourage you to try this pie with 50% rhubarb and 50% strawberries your first time. Strawberries help balance the tart with their natural sweetness.
Final tip: rhubarb freezes easily. It’s a great buy when fresh rhubarb is available. Clean and cut to .5 inch pieces, place in quart ziplock bags and freeze! It really is that easy. Rhubarb is an inexpensive vegetable that tastes great year round. If you have freezer space, start taking advantage of the bargain sales at the grocery store!
A note on crust
Add dry ingredients, then cut cold butter or shortening in to the mixture. Knead until flour is fully saturated. This applies to any type of butter, shortening or oil….vegan sources included! Crust should only just stick together.
Depending on the type of flour you are using, the moisture will absorb at a different rate and time. Therefore, it is best if you knead until all the flour is incorporated, then allow the mixture to ‘rest’ for 10 minutes before adding cold water or milk.
When using gluten-free flours, it can be difficult to transfer the crust to the pan, because gluten acts as a glue holding everything together. While adding xanthem gum to your crust can help, it still can be difficult to transfer. You have two options:
Roll dough on to wax paper, flip quickly on to the waiting pie pan and slowly peel the wax paper from the dough, allowing the dough to sink in to the pan or cover the top of the filling.
Roll dough on to parchment paper, place dough AND paper in pan, then cut the excess paper from the edge. Use wax paper method for top crust. The benefit is that you can slice the pie once it cools, freeze for 4+ hours, then remove the frozen pie. Remove the paper and have a delicious, free-standing dessert! This is a great option for parties!
Final tip: to keep crust from sticking, coat your pie pan in oil, then sprinkle a healthy dose of flour over the top. Shake flour to throughly cover and knock any excess in to the sink.
Rhubarb-Strawberry Pie Recipe
- 1.5-2 cups flour (gluten free or regular)
- Our favorite gf brand is Namaste.
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tsp cane sugar (visit here for substitutions)
- ½ cup butter (vegan, regular or shortening)
- Our favorite is Earth Balance or Spectrum.
- 4 cups rhubarb, cut in to ½ inch pieces (use scissors!)
- I love plain rhubarb custard, but if you weren’t raised on it, you may prefer to cut the fruit by using 50% strawberries.
- ½ cup cane sugar (add ¼ cup extra if using only rhubarb)
- Visit here for sugar substitutions.
- 2 eggs (substitute with 2 tbsp modified food starch or 2 tbsp quick cooking tapioca pearls)
- ¼ flour (oat, gluten-free or regular)
- If using frozen fruit: add 1 tbsp modified food starch or quick cooking tapioca pearls.
- Combine filling ingredients, except for the eggs (if using) allow to sit while crust is compiled.
- Mix flour ingredients, cut cold butter in to flour and knead until fully saturated. Crust should be crumbly, but it should not break apart when pressed. Add cold water, 1 Tbsp at a time if too dry.
- Slightly beat eggs and add to filling (if using).
- Pour pie in to filling, add top crust and bake!
- Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and cook for another 45 minutes. Pie should be bubbly, give off a fragrant scent, and have a toasted brown crust. Let cook until this occurs!
- If pie browns too quickly, cover with tinfoil and continue to bake. Until bubbly.