June 28, 2024 • Jessi Kerner

Shop the Story

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie by Nancy Carey Johnson

June 28, 2024 Jessi Kerner

I love to make pies from scratch. I find I get a deep satisfaction in making my own pie dough as I easily measure out flour, a little sugar, cut in the butter and fat and lastly add some ice-cold water. Then once it's put together and I've let it 'rest' in the fridge for a while, I enjoy taking my time as I roll the chilled dough, this way and that, on a well-floured board, letting the rolling pin do its job until I get it to the perfect size and thickness, before placing it in a beautiful pie plate, knowing that once this pliable dough is baked, it will become a tender, flakey casing for some delicious filling.

And this time of year, that delicious filling is strawberry rhubarb because other than some wild greens, the very first crop to 'come on' after our long Vermont winters is rhubarb, its tight, curly, dark green leaves tinged with red, erupting out of the ground. And nipping at rhubarb's heels are our local, deep red strawberries bursting with intense flavor.

I love going out in the yard and selectively cutting long stalks of rhubarb which while reddish green in color, are reminiscent of celery in looks. And though almost as tart as a lemon, rhubarb has a distinct flavor all its own. And going berry picking at one of our many pick your own berry patches brings me a sense of peace as I spend a couple of hours searching for sweet, juicy strawberries that hide under their own leaves as if playing a game of hide-and-seek, daring me to find them.

And I relish the feeling of satisfaction I get when I proffer a homemade pie in a gorgeous pie-plate, passing slices around on beautiful, handmade pottery plates, to all and sundry gathered round my table.

But of all the things I love about making pie from scratch and serving it on beautiful tableware, the thing that brings me the most joy is knowing that I'll be feeding my family and friends a delicious, sweet, treat made with love by my hands; joy for those I love to have something so wonderful and joy because I know that every pie I've made them, will live as a memory in their hearts for the rest of their lives.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie:

Preheat oven to 350º

4 cups Fresh Strawberries, diced
4 cups Fresh Rhubarb, diced
*3/4 cup Sugar
4 tbs Corn Starch
1 tsp Vanilla
3 tbs Cold Butter, diced small

-Dice Strawberries and Rhubarb and put them in a large bowl.
-Add the Sugar, Corn Starch and Vanilla and mix it through.
-Add the Butter and mix it until it's well combined.
*I like my filling a little tart, if you like it a little sweeter, add another 1/4 cup of sugar.

Ingredients for Sweet Crust
2 cups Flour
2 tbs Sugar
1⁄2 cup Shortening/lard 5-1⁄2 tbs Butter, cubed 1⁄2 cup Water, very cold

Instructions for Making the Dough:
-Put flour and sugar in a large bowl and give it a good stir.

-Add the fat (shortening, lard, and/or butter), and using a hand-held pastry blender, cut it into the flour.

-Add the cold water and, using a wooden spoon, mix it into the flour mixture as best as you can. Use your hands to finish incorporating it.

-Transfer the dough into a small bowl or container, cover it, put it in the fridge, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. Letting the dough cool and rest might just be the most important step of all for the pie crust. The reason this is important is that by letting it cool and rest, it relaxes the gluten strands, which helps to make the dough easier to work with.

Instructions for Rolling Out the Crust:

-Generously flour a large board (I love the JK Adams Ultimate Pastry Board because it's plenty big enough to roll out a crust, it's got the circle guides you can go by to size your dough and I love the fact that it's got a lip that goes down the front of your countertop so you can lean against it and keep the board in place!) Also, put a small pile of flour for your rolling pin on the side, and generously flour your pin, because that will prevent the dough from sticking to it and tearing.

-Divide the pie crust into two piles -2/3 & 1/3. The top will be smaller because we’re making a lattice crust (versus something like an apple pie where the apples are heaping, and you’ll need a more generous amount of dough for a second full layer of crust to cover the filling).

-Using a heavy, well-floured rolling pin, roll out the top piece starting in the middle of the dough and roll it in one direction. Then start again and roll in another direction. Using the guide on the JK Adams Ultimate Pastry Board, keep going around until you have a flat, even circle that is at least 10 inches in diameter or at least 2 inches bigger than your Bennington Pottery deep dish pie plate.

-Then, using a pie crimper, cut 12~1/2" wide lengths of pie dough. Spoon the fruit filling into the pie plate, then starting in the middle of the pie, place 1 length of crimped dough over the pie, then going the opposite side start to weave the crust, there should be pieces of crust on each side.

-Bake at 350º for approximately 75 minutes. If your oven runs hot, you can either take it out a little earlier or cover the top edge of your crust with one of our pie shields to prevent your crust from burning.


Author Note: Nancy Carey Johnson is a singer/songwriter and the award- winning author of Life is Good: Wit & Wisdom From A Vermont Homesteader and The Vermont Homesteader's Christmas Memories: Wit, Wisdom & Holiday Recipes. She lives in Poultney, Vermont with her three dogs, four cats and a flock of clucking Chickens, she is also the mother of four grown sons. In her spare time, she loves to garden and bake.