Dad's Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

So, I've alluded to the combination of strawberries and rhubarb a few times.  It's finally time to reveal how they were combined!
I make a strawberry rhubarb pie every year after we go strawberry picking.  Just like I make a blueberry pie after blueberry picking and an apple pie after apple picking.  It's just a fact of life.  But strawberry season always seems to fall in line with father's day.  Funny thing about that.  Actually, this year we had to make a special trip to go strawberry picking before father's day, as they only opened on Wednesday before.  Usually it seems like it's not quite as hard to fit in picking.  Am I just getting busier or were the berries late this year?  Who knows.
But anyway, I actually managed to conceal from dad that I was making this pie until right after we went picking on Saturday morning.  Seeing as it had been in the works since I got home a little over a week ago, I was impressed at how long I kept the secret.
Anyway, we have rhubarb in our garden (as tiny as the stalks seem to always be, I suppose we have to count it as having rhubarb) and I picked some of that right after the strawberries.  I actually picked the right amount for the pie on my first try!  It seems like I'm usually wearing a path across the backyard whenever I'm cooking with rhubarb because I grossly over estimate how much I've picked.  Tricky rhubarb.
The only other problem with our spindly rhubarb is that it takes much longer to wash and chop than the thick stuff you usually see.  But I had NES here to do that job while I hulled the strawberries -- another time consuming job and it went much faster.  The recipe I use every year is really just a sketch, so I'll try and flesh it out to a real recipe.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

2 prepared pie crusts
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp. tapioca
2 cups chopped rhubarb
3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
2 Tbsp. butter

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Mix together the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, flour and tapioca.

Prepare a bottom crust in a 9 inch pie pan.  Pour fruit mixture in.

Dot with small pieces of the butter.

Cover with the top crust -- either whole or lattice.  If using a whole top crust, cut slits for the steam to escape.

Sprinkle the top with a little sugar (optional).

Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the crusts are golden and the filling is bubbly.

As far as pies go, this one is really simple.  There's not really anything fussy about it, unless you go for a lattice crust.  And honestly, that's not really that hard either.  I actually started with a store bought crust (as ashamed as I am to say it) because I didn't have time to make my own crust.  But either way, you start with a circle 1-2 inches bigger than the pie on all sides.  Prepare the bottom crust as you would if you were putting on a regular top crust -- fold down the edges or trim, if necessary, so they are not hanging over the pie plate more than 1/4-1/2 inch.
Slice this circle into 1-1 1/2 inch thick strips.
Taking every other strip (starting from the second in -- I don't use the little rounded strips on the ends), lay them across the pie in one direction, leaving an inch or so between them.
Fold the ends of every other strip back to about the middle of the pie.

Lay one of the small strips left over (you only took every other one before, remember) across the remaining  strips in the opposite direction.
Fold the folded strips back over it.

Starting from the other end of the strips, fold the ones that are now underneath the strip going in the opposite direction back so that they are folded almost back to where they are under the strip.
Lay the next largest strip across the remaining strips.  Fold the folded strips back down onto the pie.
Continue this process until you have gotten across the whole top of the pie.
Then, trim the ends of the strips so they are 1/2-1 inch longer than the pie itself.

Tuck the end of each strip between the bottom crust and the pie pan.  Continue until you have tucked in each end.
Crimp the crust as you would any other pie.
Voila, a latticed pie crust.  Even with a store bought crust.

My pie turned out pretty gooey -- which is a nice way of saying that it was pretty juicy and didn't stay in a nice piece when you cut it.  I think it must have had to do with the fact that the strawberries were pretty juicy to begin with.  But who ever said you needed to have a perfect piece of pie every time?  Not me!


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