There is a rhubarb plant at the Chapman house, so I decided to make a classic strawberry rhubarb pie. So, I went out to pick some ruby red fresh rhubarb. The recipe I used was from Smitten Kitchen (one of my favourite blogs). The pie turned out extremely well (super tasty) – but a little watery in the centre. I am still working on perfecting the perfect strawberry rhubarb pie. My Mom who has been making pies forever would not have made a mistake like this, but like she always says, “practice makes perfect.” As I was preparing the pie filling I saw some blueberries in the freezer, so I added half a cup to add extra colour. So, it wasn’t entirely ‘strawberry rhubarb.’ When I make this pie again, I will add only 1/2 cup of sugar or 2/3 cup – the berries had tremendous natural sweetness and it would have been nice to allow the slightly tart rhubarb flavour to shine.
The recipe for the crust however, was a success, it was flakey, buttery and crisp. I even decided to get fancy and do a lattice top pattern. I brushed the top with an egg wash and sprinkled it lightly with sugar. It came out of the oven looking beautiful. I enjoy the challenge that pie baking presents, getting the filling and crust perfect, as well as decorating, so the perfect pie challenge continues.
The next pie I made was a savoury dinner pie and is a classic! The recipe is from the Canadian living website and it is one of my favourites. The filling with fresh thyme and white wine is truly divine! Fresh carrots, baby red skin potatoes, celery and peas come together to create a classic dinner. Not to mention puff pastry (yum)! When I make this for Jonathan it usually makes two pot pies – one of which can be frozen. Served with a fresh salad it is a perfect dinner or lunch. I read somewhere that chicken pot pie is a great dinner for entertaining because: it looks like you have slaved away all day making it, divides up easily, usually good for picky eaters and by the time your guests arrive all the work is done. The pot pie comes out looking like a piece of perfection with flaky buttery crust – and you get to eat gourmet chicken pot pie with your friends and catch up.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
3 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds, untrimmed) rhubarb, in 1/2-inch thick slices
3 1/2 cups (about 1 pound) strawberries, hulled and sliced if big, halved if tiny
½ cup blueberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water (for brushing on the top)
Mix together sliced strawberries, sliced rhubarb, blueberries, white sugar, brown sugar, lemon juice, salt and flour. Set aside.
All Butter, Really Flaky Pie Dough (From Smitten Kitchen)
Makes enough dough for one double-, or two single-crust pies.
2 ½ cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup cold cold water, use ice cubes if necessary
1. Pulse together dry ingredients in food processor or use hand dough cutter.
2. Add butter and pulse again.
3. Slowly add cold water, pulse until it comes together in a nice dough.
4. Divide the dough in two and refrigerate for 1 hour
Putting the Pie together:
1. Roll our first dough for the bottom crust. Lightly poke the dough at the bottom with a fork.
2. Crimp the sides of the piecrust. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
3. Pre – bake the crust at 400 for 10 minutes with aluminum foil and baking weights.
4. Let crust cool then add fruit mixture.
5. Roll out second pie dough. Slice with pizza cutter into 1 inch to 1 ½ inch strips.
6. Alternate length and width wise the lattice strips.
7. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle lightly with sugar.
8. Reduce oven temperature down to 350 degrees and bake for 40 minutes.
Chicken Pot Pie (from Canadian Living)
3 cups (500 mL) chicken stock
1 cup (250 mL) drywhite wine
2 cups (500 mL) chopped carrots
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cups (500 mL) cubed peeled potatoes
1 bay leaf
1 Pinch each salt and 1 tsp pepper, 1-3 tablespoon rosemary
1 lb (454 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/3 cup (75 mL) butter
1/3 cup (75 mL) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (75 mL milk
1 cup (250 mL) frozen peas
1/2 pkg (397 g) frozen puff pastry, thawed
In large saucepan, bring chicken stock, wine, carrots, celery, potato, bay leaf, rosemary, salt and pepper to boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add chicken; simmer, uncovered, until no longer pink inside, 10 minutes. Skim off any foam. Strain; set aside chicken stock. Set aside chicken mixture; discard bay leaf.
In saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour; cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Whisk in reserved stock until smooth. Bring to boil; cook, stirring, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in milk; cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken and vegetable mixture into your dish, add peas, add extra rosemary and pepper to taste; stir to coat.) Use large casserole dish or smaller ones if you are making two.
On floured surface, roll out pastry to fit top of dish plus 1-inch (2.5 cm) extra all around; trim edges. Brush edge of dish with water. Centre pastry over filling; gently press overhang to adhere to dish. Brush with egg; slash 4 steam vents. Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven until golden, puffed and filling is bubbly, about 30 minutes.