Saturday, March 8, 2014
Local strawberries are just starting to trickle in at farmers’ markets and should be widely available in the coming weeks.
The strawberry harvest last year at Fairwinds Farm in Bowdoinham, a prolific grower of berries
I was lucky to find some grown by Six River Farm last week at their stand at the Crystal Spring Farmer’s Market in Brunswick. They only had a few dozen pints, and they went fast.
The fields at Six River Farm on the banks of Merrymeeting Bay in Bowdoinham
Now we can start to enjoy the classic pairing of strawberries and rhubarb while they’re available in the markets at the same time; strawberries stay around longer with the ever-bearing variety through early fall, but rhubarb will be gone soon.
In some ways I like strawberries on their own, without competing, contrasting ingredients. After all what’s better than creamy strawberry ice cream, tarts, cobblers and pies?
This is not to say that the classic strawberry-rhubarb pie isn’t a great dessert. And I made a wonderful version of it this week, keeping it simple with just sugar and nutmeg and the right combination of strawberries to rhubarb.
Use your favorite pastry recipe for the double crust or refer back to my May 29th posting for rhubarb cream pie and the dough recipe that’s offered there.
When you remove the pie from the oven let it cool for about 10 minutes before serving
One 9-inch pie
1 double-crust pie dough recipe
1 ½ cups sugar
1/3 cup flour
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg, or to taste
3 cups diced rhubarb (about 4 stalks)
1 pint strawberries, sliced in half
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
Egg wash with 1 egg and 1 tablespoon heavy cream, beaten
1 tablespoon sugar, for dusting
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the over to 425 degrees
Put the dry ingredients and spices into a large mixing bowl, combining with a whisk until thoroughly mixed. Set aside.
Prepare the rhubarb and strawberries and add to the flour mixing; using your hands, gently mix everything together until well blended. Let this mixture macerate for about 15 minutes.
Put into the prepared pie shell, cover with the top crust, make four slits in the top of the crust for air vents and brush the crust with the egg wash; sprinkle the top with sugar.
Put in the oven and bake for 10 minutes then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top has browned nicely and the filling is bubbly. Remove from oven and brush the top with melted butter. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
John Golden has written about food, dining and lifestyle subjects for Downeast magazine, the Boston Globe, Cottages and Gardens magazine, Gourmet magazine, Cuisine magazine, the New York Times and the New York Post.
In his highly opinionated blog, John reports on his experiences dining out all over Maine and his visits with food personalities, farmers and farmers’ markets throughout the state.