Pie Secrets

Strawberry season on it’s way, and what better to craft out of these ruby beauties than pie! Oh, but what’s that you say? You can’t make pie? You are afraid of making crust?

Pie does not have to be as hard as everyone makes it out to be. The Strawberry Rhubarb Rustic Tarts are a great pie for a beginner due to its hand-formed shape – so don’t worry it’s supposed to look rustic! Fear of crust be gone! This recipe uses a little vinegar in the crust – making for a bit of crust magic. But the true secret to a great crust is not to over-handle it!

The next recipe is a bit more advanced – it is for Pink and Puffy Strawberry Chiffon PIe – an old school style pie. Whipped cream and whipped egg whites are folded in to the strawberry mixture making for a super fluffy filling.  

Both recipes are wonderful to feature the summer’s lush strawberries.

Strawberry Rhubarb Rustic Tarts
Makes 4 individual tarts
Be sure to read recipe through before starting.

1 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds (optional)
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small chunks
1 large egg, beaten
2 tsp. cider vinegar
2 1/2 Tbsp. ice water

Fruit Filling
2 cups quartered strawberries and 1 cup thinly sliced rhubarb OR 3 cups total of any fresh berries
6 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. flour

To make the crust: Mix the flour, poppy seeds, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and, with a pastry blender or clean hands, combine until mixture forms pea-sized particles. In a small separate bowl, mix together 1 Tbsp. of the beaten egg (reserve the rest for egg wash), vinegar and ice water. Stir into the dry mixture with a fork, mixing until liquid is just incorporated. (If dough is too dry, add more water, 1 to 2 teaspoons at a time.) Form dough into a log and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for 10 to 20 minutes.

To make Fruit Filling: Right before assembling the tarts, place fruit in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar and flour. Set aside and toss together after you have rolled out the dough.

To assemble and bake tarts: Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut dough into 4 equal portions. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, press the portion into a flat round disk. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 1/8-inch-thick, 6- to 6 1/2-inch circle, pressing in sides as needed to keep it round. Cover with plastic while you roll out the remaining pieces.

Divide filling evenly among the rolled tart shells, heaping it in the center of each. Gather up the crust edges around the filling, bringing about 1 1/2 inches of the dough over the fruit and pinching it as needed to make an open-face tart. Be careful not to get any holes in crust. If this happens, pinch shut.

With a spatula, carefully remove each tart to a lightly pan-sprayed or parchment-papered baking sheet. Whisk 1 teaspoon of water into the reserved beaten egg and lightly brush the dough of tarts. Sprinkle the tart tops lightly with sugar.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling; cooking time will vary with different ovens. Recipe from Kathy Casey Cooks Favorites-Copyright © 2002 by Kathy Casey.

Pink & Puffy Strawberry Chiffon Pie
Makes 1 9-inch pie

1 1/2 cups very finely crushed vanilla wafer cookies
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar

1 pint fresh strawberries, washed, stemmed and sliced
1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cranberry juice
1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 egg whites*, preferably organic

Sweetened whipped cream
Fresh strawberries with stems, sliced in half lengthwise

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

To make the crust: Combine the cookie crumbs (crumbs should be fine, like cornmeal—you can crush them in a food processor or in a plastic bag and then roll with a rolling pin), butter and sugar in a medium bowl and mix well.

Place mixture in a 9-inch pie pan, and press mixture into pan evenly then up the sides and out onto the rim. Bake for about 6 to 8 minutes, then cool crust to room temperature before filling.

To make the filling: Place sliced strawberries and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a food processor and just lightly pulse a couple of times to break up strawberries—do not puree or chop fine. (If you don’t have a food processor, use a potato masher to do this.) Let mixture sit for 20 minutes (no longer!) before continuing.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, stir the cranberry juice and gelatin together. Place pan over low heat and stir until gelatin is just dissolved. Then pour into a large bowl, and set aside to cool.

After gelatin mixture has cooled, add strawberry mixture to it. Place in refrigerator and chill, stirring occasionally, until mixture is partially set—gloppy but not firm. (This takes about 20 to 30 minutes, depending upon your refrigerator.)

When strawberry mixture is partially set, quickly whip the cream in a mixer until stiff and then refrigerate while you whip the egg whites.

In a clean, grease-free mixer bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. Then gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the strawberry mixture, then gradually and gently fold in the whipped cream. Quickly mound filling into the baked and cooled pie shell.

Return pie to refrigerator, and chill until filling is firm, at least 3 hours. Garnish with sweetened whipped cream and fresh halved strawberries if desired.

Keep any extra pie refrigerated.

*This pie contains uncooked egg whites, which are not recommended for pregnant women, children, the elderly or anyone with immune deficiencies. However, you could use a pasteurized egg white product, such as “Just Whites” or “Egg Beaters Egg Whites.” (Read the label to be sure the product is designed for meringues.) Copyright © 2002 Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on June 11th, 2008  |  Comments (1) |  Posted in dessert, Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes

One Response to “Pie Secrets”

  1. Betty Casey Says:

    I made this pie and it was so easy and delicious- can’t wait to try it with different fruits.