I've long aspired to be one of those people who can just whip up a pie. But to do that you have to either have grown up in small town America, or practice, and much as I'd like to, I just can't make a pie every day, or even every week. My freezer (and stomach) is only so big. This means that every time I make a pie, I will fret about rolling it out, either tackle the dough too soon, or apply pressure in the wrong places and end up with pastry that needs to be pieced together. The problem with pie, is that whatever triage you have to do to get the thing in the oven, however wonky it seems when it goes in, it always comes out looking pretty impressive. Especially this one. If ever was the time to try a lattice top, this is it - the pink/red pop of the fruit spectacular against the lightly golden pastry. And it tastes even better. The rich, buttery crust balances the sweet/tart of the rhubarb and raspberry beautifully. With a dollop of cream or a puddle of ice cream it's enough to make you forget the trauma of its making. Pie will never be effortless (for me, anyway), but it's always worth making the effort.
Raspberry Rhubarb PieAdapted from a recipe by Yossy Arefi and her Apt. 2B Baking Co
If you want to attempt a lattice top, or have any pie baking questions, check out Melissa Clark's brilliant guide from NY Times Cooking (a totally amazing app for your iPad by the way).
12 ounces flour
1 teaspoons salt
9 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
4 ounces ice cold water
1 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
To make the crust, combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Use your fingers to cut in half of the butter until it is the size of peas, then cut in the other half until it is the size of lima beans. Some of the butter will be completely worked into the flour, but you should have lots of visible pieces of butter in the dough too. Add the apple cider vinegar to the water and make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Use a gentle hand or wooden spoon to mix the water into the flour until just combined. If the dough seems very dry, add more water a couple of teaspoons at a time. You have added enough water when you can pick up a handful of the dough and squeeze it together without it falling apart. Press the dough together, then split it in half, form into discs and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for at least one hour before using, or overnight.
20 ounces rhubarb (about 5 stalks)
6 ounces raspberries (about 2 handfuls)
10 ounces sugar
2 ounces all purpose flour
zest and juice of 1/2 of a lemon
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and pod reserved for another use
egg and crunchy sugar (like raw or demerera) for topping
On a lightly floured surface, roll out one piece of the dough into a 12'' circle about 1/8'' thick and place it into a pie pan. Place in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the pie.
Roll out the other piece of dough into a 12'' circle about 1/8'' thick and place it in the fridge on a sheet pan to chill while you prepare the filling.
In a large bowl, rub the vanilla bean seeds and lemon zest into the sugar to evenly distribute. Remove the leaves from the rhubarb (if there are any) and chop it into 1/2-inch pieces. Add the rhubarb, raspberries, flour, lemon juice and salt into the large bowl with the sugar and gently toss to combine evenly. Be careful not to crush the raspberries too much.
Fill the prepared pie shell with the rhubarb mixture and top with the second crust, crimp the edges and cut a few vents in the top (or try a lattice top following the steps outlined here).
If the crust seems soft or warm, slide the whole pie into the fridge or freezer for about 15 minutes before you bake it. When you are ready to bake, brush the top of the pie with a beaten egg and sprinkle with a healthy dose of coarse sugar (like demerera).
Put the pie on a baking sheet to catch any drips and bake for 15 minutes on the lowest rack of your oven, then lower the oven temp to 400º and bake for 40-50 minutes or until the crust is deep golden brown and the rhubarb juices bubble. Cool before serving.