Usually when I post on here, I plan ahead. I make whatever delicious treat I crave a week in advance and schedule a time on my days off to sit in front of my computer. Today though, I made something so ideal for this warm summer weekend that I had to post it today.
The weather here has been pure bliss; glistening sunshine that tickles the skin, ocean blue skies and a gentle breeze to cool you. My favourite kind of weather is a crisp spring or autumn morning however, this has some strong competition after today’s perfect weather.
For me, summer is about a plethora of vibrant plump fruits and vegetables. Cooking is so much easier in the warm weather. In winter you need to add other flavours to potatoes and lets face it, kind of boring root vegetables. It requires an effort. In summer though, fruits scream with their bright coloured skins and burst with lively flavours bringing your taste buds to life. No need for extras. Just let their natural, delightful sweetness charm you into long summer nights and the smoky calling of your barbecue.
I think everyone understands the ceremonial feeling you have with your first bite of a british strawberry. It’s as if, every year you forget what a perfectly ripe homegrown strawberry tastes like. As a child, having strawberries with a little sugar and a dash of pouring cream was such a treat in summer time. I’m still obsessing over rhubarb and still go by the notion that we should use it while it’s around this time of year.
The sweetness of strawberries, pudgy and ready to burst with juice, compliments the tart kick that comes with rhubarb. They make the perfect pairing for a pie or cake. I haven’t made a pie in a long time and haven’t ever tried my hand at a lattice. I have swooned over them for a long time, such a beautiful finish to a rustic pie without adding a lot of pastry.
This is the perfect treat for this shining weekend. Just imagine; Pimms in one hand, strawberry pie in the other. The sun on your skin as you feel like summer has truly begun. Ingredients – Makes one 24cm pie
- 375g plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 40g light muscovado sugar
- 150g cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 egg
- 4-6 tbsp. of ice cold water
- 600g strawberries
- 3 large sticks of rhubarb
- 1 tbsp. of cornstarch
- 75g light muscovado sugar
- 75g caster sugar
- 20g plain flour
- 3-4 mills of ground black pepper
- 1 egg and a splash of milk
- demerara sugar
For the pie dough:
- Place the flour, salt and sugar into a medium-sized bowl. Mix these together with your hands. Add in the cold, cubed butter. Rub the butter into the flour using your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add in the egg and 2 tbsp. of cold water. Mix these together. Continue to add water until the dough comes together into a ball. Add a tbsp. at a time so that the dough doesn’t become too wet. Wrap the dough in cling film and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
- Take the dough from the fridge. Cut off 2/3 of the dough for the base, placing the other third back into the fridge for the lattice top. Roll the dough out so that it is a few inches bigger than your pie dish. Roll the dough onto your rolling-pin and lay over the dish. Press the dough into the base of the dish, leaving the excess on the sides hanging over the edge. Place back into the fridge while you prepare the filling.
For the filling:
- Hull and chop your strawberries into halves, or quarters for bigger strawberries. Place into a large bowl. Chop the rhubarb into 1cm pieces and add these to the bowl. In another bowl combine the cornstarch, two sugars, plain flour and black pepper. Spoon this over the fruits and toss together. Take your pie dish out of the fridge and spoon in the filling.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Beat together an egg and a splash of milk for your egg wash.
- Take the remaining third of pie dough from the fridge and roll out to the length and width of your pie dish. Cut the dough into long strips. Lay the strips over each other to create a lattice, gluing the edges to the base dough with egg wash. Using a sharp knife, trim off the excess dough from the edges. Brush the lattice and edges of the pie with egg wash and sprinkle on a few handfuls of demerara sugar.
- Bake for 10 minutes at 200°C. Then turn down your oven to 170°C and bake for 50-60 minutes, checking your bake halfway through incase the edges are browning too quickly.
- Once ready, the filling should be bubbling and thick. The pie crust should be golden brown and crisp.