Delightful on its own and even better with a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream, strawberry-rhubarb pie is practically impossible not to like. The flaky, buttery crust gives way to a tart and jammy filling, making for a not-too-sweet dessert that tingles every taste bud.
If you’ve never worked with rhubarb before, consider this the perfect introduction. We’re breaking down how to pick and prep fresh stalks, plus everything you need to know about baking the perfect pie. Let’s get started.
Picking and Prepping Fresh Rhubarb
The stalks, which look similar to celery, are often found near the berries in the produce section, and are easily identifiable by their bright-red color. When picking out rhubarb, look for stalks that are firm, crisp, and shiny, and avoid any that are limp, which is a sign that they’re old.
Before slicing the rhubarb, make sure to remove any leaves that are still attached to the stalks (they’re inedible). If the ends of the rhubarb are dry, simply trim them off. There’s no need to peel the stalks, and a quick rinse under cold water should remove any dirt. At this point, you’re ready to slice them up and add them to the filling.
Frozen rhubarb can be used in place in fresh — just be sure to thaw it in the refrigerator overnight, and drain off any excess moisture.
3 Tips for the Best Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie
Before you head into the kitchen, keep these tips in mind.
1. Quarter (don’t slice) your strawberries. Strawberries are a lot softer than rhubarb and therefore cook more quickly. Quartering them creates larger chunks than slicing them, which prevents them from getting mushy as they bake. It also simplifies the prep!
2. Don’t skimp on the lemon. The hit of acid from the zest and juice of two lemons helps amplify the flavors of both the strawberries and the rhubarb, so use the full amounts if you can.
3. Let the pie cool completely before slicing. After taking your pie out of the oven, we recommend letting it cool for at least two hours before cutting into it. This gives the filling enough time to thicken up so you can cut clean slices without the filling spilling out.
- 1 1/4 pounds rhubarb (about 4 cups)
- 1 pound strawberries (about 3 cups)
- 2 large lemons
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 5 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 (14- to 16-ounce) package prepared pie crusts (or 1 homemade double pie crust)
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoons coarse sugar, such as demerara
- Heat the oven. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350ºF.
- Prep the rhubarb and strawberries. Prep the following, placing them all in a large bowl: Discard any leaves from 1 1/4 pounds rhubarb, then dice. Trim the tops from 1 pound strawberries, then quarter them. Finely grate the zest of 2 large lemons, then juice them.
- Make the filling. Add 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar, 5 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Toss to combine, making sure there are no clumps of sugar left in the bottom of the bowl.
- Fill the pie shell. Unroll one of the pie doughs, or roll out a homemade pie dough into a 12-inch round. Transfer to a 9-inch standard pie pan. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Pour the filling and any accumulated juices from the bowl into the crust. Arrange the filling into an even layer.
- Make a lattice top crust. Unroll the second pie dough, or repeat rolling out the second homemade pie dough, and lightly flour the surface. Cut into 1 1/2-inch wide strips. Lay half the strips horizontally over the pie, using the longer strips in the center of the pie and the shorter strips toward the edges. Fold every other strip back on itself. Lay one of the remaining strips vertically over the pie so that it lays across the unfolded horizontal strips. Unfold the folded horizontal strips so they lay over the vertical strip and fold the strips running under the vertical strip back over top. Lay another vertical strip of pie crust over the pie. Continue swapping the folded and unfolded horizontal strips and adding one new vertical strip each time. Continue until one half of the pie is completely latticed, then repeat the same pattern on the other half.
- Seal the crust. Pinch the edges of the pie dough together with your fingers or the tines of a fork to seal the top and bottom crusts together.
- Egg wash and sugar the top crust. Whisk 1 large egg and 1 tablespoon water together into a small bowl until no streaks of yolk remain. Brush the crust and crimped edges of the pie dough with the egg wash, then sprinkle evenly with 2 tablespoons coarse sugar and remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar.
- Bake the pie. Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the filling is bubbling, 50 to 55 minutes. If the edges of the pie crust start to brown too quickly, cover the edges with aluminum foil.
- Cool before serving. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and cool at least 2 hours before slicing.