Now that the Berkshires Farm Table Cookbook has launched, we are continuing to share recipes that showcase seasonal ingredients from the farmers’ markets and farm stores. This one features strawberries and rhubarb, together in one crumble-topped pie.
We encourage you to order your own copy of the book from your local independent book shop, or from one of the online outlets at right.
In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this preview of a timely recipe that makes good use of the last of the year’s rhubarb crop.
Like most of the 125 recipes in the cookbook, this one was developed by chef Brian Alberg and inspired by the offerings of one of the farms we profiled. (The rest were adapted from area farm-to-table chefs we profiled in the book.) The Berry Patch, located in Stephentown, NY, is owned and operated by Dale Ila Riggs and her husband Don Miles, who have been growing blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, vegetables, and cut flowers since 1996 for sale at their farm store, through their free choice CSA, and (during normal times) at area restaurants, including many featured in the cookbook. (Namely, Cafe Adam, Haven Cafe & Bakery, Mezze Bistro & Bar, Prairie Whale, and Red Lion Inn, plus Cantina 229 and Canyon Ranch.)
During the disruption, The Berry Patch has been offering online ordering and pick-up from its own farm store.
The farm is also a longstanding member of the Troy Waterfront Farmers’ Market, which after running virtually recently re-opened with a small outdoor market each Saturday. (Click here for details.)
It’s worth making the crust from scratch, and the recipe from the cookbook is as foolproof a version as you are likely to find. Honestly, it comes together quickly in the food processor, rolls out beautifully, and handles without any rips or tears when fitting into the pie plate. Just be sure not to overmix the dough—stop as soon as it forms a ball. And don’t skip the chilling step—the dough needs that half hour (or longer) to firm up so it won’t be too sticky to work with. It also freezes exceptionally well, meaning you can stash the extra disk, wrapped well in plastic and kept in a resealable freezer bag, to use for all your summer pies. (Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before rolling out.)
Here’s an easy way to transfer the rolled-out dough to the plate: Rest your rolling pin gently over one side of dough and roll it up until you reach the other side (dust it lightly with flour to keep it from sticking), then place the pin with the dough over one side of pie plate and slowly unfurl. You can trim the overhang flush with the rim or tuck it under and crimp (as shown below).
The filling includes an egg, which adds a touch of richness and helps to bind the fruit. Wait to fold together the filling until right before baking the pie; otherwise the berries will give off lots of juice and make the filling more runny than you might like.
Make sure your oven is sufficiently preheated. Use an inexpensive oven thermometer (read this for more about this handy tool) to make sure your oven is calibrated, adjusting it higher or lower as needed. And use visual cues to tell if the pie is ready—the crust and topping should be nicely browned and the filling actively bubbling.
Finally, resist the urge to eat it fresh out of the oven. The filling will continue to settle after baking, for neater slicing. It’s also good the next day (and the next), either at room temperature or after a brief warming in the oven.
Dutch-Style Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Inspired by The Berry Patch
This crumb-topped variation on a familiar pairing, combining the sweetness of strawberries with the tartness of rhubarb, will become a new favorite. If using local or another granola in this recipe instead of rolled oats, which can make the pie more interesting, make sure the brand used doesn’t add more sweetness than desired. (We used lightly sweetened Almond Ginger Granola from The Sweetish Baker as that was in our pantry, but other times we have used BOLA granola, both from Great Barrington..MA)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 recipe Sweet Piecrust (below), or store-bought
1 large egg
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
14 ounces fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced (about 4 cups sliced)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granola or rolled oats
Zest of 2 oranges
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pea-size pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and set an oven rack in the center of the oven. On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the pie dough to 1/8 inch thick. Line a 9-inch pie pan with the rolled dough. Place the pie plate on a foil-lined half sheet pan to protect the oven from drips.
2. Beat the egg in a large bowl. Add the granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons of flour, and orange and vanilla extracts and mix until smooth. Fold in the rhubarb and strawberries, making sure the fruit is fully coated. Pour into the piecrrust, using a rubber spatula to scrape the contents of the bowl fully into the crust.
3. Combine the remaining 3/4 cup of flour with the brown sugar, granola, and orange zest in a medium bowl. Use two knives to cut the butter into little pieces into the dry ingredients. The same result can be achieved by pressing down on the butter pieces with the back of a fork. Once the butter has been cut into the flour enough to make it crumbly, sprinkle the mixture over the fruit in the pie plate.
4. Transferring the pie pan along with its half sheet pan to the center rack of the oven, bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until the pie is golden brown and bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Makes a double piecrust
This easy recipe makes the perfect pastry container for any sweet pie filling.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pea-size pieces, plus more for pie plate
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup ice water, or more as needed
1. Blend the flour, salt, butter, and sugar in a food processor until a granular mixture is achieved. With the processor running, gradually add the cold water through the opening of the processor lid until the dough balls up. It may not require all the water, but if it does not come together after using all of it, add 1 more teaspoon at a time. This should only take a few minutes from start to finish. Do not overmix.
2. Remove the dough from the processor and divide into two equal portions. Form each piece into a thick disk, wrap in plastic, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. (The dough can be held for a day or two in the refrigerator, or frozen for 4 to 6 weeks.)