Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, or “Piratenbeute”

 

Rhubarb pieWe spent Father’s Day with a family whose patriarchal dessert of choice was strawberry rhubarb pie, but two days before I had received an exceptional gift of piratey-treasure with a German twist to it, and needed to acknowledge its brilliance immediately.  So off to my galley to top a strawberry rhubarb pie with a streusel topping, and Piratenbeute was born!

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My friend Kristen returned from a trip to Sylte, an island in the German North Sea, with this pirate bag.  The brilliance: piratenbeutel means “pirate bag”…piratenbeute means “pirate booty.”  Germans are clever word pirates!  So off to the market with my piratenbeutel to buy some rhubarb.

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Cut the tough ends from about 1-1/2 pounds of rhubarb, or 7 cups when chopped.  Wash, hull, and cut in half (if smaller, or quarter if larger) a quart of strawberries.

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I am told that some rhubarb does not require peeling.  I have never found this easy rhubarb!  You will know yours is the peeling type if you grab the edge of some skin with a knife-blade and it comes off in a thick papery peel as shown here.  You can try a vegetable peeler, but mine just got mucked up with the first pull and made no progress at all.  I was better off with the old fashioned paring knife.  Chop the peeled rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces.

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Zest a large orange.  An aside…our boat might be a paranormal worm hole into a kitchen supply store in another universe.  It keeps coughing up implements that I didn’t know I had, like this zester!  Honestly I have never seen it before.  One year we found an entire set of winter canvas to cover the 40′ boat in the bottom of a sea berth…we didn’t know we had it.  It’s a lesser-known miracle benefit of buying a used vessel!

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Place the sliced rhubarb, three large granny mith apples (peeled, cored, and chopped), the orange zest, the juice from the large orange (about 1/4 or 1/3 cup), and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan.   Variation: we had a guest who was avoiding processed sugar; I omitted it here, and added two teaspoons of liquid stevia after removing the filling from the heat but before adding the cornstarch, below, and it worked wonderfully.

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Cover and bring to a boil; partially remove the cover, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer 10-15 minutes until rhubarb and apples are soft.

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Add the strawberries and return to a boil.

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Put three tablespoons of cornstarch in a small bowl and add several spoonsfull of the hot liquid from the saucepan.  Stir this together thoroughly and add it back to the saucepan full of fruit.

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Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for another 10 minutes or so, until the filling thickens.  Remove from heat and cool thoroughly – this will take a while, and you will want to stir it every once in a while to allow additional heat to escape.

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Meanwhile, prepare your crust.  This is the world’s easiest pie crust recipe, resulting in a slightly sweet crust with a shortbread-like texture.  Unfortunately it only seems to be good with strawberry pie, or with some quiche fillings.  Put 1-1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1-1/2 teaspoons of sugar directly into a pie pan and mix together with a fork.

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Add 1/2 cup vegetable oil and 3 tablespoons of milk (preferably whole, but lowfat fine).

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Mix this together with a fork, thoroughly, until wet but crumbly.

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Use your hands to press this directly into the pie pan and up the sides, pushing into the edges and flutes.  Prick in several places with fork tines.

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Bake the crust for about 15-20 minutes in a 375 degree oven, checking frequently, until lightly browned.  Let the crust cool thoroughly before filling with the well-cooled filling.

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For the streusel topping, combine 6 tablespoons brown sugar, 1/2 cup chopped pecans (or rolled oats if you have a non-nut-eater), 1/2 cup flour, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

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Add 4 tablespoons melted butter and mix thoroughly.

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Crumble the streusel over the top of the filled pie and bake under a broiler or at 400 degrees until browned, about 10 minutes.

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Check to be sure that the dog is ashore before cooling the pie on the bridge deck!  Top with whipped cream and Guten Vatertag!

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