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!


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


Add the strawberries and return to a boil.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


Add 4 tablespoons melted butter and mix thoroughly.


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


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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