Recipe Reveal: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie SECRET
With strawberry season in full bloom in Connecticut and fresh rhubarb still hanging on, a little voice inside me was saying, “Make Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.” So I listened.
My father-in-law is a big fan of rhubarb, so it seemed like the perfect thing to make for our Father’s Day cookout.
There are no bells and whistles in my recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. Just fresh fruit, sugar, a small touch of orange zest, tossed together and baked in a homemade pie crust.
Oh yes, and there’s also tapioca in it. That’s my secret, if you can call it that.
I use Minute Tapioca for the thickening agent rather than flour or cornstarch. For years, I used a couple tablespoons of flour to thicken the pie filling. But I noticed the flour gave the filling a cloudy, sometimes muddy look. Then I tried cornstarch and found it was hard to gauge how much was needed. Sometimes the pie didn’t thicken and was runny.
Then one day I happened to be making Tapioca Pudding for my son, and was reading the back of the Minute Tapioca box, and noticed a section on the bottom with pie recipes using tapioca to thicken the fillings.
So, I give it a whirl. First I made a Blueberry Pie, which like Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, was coming out cloudy because of the flour. I was stunned when I cut into the pie to find the filling beautifully bright and blue. The filling’s texture was great too, not runny or too firm. It tasted delicious, no aftertaste from the tapioca.
I was happy to see that the little white tapioca pellets dissolved when the filling came to a boil. If you looked really closely you could see little bubbles from the tapioca here and there but no one ever notices. When you make a pie you want the filling to be the star, and tapioca does the job.
I now use Minute tapioca to thicken all my fruit pies, even apple.
A few tips: Although there are pie recipes on the tapioca box, I use less sugar than listed and usually less tapioca too. Also, it is crucial that the fruit sit in the tapioca and sugar for 15 minutes so the tapioca can soften. I once was impatient and put a pie in to bake right after I put the tapioca in without giving it time to soften. The filling was a bit “crunchy” from undissolved tapioca. So in prepping the pie, start the filling first so it has 15 minutes to sit. The tapioca/sugar mixture will draw out some juices. Don’t discard them, they make the pie filling nice and juicy.
STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 cups sliced rhubarb
3 tablespoons MINUTE tapioca
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 recipe pie crust for a 9-inch pie
(Can make double crust or lattice)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a large bowl mix strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, tapioca and orange rind. Let stand 15 minutes, stirring a couple times, while preparing pie dough.
3. Line 9-inch pie plate with pie crust.
4. Fill with fruit mixture. Cover with top crust or lattice strips. If using top crust, cut a couple air slits in the top.
5. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until juices form bubbles that burst slowly. Cool and serve.