As I settle in and get cozy for this upcoming snow storm, I am excited to be sharing with you my newest recipe for Pi Day!
Growing up in New England I always looked forward to fall for apple picking and all the wonderful apple deserts. Although it’s turned to winter (and hopefully spring soon), I decided to combine this fall staple with one of my family’s favorite spring fruits, rhubarb.
Together, these ingredients form a wonderful Apple Rhubarb Pie! Layered on top of a flaky all butter crust, this tart filling gains sweetness and fragrance from apples, rhubarb, sugars, and an array of warming spices.
My favorite pie crust is an all butter crust that comes out flaky and absolutely delicious! It starts by mixing all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, and salt in a medium size mixing bowl or the food processor.
Then, add the cubed chunks of cold butter.
Quick tip: It is critical that the butter be cold and right out of the refrigerator. Along with ice cold water (tap water with an ice cube) this ensures that your crust with be flaky.
With a pastry blender or food processor cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse sand. Gradually add the ice cold water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together.
Turn your dough out onto a pastry mat and knead briefly to ensure that the dough forms a coherent ball. Once the dough is formed, divide into two even discs, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour. This allows the dough to rest and butter to chill, again ensuring a flaky crust.
On a floured pastry mat roll one disc of dough to ~1 inch larger than the size of your pie pan. If you do not have a pastry mat, invert the pie plate and use that as a guide.
Quick tip: My favorite way to do this is to roll the dough vertically and after each roll rotate the dough 90 degrees and repeat. This ensures that the pastry be a circle and as even as possible. It also prevents it from sticking to the mat.
When the dough is the appropriate size, transfer it to a pie pan.
Quick tip: I have found that the easiest way to transfer the dough is to fold it in quarters, placing the point in the center of the pie pan and unfolding the rest of the dough up the sides.
Alternatively, you can drape the dough over the rolling pin and transfer it to the pie plate, whichever is easier!
To prepare the pie filling, peel the apples and cut into ¼ inch slices. I prefer to use Granny Smith apples for their tartness and shape, but feel free to use another apple. If using a sweeter apple (Cortland, Macintosh) reduce the sugar slightly.
Cut the rhubarb into ½ inch slices and place those in a medium mixing bowl with the apples.
Now add the sugars, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, salt), cornstarch, and lemon juice.
Quick tip: A note on the cornstarch, I used 1 tablespoon cornstarch and this definitely gives the pie a rather thin syrup. If you prefer a thicker, less runny syrup use 2 tablespoons cornstarch.
Place the pie filling in the prepared crust. Cube the extra 2 tablespoons of butter and place on top of the filling.
Now roll out the other disc of dough for your top crust. Follow the same instructions as above. For the top crust you will need to cut either a thumb nail size hole in the center of the dough or score it with a sharp knife. This acts as a vent and lets the steam out as the pie cooks.
Place on top of the pie and crimp the edges. This can be done with a fork or your fingers. I don’t expect you to get all fancy with a braid, but take it as far as you’d like!
All we have left is the egg wash. Beat the egg and milk in a bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash on the top of the pie and sprinkle with sugar.
Quick tip: If you do not have a pastry brush, you can use the corner of a paper towel. The egg wash sticks to the towel and works just as well!
Both the egg wash and sugar are optional, but the egg wash gives the pie the deep golden brown color while the sugar adds a nice crunch and sparkle on top. This is how the bakeries get the perfect golden brown crust!
Put the pie on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. This ensures that if the filling bubbles out of the pie, it will not make a sticky mess all over your oven.
Place in a preheated 375°F oven for 10 minutes. Then reduce the oven to 350°F and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly on the edges.
Quick tip: If the top crust is getting too dark, loosely place a piece of aluminum foil over the top to prevent further browning.
You can also stick a toothpick through the vent to make sure the apples are cooked. Cool slightly and enjoy warm or at room temperature.
I bet the pie would be even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream 🙂
- 2 and ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter , cold
- 6-8 tablespoons cold water
- 4 Granny Smith apples
- 2 cups sliced rhubarb , 1/2 inch slices
- ½ cup light or dark brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons butter , cubed
- Egg wash:
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons milk or cream
To prepare the crust mix flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. With a pastry blender, cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse sand. At this point, slowly add the cold water one tablespoon a a time until the mixture comes together.
Turn dough out onto a pastry mat. Knead just until a mass of dough has formed. Divide dough into two discs, wrap them in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
While you make the filling preheat the oven to 375°F. For the filling, peel and slice the Granny Smith apples into ¼ inch slices. Place these in a bowl along with the sliced rhubarb, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Set aside.
Take the dough out of the refrigerator. On a floured pastry mat roll one disk into a circle ~1 inch larger than the size of your pie plate. Transfer dough into pie plate. Place apple and rhubarb filing in the pie plate.
Roll the other disc of dough on a floured pastry mat. This circle should be slightly larger than the first. Using a knife, either score the center of the dough or cut a thumbnail size hole. Place the top crust over the filling and crimp the edges so they are sealed.
Place the pie on a lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven for 10 minutes. Then reduce the oven to 350°F and bake for 45-60 minutes or until the crust is brown and the pie is bubbly. At any point during the baking if the crust gets too dark, loosely cover the pie with aluminum foil. Let the pie cool and then slice and serve either warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!
-Be sure to use cold butter and water, this ensures that your crust will be flaky. To keep the water cold, I usually put an ice cube in a bowl with some water.
-If you don’t have a pastry blender you can use a food processor or a fork to cut the butter into the flour mixture.
-I used 1 tablespoon cornstarch which gives the pie a thin syrup. If you prefer pies with a thicker syrup, use 2 tablespoons cornstarch.
-I love to use Granny Smith apples for there tartness and shape. If you prefer to use a sweeter apples, then reduce the sugar slightly.-Pie crust recipe adapted from "How to Cook Everything".