Moving to New York City is a big adjustment—and I’m thrilled to live in such a vibrant and eclectic city. But there is one thing that I will never become accustomed to—a tiny NYC kitchen! My little kitchen consists of a small oven that I had to buy a mini cookie sheet for and it still doesn’t even fit horizontally. I have minimal counter space and most of the time it’s taken up by dishes air-drying because of course I don’t have a dishwasher. I even have started using a french press in the morning because I don’t have space for a regular drip coffee machine. Despite my lack of kitchen space, I adore my little apartment in the big city—and last week I squeezed in and managed to make pie!
It was sort of a celebratory pie for my boyfriend who had just taken a huge exam. With studying and the test finally over with, we met for a beer, got some tacos, and I gave him a much-needed slice of pie. Our favorite type is strawberry and rhubarb. And with spring here, it was perfect timing.
At the Greenmarket, I bought some ripe strawberries and rhubarb. Some people are hesitant about using fresh rhubarb. The leaves are inedible, but if you buy rhubarb stalks, those just need to be washed and diced. I think fresh rhubarb offers a brighter, more tart flavor than frozen.
In my opinion, there are two types of pie-eaters. The person who eats the crust with some filling and the person who eats the filling with some crust. I’m a crust girl and love as many flakey, buttery crumbs as I can get. If you prefer more filing, try doing a lattice top so it doesn’t have as thick of a crust. I also cut down on the sugar because I like the tart flavor, but add more sugar if your sweet tooth insists. As with any recipe, always adjust to your preferences.
So now that I have made one pie in my little kitchen, I know that it is possible—and it begs one question: what else do I have space to make?
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Yield: 1 9-inch pie
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 sticks butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and very cold
1 cup ice-cold water
3 cups rhubarb, ½-inch dice
3 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Assemble and Serve:
For the Crust:
Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add in the cubed, cold butter and using your fingers or a pastry blender, break the butter apart, working it into the flour until the butter is the size of peas. Drizzle in ½ cup of the ice-cold water and gently bring the dough together. Clump together the wet pieces of dough and add in the additional water ¼ cup at a time to the dry pieces of dough until all the dough is moistened. Pour the dough out onto a clean work surface and gently form the dough into a flat, round ball. The dough should look soft and shaggy, not completely glued together. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out.
For the Filling:
In a large bowl, mix together the rhubarb, strawberries, sugars, lemon juice, salt, and cornstarch.
Cut the dough into halves and place one half back in the refrigerator. On a floured surface, roll out the other half of the dough into a 12-inch round. Carefully transfer to a 9-inch pie pan and trim sides to a ½ -inch overhang. Place in the refrigerator. Roll out the second half of dough into an 11- inch round. Place the filling into the dough lined pie pan and egg wash the rim of the crust. Place the top crust over the pie and trim sides to a ½-inch overhang. Tuck rim of dough underneath itself and crimp sides decoratively. Make slits in the top of the pie dough. (If the dough is getting to0 warm and sticky, refrigerate before crimping sides and making slits in the top.) Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes. Lightly brush with egg wash before baking.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F and continue to bake for another 20-30 minutes until the top crust is golden brown with no white spots and the inside juices are bubbling. Let cool before slicing.
Serve pie with a generous dollop of whipped cream.