Friday, June 7, 2013

"Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie" And A "Strawberry-Coconut Daiquiri Cocktail"

When I visit the farmers market, the first place I look is where the fresh fruits and vegetables are located. I love to see so many beautiful varieties, especially when they are radiant with the sunlight over them for the world to see. As I am picking some berries to come home with me for a luscious pie, I am reminded of summer time. Picnics, BBQ‘s, the beach, or just a lazy warm afternoon at home in the back yard enjoying the summer weather. There is nothing like smelling the aromas of a sweet fruit pie cooling on the kitchen counter. Pies are one of my favorite desserts. I adore all kinds of pies savory or sweet. I think that everyone loves pies especially my family, they enjoy fruit pies the most. One of their favorites that I bake is a Strawberry-Rhubarb pie. It is a perfect time to share this pie recipe with you because June 9th is “National Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Day“. 

Strawberry-Rhubarb pie is a type of tart/sweet pie made with a strawberry and rhubarb filling containing tapioca which helps to make the filling thicker and not soupy. It is mostly prepared with a bottom crust and a top crust but sometimes a bottom with a crumb topping. Rhubarb is a vegetable that originated from Western China, Tibet, Mongolia, and Siberia. The rhubarb plant has deep roots, stemming as far back as “2700” BC in China where it was cultivated for medicinal purposes.  Records show rhubarb was planted in 1608 in Italy and by 1778 it was planted throughout Europe. Ben Franklin is credited with bringing rhubarb seeds to America. The only edible parts of the rhubarb plant are the stalk. The leaves and roots are poisonous as they contain oxalic acid. Rhubarb used in a pie is rinsed, trimmed, and can also be peeled. When looking for rhubarb find only the thin, crisp, bright stalks. The brighter the pink is the sweeter it is. To prepare the plant trim off the ends and rinse well. Peel the rhubarb if desired. Cook in a non-aluminum pan. Rhubarb is usually available for only a few months out of the year.

I would love to share two recipes this week with you; one is a “Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie”. With the tartness of the rhubarb and the sweetness of the ripe strawberry, a pairing made in heaven! This is the time of the year when the strawberries are the sweetest and the most plentiful. So as you are eating a slice of this delicious pie, you need a cocktail to make you feel that this summer, you are on a tropical island getaway relaxing with a refreshing “Strawberry-Coconut Daiquiri”. Enjoy, and as they say in Italian, Mangia!!

"Strawberry Rhubarb Pie" 

1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
1 teaspoon orange zest
3 cups diced rhubarb
4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1-1/2 cups white sugar
6 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon white sugar for decoration

Crumb Topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour (optional)
1 cup white sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/2 cup butter (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a pie pan with bottom crust. Mix together rhubarb, strawberries, orange zest, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and tapioca. Spoon into crust. Roll out second crust, and place over the filling. Seal the edges. Brush with milk, and sprinkle extra sugar on top. Bake at 400° F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° F, and bake for an additional 45 minutes.

For a crumb topping, omit top pie crust. Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, and salt. Cut in butter or margarine until mixture is crumbly. Spoon over filling, and bake as directed above.


"Strawberry-Coconut Daiquiri Cocktail"

To keep it cool in warmer weather, freeze fresh berries for 30 minutes before blending. Variation: for a non-alcoholic version, omit the Rum and add 1/2 cup additional strawberries.

Yield: 6 servings about 3/4 cup each
Total Time: 10 minutes

2 1/2 cups (about 12 ounces) chopped fresh or frozen (not thawed) strawberries
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 cups of ice cubes
3/4 cups coconut-flavored Rum, such as Malibu

Combine strawberries, sugar, and lime juice together in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add ice cubes and Rum, now blend until frothy. Transfer mixture to a pitcher and serve. Add strawberry to top of glass for presentation. Enjoy! 

Please drink responsibly!

Till Next Time………………………………

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