Summer in New England brings beautiful things like strawberries, cherries, raspberries, and rhubarb to market. For me, that translates into summer pies.
Whether it’s bright and beautiful berries or lip-puckering rhubarb that’s spotted at the grocery store or farmers’ market, I’m instantly in the mood to take out my pie plate, flour, and baking tools and start making some beautiful summer pies, and you should, too.
Here is where I’ll take you through some pie baking basics. I’ll take you through each step of making a pie — from choosing the right pie plate to rolling, crimping, and creating a nice, shiny top crust. Whether it’s in the dead of summer and you’re making a blueberry pie, or it’s a cold fall day and you’re putting freshly picked apples to use, these pie tricks are ones that you’ll keep in your back pocket for the rest of your culinary career.
And just because you’ll probably start craving a pie, I’m sharing my special rhubarb pie recipe with you. Rhubarb is a terrific filling for your summer pies. You can find it in the supermarket, but it’s not uncommon to see it growing in a neighbor’s backyard up where I live. Check your farmers' markets, too, because they’ll offer the most organic options available to you.
Don’t be put off by the fact that rhubarb is a vegetable or by the fact that a large amount of sugar is needed in the recipe. It’s super tart on its own and needs the sweetener to create balance. If you enjoy desserts that straddle that puckery line between sweet and tart, then this pie is for you. Many rhubarb pie recipes include strawberries as well. The berries, which are fresh at the market at the same time, do combine well with rhubarb, but I wanted to highlight this fabulous vegetable for you all on its own. Some stalks are pale pinkish-red tinged with green while others are deep red. Either will work but the deep red ones will give your pie a nicer hue.