LUCY BURDETTE: Finally, spring in Connecticut: Last week it popped with glorious flowering bushes, trees, and flowers. Here is one of my favorites--a white lilac. Every time I pass the bush, I bury my nose in the flowers and inhale their glorious scent.
Spring also brings our rhubarb plant, which is going great guns, even if the rest of the garden is still shivering. And all that rhubarb screams for a pie.
One crust (you can purchase, but my father's recipe is awfully easy, and very good)
2 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk (I used 1%)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used organic canola)
Sift the flour with the salt. Measure the milk and oil, pour it into the flour, mix. Now comes the only tricky part. Divide the dough into two parts, about 2/3 of it for the crust, the remainder to use for some mini-project. Place the dough between two sheets of waxed paper and roll it to the correct size. Carefully peel off the top sheet of waxed paper, flip the crust into a pie pan, carefully remove the other sheet of waxed paper. Since you are filling the crust with something delicious anyway, it's perfectly acceptable to patch as needed and then crimp the edges. Refrigerate the crust while you make the filling. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
3 cups of rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups of strawberries, halved
1 and 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
pinch of salt
Gently combine all of the above ingredients. Let them rest while you mix up the topping.
For the Crumb Topping
2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 oz (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
In the food processor, pulse the flour and oats together. Add the other ingredients and pulse until the biggest pieces of the mixture are the size of peas.
Assemble and bake the pie:
Add the fruit mixture to the pie crust and top with the crumb mixture. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes, then reduce the temperature and bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes. I laid a sheet of foil over the top for the first 30 minutes so the crust wouldn't brown too fast.
Juices should be bubbling through the topping.
Let this cool to room temperature and serve with vanilla ice cream!
MURDER WITH GANACHE, the fourth Key West mystery, is in stores now. DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS is coming in December....
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