summer, summer, summer: in the freezer ::::
This pie is for the first days of fall that masquerade as summer. That pretense is especially apparent in the incipient fall, when the leaves are still green and the sun still hot, when it feels one must be playing in the sprinklers and sipping icy lemonade when we attempt to focus on school work and pay attention in class. Nostalgia of the passing season sets in.
Peach started her second grade year last month, jumping in easily and excitedly as every one of her first school days have been in previous school years. Grub is now a pre-kindergartner, winning a lottery spot at the same school Peach attends. The first day, my cheerful, outgoing boy became shy and snuggly. He clung to me like a baby and put on a brave face when he knew I must leave. I went home and frenetically cooked: brownies, apple crisp, spaghetti sauce. I prepared a ginger bug for homemade soda (perhaps a blog post in the future). I prepared another batch of kombucha (that post upcoming). I touched base with my future employer and confirmed the timeline once again. My nervous energy runneth over.
The second day was much like that of Peach’s first day experience: Grub bounding off to hang up his backpack and talk to friends about his soccer shirt. On the third day of school, they both convinced me to just drop them off through the carpool lane. Their independence at School Day 3 should’ve not surprised me, but I was still not ready. I dropped them off in the carpool lane and drove away in silence, wondering when two of my babies grew so tall and ready for the world…of public school. I did not have the same cooking frenzy I did on their first day, but I immediately went home, went running, and cooked simple syrups, prepared a piecrust, and made fried rice. And took an uncharacteristic nap.
It was a long, luscious nap, the kind your body forces you into when you don’t realize how tired you are. It was an accidental brief hibernation, to celebrate the end of summer and when the house seemed more cool from the chaos of children.
While I did make this pie early in the summer, I made it again after the repeat request echoing from Peach and Grub. The rhubarb is plentiful and easy to find frozen, as are the blueberries. Pie is always in season in our house, especially when topped with vanilla ice cream. The ambient temperature, whether the hot lick of humidity or the crispy frost on the windows, never deters my kids.
Make this pie for any month. If there is abundant rhubarb and leftover berries from the summer bounty, freeze them and surprise your household with pie in the cool autumn, nostalgia at your feet.
One year ago: accordion potatoes (I’m proud to say that one can write about social justice AND potatoes in the same post.)
- Pie crust recipe: I like my all-butter crust recipe used in my apple-currant pie with a flower cutout crust. Whatever you use, make sure you make a generous single crust recipe. I err on the side of more and make a double-crust pie crust recipe to have leftovers.
- 6 cups rhubarb (about 2 pounds = 908 grams), cut into 1-inch pieces*
- 2 cups blueberries
- 2 cups sugar, or a bit less spending on how sweet the blueberries are, plus more for sprinkling on lattice
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons butter, diced
- 1 egg, beaten with a bit of water
- CRUST: Make the pie crust if you haven't already. Roll out and line a 9-inch pan with about half of the dough (depending on the recipe you are using). Brush with egg wash and chill in fridge. Don't trim the dough skirt yet: the extra dough will help with crimping. Roll remaining dough into a round that is just larger in diameter than the pie plate. Chill while you work on the next step.
- MACERATE: Admire the rhubarb. Delight in the blueberries. Mix them both in a large mixing bowl with the sugar, cornstarch, and spices. Allow to sit 15 minutes to macerate.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Remove the egg-washed pie dough and the other round from the fridge to a floured workspace. Use a ruler to mark 2 cm nicks along the flat round of dough, then use a knife or pizza wheel to cut strips. You need 10 to 12. I used 10 here.
- ASSEMBLING THE LATTICE TOP: Pour the macerated filling into the pie plate, reserving most of the extra juice (we'll get to this later). Dot with butter cubes.
- Arrange 5 (or 6) strips across the pie. Lift up Strips 1, 3, and 5 about halfway up the pie. Lay a new strip perpendicular to the others, bisecting the pie. Lay Strips 1, 3, and 5 back to original positions. Now lift up Strips 2 and 4 (and 6, if using) similarly, and lay down another strip perpendicularly. Lay lifted strips back down. Get it? Keep that pattern going to finish the pie.
- Trim strips and crimp overhanging pie dough on edges to finish. Paint with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, place on a pan to catch juices while baking, and bake at 450 degrees F for 30 minutes on bottom rack. Turn heat to 350 degrees F, tent with foil, then bake for another hour or until fruit is soft and the juices are clear and bubbling. Allow to cool for a few hours to help keep pie from being too juicy and falling apart. Serve with custard-based vanilla ice cream.
- Pie keeps well covered at room temperature for a day or two, then in the fridge for about five.
- You know that leftover maceration juice we saved? Cook over medium heat in a small saucepan to dissolve sugar and thicken. Cool and serve over ice cream. Or dip my lovely black sesame peanut butter macarons in it. SO GOOD. That blog post coming up soon!