Days 13 and 14 happened.
Day 13 was kind of half-assed, I will admit, though it was a proud day. The July/August issue of Jack and Jill (I’m the editor for that magazine, by the way) came out. Jen, the lovely art director, and I put a lot of time into each issue. We had the opportunity to be especially creative with this one (a new format for the front and back cover, a photo shoot with real kid models…), and so Day 13 felt like a lovely culmination of creativity.
Day 14 was a little too personal for me to post here just yet. I wrote down some memories of Oma for mom to read at the funeral on Saturday since I’m not there. Did you know plane tickets to Holland cost quite a bit if you want to buy them mere days before actually leaving?
Day 15 involved pie. Pie, glorious summer fruit flaky crust pie. Sweet, tart, and spice-laced rhubarb pie. I know, rhubarb kind of should go with strawberries, right? Now, I don’t have a lot of experience with rhubarb. It’s not a favorite fruit of mine. I baked it into coffee cake once last summer. Since it’s a kind of unpopular fruit (compared to berries and peaches for example) I wanted to showcase it all by itself. Plus, it’s supposedly got this ridiculously tart flavor, which I thought would be fun to try to compliment with spices.
I found a recipe for the filling in what I think may become my trusty Essential New York Times cookbook and adapted it just a bit. I made my lard and butter pie crust. I baked it in my favorite purple polka-dotted pie dish. I tucked my pie bird in the center. He let’s out steam.
Filling adapted from The Essential New York Times Cookbook
5 cups sliced rhubarb (1 1/2 to 2 pounds, about 4 stalks)
1 1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons instant tapioca or cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
splash of milk
sugar for sprinkling
1. Make your pie crust of choice. While it’s chilling in the refrigerator, make the filling.
2. Gently mix the rhubarb, sugar, tapioca or cornstarch, and spices together in a bowl. Preheat the oven to 425°.
3. Take pie dough out of the fridge. Separate it into two balls, one slightly larger than the other. Roll the larger ball out on a lightly-floured countertop. Roll a few times, pick up the dough, and flip it. This helps to prevent sticking.
4. Place the dough into a pie dish. You should have dough hanging over the edge. This is important! In a small bowl, beat together the egg and a splash of milk. Using a pastry brush or spoon, spread the egg over the bottom dough in the pie dish. This well hep to prevent sogginess.
5. If you have a fancy pie bird, set him in the center of the dish. Pour into the crust-lined pan and spread out evenly.
6. Roll out the second ball of dough. Carefully set it on top of the fruit. (Let your little pie bird puncture a hole in it as you set it on.)
7. Fold the extra, overhanging dough from the bottom crust over the edge of the top crust. This will form a seal all the way around the pie. Brush the top of the pie with egg, smoothing down and sealing the seam created by folding over the bottom crust. If you want to get fancy, you can pinch all around the edge of the pie with your finger and thumb or press a fork into it to make pretty edges.
8. If you don’t have a pie bird, cut three or four slits into the top of the pie to let steam escape. Sprinkle the top with sugar.
9. Put the pie dish on a cookie tray (to catch any filling spillage) and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350° and bake for 30 to 45 more minutes. You’ll know the pie is done when you can see juices starting to bubble up through the slits you made in the crust. Remember, if the crust starts to look brown before the pie is finished, just cover it with foil. This will prevent burning, but will allow the thickening agent (tapioca or cornstarch here) to activate fully and the filling to finish cooking.
10. Cool completely! A cooled pie is a not runny pie.