Start with… strawberries + rhubarb

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Rhubarb has been on my list of foods to get to know on a personal level for the past few years. This past weekend I picked some up at the grocery store because I couldn’t get out to the farmer’s market and was afraid it would all be gone quickly. Last night I gave it a test drive.

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I learned two things:
1. Rhubarb is very stringy which is frustrating because you either take off too much which makes the stalk look inedible or too little and you are pulling strings out of your dessert
2. I very much dislike the smell of rhubarb. It reminds me of celery and I very much dislike everything about celery.

20130508-231838.jpgThe recipe I wanted to test drive was the Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie from the cookbook Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe I picked up during our Nashville trip (that you can read about here, here, and here). I originally thought about doing hand pies instead of a whole pie but then I found some premade oatmeal pie crust sitting in our pantry and decided to use that. The best thing about fruit fillings is that they can be made to fit many applications.

The filling was pretty basic other than calling for OJ, which I was excited that I had an orange lying around from last weekend. However, I apparently had a lot less strawberries and rhubarb than I accounted for and used more OJ that I should have. Also, I used Stevia in the Raw vs. white sugar and that was probably a big mistake. The fruit was very tart and not very sugary. I don’t think it extracted the juice from the strawberries like it should have. I’ve never used the Stevia in the Raw but I’ll save that for a cake or something next time.

For the topping, I didn’t think about how long it takes to bake a pie versus how long it takes to bake a cobbler with actual cobbler topping, which is about half the time as pie crust. After 20 or so minutes, I took it out and declared it an epic fail. Then, like he normally does when I react this way, JZ went into the kitchen and put it back in the oven for another 20 or so minutes. This is how it looked after he did.

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I will admit that it’s A LOT better the second time around. I always try to test the limits of whatever I’m baking. I shouldn’t. I’m glad I attempted working with rhubarb but I think I’ll just keep it simple and buy more strawberries next time instead… and stick to the recipe.

My apologies for bad pictures. Our kitchen has awful lighting…

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