Since this time at home began about two months ago I know that I am not nearly the only one who has tried their hand at being a master baker. We all saw the moment of rampant toilet paper buying, but for a split second there it seemed like we were all stockpiling baking ingredients instead. I guess our priorities as a society have become pretty clear these days. Admittedly, I have not been brave enough yet to try my own sourdough. However, I know that cabin fever will bring me there soon. For now, I am proud enough to say that I made my very first crostata pie completely from scratch and that it is almost comparable to my mother’s. I am so excited to share this recipe with you all!

As I must have taken from my father, I think that strawberry and rhubarb is one of the best flavor duos ever. They play off each other like a match made in heaven. Rhubarb is an interesting stalk that’s often found growing in the first warm months of spring. The bright pink stem is normally what is used for its uniquely sour and bitter taste profile. They are most known to be cooked with flavors that contrast and enhance their own, usually sugar or berries. A simple google search will show that strawberry rhubarb is the most popular combination, for a very good reason.

I love this recipe because not only is it perfectly tart and sweet, but because it presents so beautifully that it is sure to impress anyone who finds out you made it from scratch. Adding apples to the famous mix of strawberry and rhubarb provide a wonderful offset to the sour rhubarb while also adding texture and natural pectin to thicken the jam. The crust for this pie comes out to smell, taste, and feel almost like a light sugar cookie dough, and then layered with this freshly made triple fruit jam. You will probably have leftover jam from this recipe, and I suggest putting that into a sealable jar and saving it in your fridge for toast! It will be good in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. I highly recommend trying this out if you’re new to baking or want to have a kitchen activity with the family.

Ingredients for the jam:

  1. 2 stalks of rhubarb (leaves removed, chopped into 1-inch slices)
  2. 2 cups of strawberries (stems removed, chopped)
  3. 2 apples (peeled, cored and chopped)
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 1 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  6. a small dash of coarse salt
  7. 1/4 cup of lemon juice (or juice from two lemons)

Ingredients for the crust:

  1. 1 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1 egg + 1 egg yolk (gently beaten)
  5. 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp butter (room temp and chopped into small bits) 

Directions:

  1. Place your chopped fruit in a medium-sized pot on medium heat. Add your lemon juice, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Mix these all together and bring to a boil while stirring every few minutes.
  2. Once boiling, place a lid on so that it is covering about half your pot. You want some air to be able to escape still. Let this cook on a steady boil on medium-low heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Turn the stove off and allow it to come to room temp, it will thicken as it cools.
  3. During the time while the jam is cooking, begin making your dough. In a large bowl, combine all the dry dough ingredients. Create a hole in the center and pour in your eggs and butter. With your hands, work these together until you achieve a moist and dense dough.
  4. Transfer your dough to a lightly floured surface and continue to gently knead with your hands until you achieve a thoroughly smooth but soft dough ball. Wrap in plastic and let this dough sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  5. After 30 minutes in the fridge, unwrap your dough onto a lightly floured surface and work gently with your hands to loosen. Roll out your dough to be about 1/8 of an inch thick. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a pie dish about 10 inches wide, place the pie crust down flat and press into the sides. Cut off the excess edges and put aside to make the lattice top.
  6. Spoon about 3/4-1 cup of the jam onto the crust in an even, spread out layer. Putting more may cause the pie to become soggy. With the excess dough, roll it out again to be 1/8 inch thick. Cut long strips that are an inch wide and place them going vertically across the pie and then another layer of the stripes going horizontally to create a criss-cross pattern.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the crust has just begun to brown. Allow cooling for 15 minutes before serving.

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