Tuesday, April 13, 2010


This pie was my dad’s favorite when I was growing up and it quickly became my favorite, too. Rhubarb is coming into season, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some. I combined recipes from the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (filling) and Love, Eric: Delicious Vegan Macrobiotic Desserts (crust). Even though it’s only about 5% vegan friendly the ATK cookbook is a bible to me. Before creating my own vegan masterpiece, I always check the ATK cookbook for tips on cooking a dish. For example, this recipe involves cooking the rhubarb before baking it to cook off some of the juices which firms up the rhubarb, makes the pie less soupy, and reduces the amount of arrowroot or cornstarch by half. I recommend serving this pie with coconut milk whipped cream (see recipe below).


This recipe can be halved for a single pie crust. I use this recipe for all my pies. I suggest putting all of the ingredients in the fridge for 30-60 minutes before you make the pie. Cold ingredients and not over mixing it make for a flakier crust.

2 cups white spelt flour
1 1/2 c unbleached flour (I use all spelt to make it wheat-free and it works just fine)
1/2 tsp sea salt
2/3 c maple sugar (regular sugar can be used, but I’d use a little bit less)
2/3 c safflower oil (or vegetable or canola)
1/2 c cold water (may not need all, may need more)

1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the oil and water and knead quickly to form a dough. Separate into two equally sized balls, cover with a cloth or plastic wrap to prevent drying and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes in the fridge or until needed.

2. After pie filling is created, flour a clean surface or line with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Using a rolling pin, roll one ball of dough into a circle to fit a 9-inch pie pan (dough thickness shouldn’t exceed 1/4 inch). Roll the other ball of dough into a circle of the same size and thickness. Roll the dough around the rolling pin to easily pick it up and transfer it on top of the pie.


2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 lb rhubarb, trimmed and peeled*, and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 cup sugar
1 quart strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 tsp grated orange zest (optional but highly recommended)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbs arrowroot (cornstarch works too)
pinch of salt
*stalks only need peeling if they are larger than celery-sized and very tough

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack and heat the oven to 500 degrees. Heat the oil and a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. Add the rhubarb and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Cook, stirring frequently until the rhubarb has shed most of its liquid but is still firm (resist the urge to cook longer! I cooked it too long and it turned to mush). Spread the cooked rhubarb out over a plate and refrigerate until cool.

2. Meanwhile, roll out the top crust to a 12-in circle. Toss the cooled rhubarb, strawberries, orange zest, and vanilla together. Mix 3/4 cup of the sugar, the arrowroot, and salt together then sprinkle over the fruit and combine. Add up to 4 more tablespoons of sugar if the fruit tastes too tart. Spread the fruit in the unbaked pie crust and pack lightly.

3. Lay the top crust over the fruit, seal and crimp the edges, and cut eight vent holes. Wrap the edges of the pie crust in tinfoil to prevent burning (I didn’t do this, and my crust burned a little).

4. Place the pie on the heated baking sheet and lower the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Bake until the top crust is golden, about 25 min. Rotate the baking sheet, reduce the oven temperature again to 375, and bake until juices are bubbling and the crust is a deep golden brown, 30-35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature before serving.


This recipe only works if the coconut milk is thoroughly chilled (at least several hours if not days) so that the water and fat can separate. I usually buy a few cans at a time and always keep one in the fridge so it’s ready for this very purpose. Also, do not use light coconut milk, only whole fat.

1 can chilled coconut milk
Maple syrup, honey, or powdered sugar (about 1/4 c)
a few drops of vanilla

1. Open coconut milk can and drain the water.
2. Scoop the coconut milk fat into a bowl and beat with a whisk or electric mixer until fluffy.
3. Add desired amount of sweetener and vanilla. Return to fridge until ready to serve.

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