Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rhubarb & Cranberry Whole Wheat Pie

Spring is the season for Rhubarb and strawberry. Similar to celery in shape, Rhubarb is not associated to the green Celery though but considered a vegetable generally but called and referred to as a fruit in America. Its leaves are removed as they are toxic and the  stalks are packaged and sold. This is my first time baking with Rhubarb and I didn't know what to expect except for the fact that it is very tart in taste and more sugar is needed to balance out the tartness for the filling of this pie. I still have a pack of frozen cranberries and thought it would be lovely to bake an all Red pie, both fruits equally tart in taste and served warm with a dollop of whipped cream on the side.

For a different take on the pie crust, I used whole wheat flour and a combination of butter and vegetable shortening to yield a more short and light pie. Using whole wheat flour requires more water to be added to the flour and butter mixture and if you are using the usual All Purpose flour, reduce the water by half. The dough is more tender with the use of vegetable shortening and may be difficult to lift up from the rolling surface onto the pie plate. Any breakage during this process can be easily patched up randomly with loose dough. Unlike tart which needs to look conformed and professionally done on the tart pan, pie is the opposite, where the more rustic and homemade it is, the better it looks! I prefer to use light brown sugar for this pie for the richer flavor and as I wasn't sure how much juice did the Rhubarb yields for the pie after the baking, using brown sugar gives more moisture to the filling. As both Cranberry and Rhubarb are tart, I had to use 1 cup of packed light brown sugar to get the right amount of sweetness for this pie. 


Recipe

Pie crust
475g Whole Wheat Flour
140g Cold Butter
140g Cold vegetable Shortening
1 tbsp Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
5 to 7 tbsp Cold water

Filling
375g Rhubarb, outer tough skin peeled and cut into small pieces
200g Cranberries
200g packed Light Brown sugar
2 tbsp All Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
15g cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 tbsp Light Brown sugar

Method
Pie crust
1. Stir the whole wheat flour together with the sugar and salt. Move the content to the food processor.
2. Cut the butter and vegetable shortening into smaller pieces and drop in randomly into the flour.
3. Process with the pulse mode to mix in the butter & vegetable shortening. Do not over mix.
4. Starting with 4 tbsp of the cold water, add into the butter and flour mixture and pulse to mix till the content comes together to a soft dough. If still dry, continue to add 1 tbsp of water till enough. The dough is ready when you can clump it together into a disk. Place in a plastic bag and let it rest in the fridge for 1 hour.

Filling
1. Stir the Rhubarb and cranberries together.
2. Stir in the Brown sugar to mix thoroughly, but do not crush the cranberries.
3. Stir in the cinnamon and all purpose flour.

To Assemble
1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Remove the dough and roll out enough to line a 9 or 10 inch pie pan. Save some for decoration. Alternatively, an 8 inch double crust pie can be made out of this recipe. Line the pie pan.
2. Spoon in the fruit filling and spread out to fill the pie dough. Cut out any extra dough with your cookie cutter. Drop the butter pieces randomly all over the pie filling. Arrange the dough cut outs to decorate your pie. Sprinkle the extra brown sugar all over the filling. Place the pie pan onto another large baking sheet, to catch any filling if baked and bubble over.
3. Bake for 15 mins. Then, reduce the oven temperature to 375F and continue to bake for another 55 to 60 mins.
4. Remove the pie and let it cool for 15 mins before serving. Best served warm.

Serves : 6 to 8 person


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