TIP: If you want a cleaner slice, you'll want to add another tablespoon or two of cornstarch to the strawberry filling.
a pizza stone or baking steel (optional)
a pizza stone or baking steel (optional)
3 cups (390 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and well chilled
1/2 cup (85 grams) lard or vegetable shortening, chilled
1/2 cup ice water (more or less may be needed)
1 tablespoon vodka
Strawberry-Rhubarb Filling and Pie
8 cups (907 grams) strawberries, fresh or frozen (cut in half if fresh and left whole if frozen)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups (340 grams) fresh or frozen rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup (200 grams) sugar, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup (30 grams) cornstarch (see Cook’s Note)
Egg wash (1 large egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water), for brushing over the top.
To make the pie dough: Have all of your ingredients ready and chilled. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and sugar.
Add the butter. Use a pastry cutter or your hands to work the butter into the flour, until it looks like cornmeal and starts to stick together when squeezed. You want to keep some of the butter in pea-sized pieces. If the butter is too soft to stay in pieces, place the bowl in the freezer for about 15 minutes and then try again.
Now add your lard or shortening. “Cut” it in until all the fat is the size of large peas. You still have to add the water so don’t overwork the butter or you’ll lose your flakes.
Mix together the water and vodka and add to the flour/butter mixture. Stir this with your hand or a wooden spoon, but be very gentle. The goal is to keep the pea-sized chunks of butter intact.
When most of the flour is coming together, gently knead the dough into a ball. It should not be perfectly smooth, but it should also not seem dry or crumbly.
Divide the dough into two pieces and create round disks. Wrap each dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
To make the strawberry-rhubarb filling: In a medium saucepan, cook the strawberries with the vanilla over gentle heat (use a fork to break up the fruit if using fresh strawberries) until they start to break down slightly. Cook until the strawberries are tender and have released their juices.
Then add the rhubarb, sugar, and cornstarch to the strawberries. Cook over medium-low heat until the mixture starts to thicken and turn translucent. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before filling the pie shell.
To roll out the pie crust and bake the pie: When you are ready to prepare the pie, roll one of the disks out on a well floured surface. If the dough seems hard, let it sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes. This will prevent the edges from cracking too much. You still want the dough to be chilled, so the butter doesn't get too soft.
As you are rolling, you can round out the edges with your hands. Cracking edges are part of the beast, but this will help to keep them smoother.
Once you have it rolled out to about 1/8-inch thick round, measure the dough to make sure it will fit the 12-inch pie plate. There should be about 2 inches of extra dough beyond the bottom of the plate.
Fold the dough over the rolling pin to lift it. Lift it over the plate and gently fit the crust into the plate. Do NOT trim the edges yet. Set the crust in the refrigerator while you prepare the lattice.
Roll the next disk of dough out just as you did the first one, but this time you need to build it on a sheet of parchment paper. Now you will use a pastry wheel to cut strips in the dough. When you are finished cutting the strips, remove every other one and set aside.
Fold up every other one of the remaining strips to the middle point. Lay one of the pieces that you had set aside over the strips that are laying flat. Unfold the strips and repeat with the next set. Continue until you get to the end of this side and then start this on the other side.
Once the lattice is prepared, slide the parchment onto a cutting board or baking sheet so that you can easily transfer to the freezer, and freeze for about 10 minutes. Once the lattice is chilled it will slide easily onto the pie shell filled with fruit. Then you will need to trim the excess length off of the lattice strips. Fold up the sides of the pie shell and then crimp them in whatever design you choose. Freeze the pie for about 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. It is best, but not a must, if you preheat a pizza stone or baking steel in the oven, to make sure you get a nice bottom crust.
Brush the pie with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Set the pie on a baking sheet (in case the juices bubble over) and then set it directly on the preheated baking stone/steel if using. Bake for 30 minutes and then drop the temperature to 375°F. Continue to bake until the fruit juices are bubbling throughout the pie and it has puffed slightly in the middle. This can take up to 1 hour, depending on how long you froze the pie. If the edge of the crust is browning too quickly, tent with foil.
Allow the pie to cool completely before cutting or it may be too loose to cut. This pie will still have some juice to it and not set up solid, because I don't like a gloopy filling. (See Cook’s Note.)