Strawberry Rhubarb for Mother's Day

Posted on: Thursday, May 7, 2015

When I think of spring I think of the intriguing rhubarb plant. Growing up in Manchester by the Sea, the little plant would pleasantly emerge each May in front of our house. While Kara and I ran around our yard with our eight-year old imaginations running free, I remember our yiayia pruning flower buds and trimming the bitter stocks from the rhubarb plant. Soon after, she’d call us inside for an afternoon sweet treat. As we walked into the aromatic kitchen, we’d marvel over a tiny cauldron of tart rhubarb and sweet strawberries bubbling away on the stove. Yi would spoon the rosy compote over big scoops of vanilla ice cream for us to enjoy on the porch.
After enjoying Kara’s epic Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Pie last weekend, I was inspired to make my own pie with Yi’s rhubarb compote in mind (and Mother’s Day around the corner!). For the base, I created a custard similar to key lime pie but a bit lighter with Greek yogurt. I also incorporated the addition of orange - a favorite flavor of our mom’s. For the topping, I combined rhubarb, strawberries, and a bit of sugar. With a sprinkling of salty pistachios to finish before serving, this pie was the ultimate combination of creamy, tangy, sweet and pretty.
Strawberry Rhubarb Cream Pie

Crust
1/2 c shelled pistachios, toasted and ground (I pulverized them in a plastic bag, or you could do this in a food processor), plus more for garnish
1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c granulated sugar
pinch of salt
5 T unsalted butter, melted

Filling
3 large egg yolks
1/2 c plain Greek yogurt
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1/4 c fresh orange juice
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
1/2 t vanilla extract



Compote
3 stalks rhubarb, chopped in 1/2-inch pieces
2 T water
1/4 c granulated sugar (use more if you would like it sweeter)
1 lb strawberries, hulled, quartered and sliced
1 T lemon juice
1 t vanilla extract
pinch of salt

For the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, combine the pistachios, graham cracker crumbs, sugar and salt. Stir in the melted butter and mix well. Press into the bottom and sides of a greased 8-inch springform pan (or 9-inch pie pan). Bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Let cool.

For the filling: With an electric mixer, whisk the egg yolks, Greek yogurt, sweetened condensed milk, orange juice, lemon zest and vanilla together in a large bowl until incorporated. Pour into the prepared pie crust and bake for 20-22 minutes until set. Remove from oven and cool for 30 minutes. Place in the refrigerator and cool for at least 1 hour.

For the compote: While the pie is cooking, in a medium saucepan, add the rhubarb, water, and sugar and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the strawberries, lemon juice, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Reduce heat to medium low and let simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally until the rhubarb breaks down slightly and the sauce thickens, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat, pour into a bowl and cool in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Pour the compote evenly atop the surface of the pie filling. Sprinkle pistachio seeds on top. Return to the refrigerator and let cool for 20 more minutes. Slice and serve. Serves 8-10.

With Mother’s Day around the corner, I encourage you to try this delightful blend of rhubarb, strawberries and citrus.

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