This recipe is inspired by Sarabeth Levine’s divine cookbook From My Hands To Yours – a fantastic tome of easy to follow classic recipes that she sells in her restaurants. I first made this recipe years ago using blueberries instead of her recommended peach filling, and it was incredible. (That was back before I had any formal training so this recipe is totally beginner friendly.) I’ve wanted to try it with strawberry and rhubarb for a while now, and finally got around to putting them together last weekend. I think any fruit filling would be fantastic- strawberry rhubarb is a perennial fave, of course, for it’s sublime ruby colour and summer-memory-conjuring powers…(for me these flavours just scream post-beach day barbecue!). What’s special about this recipe (which, yes, you could make into one 9 inch pie) is that people love being presented with a personal-sized dessert. “Relax,” it says, “You don’t have to share”.
How I love watching pies in the oven, their sticky juices bubbling up in thick slow motion. Don’t even think of taking a pie out of the oven before you see it bubbling like that. Most people presume that the crust will dry out, but not to worry, darling – the juices from the filling won’t let that happen to you.
Use whatever pie crust recipe makes you happy. I use this one, it’s my Mom’s and the one I grew up on. Yes, I know, it has shortening in it. Tsk Tsk my former Chef instructors would say. But to me the taste is perfection and it yields a super flaky crust that isn’t too rich, as all-butter crusts can be. It’s also super un-fussy, easy to roll out, and doesn’t require as long of a chill. Which means you can have pie sooner.
Just a couple of notes about this recipe – You will have a good amount of juice left behind in the bowl from the berries. Strawberries and rhubarb notoriously give off a lot of liquid, so allowing them to release some of it before you assemble the pies keeps the crust from getting soggy.
Don’t be scared of removing them from the ramekins. You will lose a bit of crumble when you tip them over, but just gather it up and scatter it back on top.
I was upset not to have any French vanilla ice cream on hand the day I made these – hopefully you won’t make the same mistake as me.
An individual serving of Summer.
- Softened Butter, about 2 Tbsp
- 2 Cups Sliced Strawberries
- 2 Cups Sliced Rhubarb
- 3/4 Cups Sugar
- 1 Tbsp + 1.5 Tsp Arrowroot Starch
- 1 Tsp Orange Zest
- Pinch Salt
- 1 Tsp Vanilla
- 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 3/4 Tsp Salt
- 1 Cup Shortening
- Ice Water, as needed
- 1/3 Cup + 1 Tbsp Flour
- 1 Tbsp Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1/8 Tsp Cinnamon
- 2 1/2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted
- 1/8 Tsp Vanilla
- Pinch of Salt
- Preheat your oven to 350, and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Combine the strawberry and rhubarb pieces in a large bowl. Mix the sugar with the starch, salt, and orange zest. Toss with the berry mixture along with the vanilla. Set aside to allow the juices to release somewhat.
- Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the shortening and cut into the flour until the size of peas using a pastry blender or two knives. Add ice water, about 3 Tbsp to start, and use a fork to scrape the dough around the bowl. Add more water a tablespoon at a time to dry areas until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a ball, then divide in two. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until needed.
- Add the dry ingredients to a small bowl, then drizzle with the melted butter and vanilla. Stir with a fork to combine until the mixture is completely incorporated and has a crumbly texture.
- Brush the insides of 8 small ramekins generously with softened butter.
- Using one ball of dough at a time (for four mini pies each) roll out into a large square about 1/8" thick. Note it doesn't need to be a perfect square as the edges will be trimmed. Cut into 4 equal pieces and place one inside each ramekin, guiding the dough into the bottom edges of the ramekins and letting it hang over the sides in a ruffle. Trim the overhang of dough to about 1". Refrigerate and repeat with second ball of dough and last four ramekins.
- Place 8 dough-filled ramekins on your parchment lined baking sheet. Using a 1/4 Cup measuring cup, scoop out your strawberry rhubarb filling (give it a squeeze to leave any juice behind - trust me the filling is juicy enough and this keeps the crust from being soggy) into each ramekin - it should mound just slightly over the top of the dish. Fold the ruffle in toward the center - the filling will be exposed. Divide the crumb topping between each pie.
- Bake at 350 until the tops are golden and the fruit is bubbling. To check for doneness, insert a knife down the side of the pie and gently separate it from the ramekin, taking care not to pierce the crust - which will be golden brown when it's fully cooked, about 60 minutes.
- Let the pies cool on a rack for about 20 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and tip the entire pie into your rounded palm. Give the bottom a good whack and the pie will come loose into your hand. Turn it over onto the rack to finish cooling. If this sounds intimidating, rest assured the pies taste just as delicious eaten straight out of their individual dishes. If you want to attempt removing them, it's best done before they cool too much. Enjoy!!