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You know how sometimes you are strolling through the produce isle of the grocery store and you come across some strange, exotic-looking fruit or veggie and think, “What in the world is that and what do you do with it?”

It was probably rhubarb.

rhubarbstrawberries

I can’t count the number of people who have strolled through my kitchen as I was preparing this scrumptious strawberry~rhubarb crumble pie and asked what the ‘red celery stuff’ was.  It looks so pretty, all shimmery and red, and everyone wants to try it.  I try to warn them that its kinda tart but they never listen.  So, I watch, amused, as they pop a piece in their mouth, chew and pucker.

My own love affair with rhubarb began when I was three.  The lady who lived across the street from us grew rhubarb in her garden and every spring, she’d pick that first batch of deep red rhubarb and bring a basket full to our front door.  I’d snatch a stalk or two and sit on the front porch gnawing on it until my lips were sore and my belly ached, then I’d wait impatiently while my mom cut the rest up to throw in a pie.  Even now, all these decades later, that is still one of my favorite childhood memories and the smell of a rhubarb pie can still take me back to those happy, carefree days.

So, after my trip to Soulard, I decided to share my own version of mom’s rhubarb pie with all of you.

Now, let’s not kid ourselves.  This desert isn’t about nutrition and healthy living.  Not completely.  Although, strawberries and rhubarb both carry their own healing properties and are very good for you.  To make myself feel a little better about devouring the whole pie on my own, I usually substitute regular sugar with turbinado sugar.  I tell myself that, since turbinado has less calories, its not so bad…

So, here’s how you do it.

Ingredients:

2 pie crusts

2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
4 cups rhubarb, sliced
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour

For Crumb topping
1 cup flour

8 Tbsp butter, melted

1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 c. rolled oats
3/4 c. chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 425.

Mix sugar, flour, strawberries and rhubarb.  Stir gently until the fruit is completely coated.  Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes so the fruit releases their juice.  Pour into uncooked pie crust.

straw rhub pie rawMix all ingredients for crumb topping until crumbly.

Here’s where you can really get creative.  Or not.  For those less creatively inclined, you can simply cover the pie with the crumb topping and pop it in the oven.

Or, you can use the second pie crust to add hearts, flowers, lattice or any other design you choose.  I do both. I don’t own any cookie cutters, so I cut all the shapes by hand and stick them together using melted butter.  Then, I brush some more butter over the top and sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar.

When the pie is ready to go in the oven, cook it at 425 for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375 and bake another 35-40 minutes until the crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling.

That’s it.  Here’s my latest creation

straw rhub pieMy kids and husband nearly came to blows over who got the pieces with the hearts on them.  It’s heartbreaking to see the lengths they’ll go to for that perfect piece of pie…

Sometimes, I’ll get really crazy and throw in a few raspberries or blackberries, and once, I even threw in a couple peaches that needed to be used before they went bad.  Talk about delicious additions!  This recipe is super forgiving so go ahead and experiment.  I’d love to hear how yours turns out!

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