Rhubarb, Strawberry, Balsamic & Thyme Pie

Serves: 8

This is an edited extract from The Pie Project by Phoebe Woods & Kirsten Jenkins, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $29.99.

My mum used to make a killer retro salad: strawberries, baby spinach and balsamic vinegar. I loved it. The sweetness of the summer strawberries blended with the balsamic vinegar to make a tart salad dressing. It was really kitsch but I thought it was great when it got rolled out for summer barbecues. The same combination works just as well in this pie, especially with the addition of strawberries’ best friend, rhubarb. — Kirsten

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 × 435 g (15½ oz) frozen Careme vanilla bean pastry, thawed, rolled to a thickness of 3 mm (1/8 in)
  • 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) rhubarb, trimmed and cut into
  • 5 cm (2 in) pieces
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped
  • 220 g (8 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon demerara sugar, for sprinkling

Vanilla Bean Sweet Shortcrust Pastry 435g Careme Traditional Pastry

METHOD

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Step 1 - click here to display

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a 20 cm (8 in) pie dish with one of the pastry sheets, leaving a 1 cm (½ in) overhang. Line the pastry case with baking paper, fill with baking beads (or uncooked rice or dried beans) and bake for 15 minutes or until the pastry is just dry and light golden. Remove the paper and baking beads and leave to cool. Cut the remaining pastry sheet into eight 4 cm (1½ in) strips. Chill the strips while you make the filling.

Step 2 - click here to display

Cook the rhubarb, vanilla, caster sugar and thyme sprigs with 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) of water in a large deep frying pan over medium heat. Carefully stir until the sugar starts to dissolve, then reduce the heat to medium–low, cover and simmer for 8 minutes or until the rhubarb is almost tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rhubarb to a colander set over a bowl and discard the thyme sprigs. Leave to drain very well.

Step 3 - click here to display

Combine the rhubarb syrup with the cornflour and return to the pan set over medium heat. Boil for 10 minutes or until thick and syrupy then leave to cool for 10 minutes.

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Carefully fold the rhubarb through the syrup followed by the strawberries and balsamic vinegar. Spread the cooled filling into the pastry case.

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Make a lattice top with the cooled strips and place it over the filling. Trim any excess, pinching the edges to seal. Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the demerara sugar. Place on a baking tray and bake for 55 minutes or until golden. Rest for 30 minutes before serving.

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