I am a pie person. While all the other kids had birthday cakes, I always asked for birthday pie. Marion berry and rhubarb are my favorite summer pies. Fresh, tangy and flavor fillings surrounded by a flaky crisp crust....what's not to love? And they hold a candle just as well as any cake.
This weekend, I had a big time hankering for rhubarb pie. However, this Saturday, the hubs and I are leaving for a week in Mazatlan...yippee! I had one lonely little leftover stalk in my refrigerator, so rather than going out and buying more, I decided to miniaturize my craving into a hand pie. But not just any hand pie.....
Strawberry rhubarb is the classic duo. Sweet strawberries mellow out the tart rhubarb and provide great texture. However, I am also a huge fan of raspberry rhubarb. Think of it as a tarter, juicier and less meaty cousin. I've been reveling in the land of strawberries this spring, but let us not forget these delicious little berries.
Just as important as the filling, if not more so, is the vessel. Now I've seen many a pie dough recipe out there, but never tasted anything that can hold a candle to my mom's. Three ingredients - flour, salt & shortening - for a perfect flaky crust every time. No vinegar, no sugar, no butter. Just flaky deliciousness.
Raspberries bake up in no time at all, but rhubarb takes a bit longer. Rather than creating a corn starch and syrup mixture, I like to go a bit more natural with honey roasted rhubarb. I'll roast a bunch up and use it as a mix-in or topping for oatmeal, ice cream and crisps. Toss in the raspberries and you have a tart delicious filling.
Raspberry rhubarb, you look delicious. But why not get tangy, creamy and a bit savory with your traditional hand pie? A touch of goat cheese adds a delicious creaminess without any extra sweetness. It turns this from a regular little pie into a surprising little pocket of goodness.
Now to all you sweet pie people out there, you might want to serve this up with vanilla ice cream. But to those tart pie lovers (such as the hubs and myself), you will love this little pie pocket. They are a great dessert, but also an excellent breakfast with a couple fried eggs.
Raspberry Rhubarb & Goat Cheese Hand Pies (3 pies)
- 2 tbs honey
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 c rhubarb, sliced
- 1 c raspberries
- 1 c flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 c + 1 tbs shortening (butter flavored is best)
- 2-3 tbs ice water
- 3 tbs goat cheese
- for a sweeter pie - 1 tbs granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine honey and vanilla in a small bowl and whisk together. Add sliced rhubarb and toss to coat evenly. Transfer to a glass pie plate and spread evenly so rhubarb is in a single layer. Roast for 8-12 minutes or until soft. Remove and set aside to cool. Reduce oven to 375 degrees.
Combine flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add shortening and mix together with a pastry blender or fork until pea-sized pieces form. Making sure your water is very cold, add one tablespoon at a time, tossing lightly until dough is moist enough to form a ball. Handle the crust gently at this point or it will get tough and chewy. Divide dough into three equal balls. Roll out to desired thinness (mine were about 8 inch circles).
Add the raspberries to the roasted rhubarb and toss together gently. (If you want a sweeter pie, add the extra sugar before tossing.) Place about 1/2 cup of the fruit mixture off-center on each crust, being sure to leave enough edge to seal the dough together (see picture above). Top each pie with 1 tablespoon of goat cheese, distributing evenly. Fold over dough, trim and seal the edges by pressing down with your finger.
Place pies on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush tops with left over vanilla honey syrup from roasting pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until crust is golden and juices start to seep out. Drizzle with honey, if desired, before serving.