I have been making mini fruit pies and larger strawberry rhubarb pies to sell at the farmer's market but with the larger pies, I can't really see how the crust comes out unless I cut into it, which is exactly what I do.
I absolutely hate soggy crust! To me, there's nothing better in a pie than to cut a piece and have the crust still firm with a slight crunch.
I have been selling slices, just so I can be sure the crust is fully cooked..crazy , right?
I am the first to admit I get a bit obsessed with all my baked goods. I do so much research and testing that I not only drive myself nuts..but I drive everyone who knows me a little crazy, too! (Yes, you know who you are!)
I can only imagine what crazy obsession the strawberry and blueberry season will bring me!
So I decided to conduct a little experiment this morning. I found a rhubarb pie recipe in my newest cookbook, purchased up at Brimfield. It's called " A Taste from the Past, Good Old Food". Remember, I'm the one who prefers older cookbooks to the ones found at your local Barnes and Noble or Borders today.
I didn't use the recipe for the crust from the book but I did use the filling recipe which was just for rhubarb, no strawberry used in it.
I made this crust two ways. I had it made, then frozen and then I made another and blind baked it.
To each I added the filling, then baked them together for the same length of time and the same temperature.
I wasn't confident that the prebaked crust wouldn't somehow burn, having been baked already but it came out great. I should have known I could trust this lady! The sides were a little darker than the one that had been frozen but the results came out that the prebaked crust held up much better to the juicy rhubarb filling without getting soggy! Yeah!
You can see from the photo below, the prebaked crust in the back is a little darker along the sides. But still holding up much better.
I like to make mini tart pies..is that the correct name for them?!
They just cook faster, more of an instant gratification thing, I guess!
This pie below is the unbaked crust. Compare the bottom crust to the photo below it, which is the prebaked crust. See how the crust isn't as firm?
I'm driving you crazy, too, aren't I?
By the way, the crumble topping is the blueberry muffin streusel topping. It works for great for alot more than just blueberry muffins.
Although I used the filling recipe from this cookbook, I changed it a little. You'll notice that once you sprinkle sugar onto fruit, it draws out the liquid from the fruit.
So what I did was to sprinkle the sugar onto the rhubarb pieces, along with all the other ingredients, then let it sit in the bowl for about 15 to 20 minutes to draw out the liquid. Then I picked up the rhubarb pieces, being careful not to get much liquid that had fallen to the bottom, and placed the pieces into the pie crusts. This way, you avoid extra liquid which = less sogginess..or is that soggyness? Don't worry, rhubarb has so much extra liquid that it will still come out nice and juicy.
So, finally, here's the filling recipe exactly from the book. Just be sure to read all my crazy notes from my experiment, won't you?
Rhubarb Pie Filling
Makes enough for one 9" pie
2 pound of rhubarb
2 pound of rhubarb
1 cup of sugar ( I always use less. Maybe cut down to 3/4 cup. It always seems there's too much sugar in rhubarb pie recipes. What's wrong with a little tartness?).
1/3 cup AP flour
1/3 cup AP flour
1/3 cup orange juice
Remove any green leaves from the rhubarb. Cut rhubarb into 1/2" slices. Put into a large bowl. Sprinkle sugar and flour onto rhubarb pieces and stir. Pour in orange juice and stir to combine. Let rhubarb mixture sit to draw out the liquid. Pick up the pieces using your fingers or slotted spoon, leaving some of the liquid in the bowl and place filling into your crust. Proceed with the baking. Let me know who yours turns out!