Sunday, August 24, 2008

ModernGear Food: Mini Rhubarb Pies

What a wonderful time of year. Summer is winding down so every minute of every last day of this season has the potential to be special. In the beginning of the summer you have the luxury of knowing that if you opt for a sleep-in versus a cool morning walk that there'll always be another one tomorrow but in late August it's difficult to forget that soon, all there will be is cool mornings. And afternoons, and evenings. I find that I pack in more enjoyment of summer in these dwindling days of the season than in all the summer months that came before.

It's also a great time of year because there's rhubarb. Plain and simple, rhubarb makes life better. Try this recipe for Mini Rhubarb pies, and see if you don't agree.

This recipe is inspired by a post I read on a cooking blog I can't find anymore, and it's more than delicious. It's a kind of "summer is drawing to a close" flavour and mood. But enough with the small talk. Let's bake.

SUMMER'S ALMOST OVER MINI RHUBARB PIES

We're going to start with our little friend the dough...I went with the pate brisee for the peach and plum galette, so today I thought I'd sweeten the deal with the pate sucre.

PATE SUCRE
(From MarthaStewart.com)
INGREDIENTS
(Makes enough for 1 galette, so you're good for a few mini pies)
2.5 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
4 tbsp ice water
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten


DIRECTIONS
1. In the bowl of a food processor, add flour, sugar, and salt.
2. Add butter and process for approximately 10 seconds, or until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. To mix by hand, combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender or two table knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.
I really wanted to share a picture of my mountains of butter...cooking art. (I know it looks like an alarming amount of butter - I doubled the recipe...)

2. With the machine running, add ice water drop by drop, and then slowly add egg yolks, until the dough just holds together without being wet or sticky; about 30 seconds.
More cooking art - difficult to take a picture and drizzle egg yolk!

Test the dough at this point by squeezing a small amount together. If it is too crumbly, add a bit more water.

3. Turn dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Grasping the ends of the plastic wrap with your hands, press dough into a flat circle with your fists. Wrap dough in the plastic and chill for at least an hour.

RHUBARB FILLING INGREDIENTS
4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

DIRECTIONS
1. Chop rhubarb. I found that a good-sized stalk of rhubarb chops up to make two cups, and I had bought more than that so I decided to double the recipe.
2. Stir rhubarb together with dry ingredients, cover and let sit while you roll out your dough.


DIRECTIONS FOR MINI PIES

1.Divide dough into 4 even bunches (is it a "bunch" of dough, or is there an actual term??), roll out (or have your handsome assistant roll out) each "bunch" (I'm sorry, that just sounds wrong) of dough into...frankly, whatever shape you'd like! These are going to be hand-formed as they just so much more fun that way!

2. Spoon rhubarb filling onto one side of your rolled out dough, and pretty much eyeball it for how much to use. You'll want to leave at least a 1-inch to 1 1/2 inch border around where you're laying your fruit. This is will be so much easier to illustrate in photo, so check it (pie to the left has half of the dough hanging off the pan):
3. Fold other side of dough over rhubarb filling, and pinch edges together to seal. You can also make an artful fork impression on the edges! Pretty!
4. Cut slits in the top of the pie for the steam to escape. Pop into the oven! (The pies, not you.)

5. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees, and then 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Keep your eye on them as ours took less time. Could that be because we accidentally had the oven on convection? Oops. Have a tray or two underneath as these will drip.

6. And then, as if I have to tell you this...enjoy. Ooooh these are YUM! Or as my husband pronounced, "Honey, these are better than good!"

Would be quite nice with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or maybe even whipped cream.

Bon App├ętit!

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