Every strawberry rhubarb pie deserves a good story, right?
When I first started making pies ten years ago, it was out of necessity. You see, I needed a hobby–and friends. My husband was active duty military at the time, and we moved far away from home to the sunny state of Arizona.
I was stuck in the apartment all day because we had only one car, and it didn’t matter that it was a dry heat–100 degrees is still too hot to walk anywhere. I was set to be a substitute teacher for the school on post, but the school year was still a month away. I thought making pies would keep me busy and might win us a few friends if I shared it with the neighbors or sent it to work with my husband. So, I grabbed my new Betty Crocker cookbook, a wedding present from my mom, and tried my best.
I made one pie crust from scratch. It was a disaster. Then I remembered hearing Ina Garten say that ready-made pie crusts are honestly just as good as the homemade variety, so that night I headed to the one grocery store in town to get a box. It did the trick. So, yes, I make pies, but I also buy the crust. (Did Ina really say that? Did I misremember? Only she knows the truth.)
A favorite quickly emerged: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. It’s sweet, it’s tart, and most importantly, it’s easy.
Beware of the sugar content though. Some recipes for this type of pie call for up to three cups! I’m not into dumping so much sugar into something that it makes my teeth feel gritty. So, I decided to experiment, which led me to the perfect secret ingredient for strawberry rhubarb pie…
With just a quarter cup of orange juice, I cut the additional sugar down to one cup and enhanced the fresh flavor. You can use whatever brand you have in the refrigerator, but I recommend something that is labeled fresh squeezed and has some pulp.
The result is a ruby red, patriotic, one-of-a-kind pie. Now you’re all set for that Fourth of July party. Let me know what you think!