This is like summer in a pie dish, I just love the colours of the fruit all wrapped in flaky pastry. My father grows both strawberries and rhubarb in his garden and this is perfect for when both crops are in abundance. The rhubarb season starts in March and goes out of season in October, then the strawberry season starts in May and lasts until November, plenty of opportunity to make this slice of summer!!
200g Plain flour
100g Cold butter, cubed
1 tsp Caster sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
3-4 tbsp Cold water (more if needed)
300g Fresh strawberries, washed
300g Rhubarb, washed
150g White sugar
½ tsp Ground cinnamon
½ tsp Mixed Spice
¼ tsp Salt
3 tbsp Water
1 Egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 230ºC/450ºF/Gas Mark 8, grease and flour a deep 22cm x 5cm, (9 inch x 2 inch) Pyrex pie dish or similar, tap the excess flour out into your hand, set aside.
To make the pastry needed (375g just in case you're buying shop bought):
Sift the flour (if only to remove the lumps!) into a large bowl, stir in the caster sugar and cold diced butter. With only your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the vanilla extract and the water, a tablespoon at a time until the pastry starts to come together. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface, gently bring together, wrap in cling film (I like to pat the pastry into a flat disc shape as I find it chills quicker). Allow to "rest" in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile make the filling:
Wash and dice both the rhubarb and the strawberries, mix together in a large bowl.
Add the sugar, cornflour, cinnamon, mixed spice, salt and water to the bowl. Mix gently to coat the fruit (don't be afraid to get your hand in there and give it a good mix)
Roll out about two thirds of the "rested" pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is large enough to line the base of the Pyrex pie dish.
I find lifting pastry a bit tricky at times, so I use my rolling pin, place the rolling pin in the middle of the rolled out pastry, gently fold the pastry over the pin, then use the rolling pin to lift the pastry and lay it into the dish.
Tip the filling into the pastry case, roughly trim the edges, leaving about 2cm (1 inch) of pastry overhanging the dish.
Roll out the remaining pastry and either cut with a lattice cutter or cut into 2 cm (1 inch) strips and weave over the top of the pie (see picture below, try to remember your national school teacher teaching you how to weave a paper basket, under one..over one!)
Dampen the edges of the pastry with the beaten egg and press the lid into place, pressing firmly but gently.
Use your fingers scallop the edges of the pastry. Brush the whole pie with the beaten egg (or milk if you prefer).
I usually place the pie on a baking tray, just in case the juices boil over and drip onto my oven. Bake at 230ºC/450ºF/Gas Mark 8, for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 190ºC/375ºF/Gas Mark 5 for a further 50 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the juices are bubbling.
Serve with warm with ice cream or cold with warm custard.