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June 20, 2011 / Kate

Apple & Rhubarb Pie

Y2, Week Four: The All Fathers’ Pie

I’m a nerd, and if you’re going to read this blog you’ll have to know this about me. Thus this week’s pie is in honor of Father’s Day and the tenth anniversary of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, which features both the local (to me) landmark The House on the Rock and Odin, the “All-Father.” I love my dad, but to my knowledge he’s never written a kick-butt story that could simultaneously terrify and delight me. Neil Gaiman has. So Dad, you’ll have to share this one, though you can console yourself that you did not have to share the pie.

I’d like to say I picked the American as apple pie as tribute to the book, but, truthfully, I had a bunch of oldish apples and a request my Dad made last year for apple pie. So, as with most things in my life, the presence of any grand, unifying theme is purely accidental. I added rhubarb because it’s everywhere right now, and, like Neil Gaiman’s story, is both bitter and sweet. Okay, I made that last part up for the blog. Rhubarb is in season, is delicious, and plain old apple pie seemed boring. However, I can say that my dad doesn’t have to feel slighted splitting the honors here because, like the disguised gods in American Gods, this week’s recipe is actually three pies cleverly disguised as one. You can make it as is, or, by doubling either the apple or rhubarb fillings and leaving out the other, you can make either a straight up apple or rhubarb pie. Wow, this all looks way more thought out than it was, I think I’ll stop while I’m ahead.

Here’s to my father, all fathers, the All-Father, and Mr. Gaiman, who is, conveniently, also a father. Hope you guys had a great day and someone who loved you made you some pie.

Local foodstuffs:


Pie Pastry with Vodka

(adapted from Cook’s Illustrated’s “Foolproof Pie Dough”)
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsp cold unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into 1/4-inch slices
3 tbsp vodka, cold
2 tbsp ice water

Mix flour and salt in food processor fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter over dry ingredients and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, 10 to 15 seconds. Turn mixture into medium bowl.

Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Shape 2/3 of the dough into flattened round; repeat with remaining 1/3. Wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. Dough can be kept in the refrigerator for 2 days or in the freezer for up to a month (if freezing, wrap in additional layer of foil or place plastic wrapped rounds into a heavy duty freezer bag).

Rhubarb Filling

1 1/4 lbs rhubarb stalks, trimmed and rinsed
1/3 cup water
1 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbsp corn starch
3/4 cup sugar

Chop rhubarb into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces. Combine rhubarb and water in a medium saucepan. In a small bowl, combine flour, cornstarch and sugar, stirring until well blended; add to the rhubarb. Stir and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover but leave the cover ajar to let steam escape and continue simmering for about 3-5 minutes, or just until tender. Some of the rhubarb will break down, but some should still retain its shape and texture.

Apple Filling

2 1/2 – 3 lbs baking apples, peeled, cored and diced (I like Braeburns and Gala)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp corn starch
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup maple syrup

Mix together sugar, corn starch, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice in a small bowl. In a medium saucepan combine apples and sugar mixture and toss until apples are thoroughly coated. Add lemon juice and cook apples on medium heat, stirring regularly until they are soft (but still hold their shape) and any liquids have thicken a bit (approx 15 – 20 minutes). Add maple syrup, stir and set aside to cool slightly.

Crumb Topping

1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oats
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Combine the topping ingredients until blended and crumbly.


Pie dough
All ingredients prepared so far

1 9” pie pan

Preheat oven to 375°.

Remove dough from refrigerator and allow to warm a bit (about 15-30 min); make sure not to place dough near oven or anything hot. Roll dough on lightly floured surface into 13-inch circle and transfer to 9-inch pie pan, preferably glass. Press dough into corners and sides of pan, being careful not to stretch dough. Trim edges of dough to make 1/2-inch overhang (best done with kitchen scissors). Tuck overhanging dough under so that folded edge is flush with rim of pan and edge folds up over the top of the pan.

Fill with prepared rhubarb, then with apple, and finish by sprinkling entire pie with crumb topping. Bake for approx 30 min; remove from oven and cool for 1 hour. Slice and enjoy. Happy Father’s Day!



Leave a Comment
  1. mollbells / Jun 20 2011 4:17 pm

    I really like the layer idea for rhubarb and and apples. This pie looks really good! I was wondering if you would ever be willing to make pie dough without electricity sometime; a special demo for poor grad students without stand mixers…:-) Also wondering if quiche dough is different from pie dough. Thanks!

    • Kate / Jun 20 2011 8:40 pm

      The layering worked out really well. I did it mostly for the presentation, but it ended up allowing you to experience the flavors separately as well as together. Here’s a good walk through for a pie dough sans processor: If you really want to go lo-tech you can use 2 knives, but I’m warning you, it takes FOREVER. I’ll do a non-electric dough this summer — I was thinking of doing a video since so many people ask how to make a pie dough. It’s really pretty simple, just remember to keep it COLD. Quiche can use the same pastry as pie (it is really egg pie after all, just take any sugar out of the recipe), but I find this recipe is one of the best out there for quiche: The egg filling sorta becomes one with it and it’s all fantastic and buttery!

  2. mollbells / Jun 22 2011 1:50 pm

    Ok! I think I need to get a pastry cutter. I have been using a fork… I also need to keep things colder. Thanks for the suggestions and links. I’m going to try these soon. Cheers!

  3. Michael / Jun 24 2011 7:31 pm

    This looks amazing. I’ve been trying to figure out what else to do with all my rhubarb. I’m making this on Monday….vodka crust and all!

    • Kate / Jun 27 2011 12:14 am

      Yay! And good luck! It’s a great pie.

  4. mileland / Jun 27 2011 10:01 am

    I noticed in the crust recipe that you call for 8T (2 sticks) of butter….but 8T is ONE stick! So….one stick or two?

    • Kate / Jun 27 2011 11:46 am

      Sorry, I copied this from a previous recipe and halved it, but clearly overlooked changing the number of sticks (one stick). It’s fixed now!

  5. Michael / Jun 28 2011 9:41 am

    It turned out really well! I made one for the office today (though they don’t know it yet), and a mini-pie for myself (quality control, of course). I noticed two things about the recipe: 1) I shouldn’t have used rhubard that I’d frozen. I ended up with a lot of water I had to pour off (or if I use frozen rhubarb, I should thaw it and drain it before adding the dry ingredients); and 2) the crust recipe looks like it’s for a two-crust pie, but this is only a one-crust pie. I used the second crust for the mini-pie. Really like this recipe — thanks for posting it!

    • Kate / Jun 28 2011 11:05 pm

      I’m glad you liked it! I don’t know why you ended up with so much extra crust — it is basically a single crust recipe (I halved a double crust recipe, but the amounts gibe with other single crust recipes I’ve seen). How much extra you have of course depends on how thin you roll it. I usually have a little to trim, but that’s better than coming up short :-)

  6. Michael / Jun 28 2011 11:09 pm

    I might have rolled it a bit too thin…but I did have enough for a second, small pie! Little stuff, though. It’s a great recipe, and all of the evidence is gone.

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  1. Pie fillings : Apple Pie Filling Rhubarb

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