Pies and Husbands

No problem eating the evidence when it looks like this.

My husband has often remarked that had he known he was not going to get a homemade pie every week, he would not have married me. Or something like that. He actually has put it on the List of Things to Ask Your Future Spouse, to be passed on to subsequent generations. Everyone who has married into the Weisenberger family has heard about the Eternal Icon of Baking, Adeline, God rest her soul. Adeline (my husband’s mother) passed long before I even met my husband, but her baking legend lives on, and has actually been confirmed by male and female extended family, lest I think my spouse is exaggerating. Which he is.

I actually don’t like pie, unless it is filled with fat and sugar, which means I don’t think about making it often, which in turn leads to the “I wouldn’t have married you had I only known” conversation. Right. Give me a coconut cream pie any day, or, a household favorite, Emeril’s Banana Cream Pie  – which I highly recommend, it’s amazing and weighs about 8 lbs when done: 3 lbs bananas, 3 lbs cream, butter and eggs, 2 lbs sugar, and then there is the whipped cream, the caramel sauce and the chocolate sauce – but this is not about that pie.

This is about the Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumb Pie, made with rhubarb we stole…er, harvested…from the vacant house next door, 3 days before a new owner showed up and introduced himself. Oops. We do have our own rhubarb, but this crop was planted many years ago by our first neighbors, and has languished for years, uneaten and unappreciated and probably simply unrecognized, by the second set of homeowners. It was just too great a temptation this year. Kinda of like hobbits and mushrooms, ownership and ethics just fall by the wayside in the pursuit of yumminess.

This recipe is from one of my favorite online sites, AllRecipes (http://allrecipes.com/). This is the first time I’ve made this pie, and it was a little runny – but I used frozen berries from last year, which may have added more liquid. It still got rave reviews from the guys (and won a prize at some church fair in Maine, according to the submitter). And as Son #2  said “This looks like a pie that needs whipped cream” – not that I’ve ever had a pie that didn’t.

And as I am sitting here, writing this post, hubby is sitting in the kitchen eating dessert. But not pie. Because he forgot about the pie – because “we hardly ever have pie available, you know.” And it just slipped his mind. Right.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumb Pie

From Paula Phillips, via allrecipes.com

1 egg
1 cup sugar (5/29/12 revision: reduce to 3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (5/29/12 revision: add 1 TBS cornstarch)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 pound fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 pint fresh strawberries, halved
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell

3/4 cup all-purpose flour (5/29/12 revision: reduce to 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup quick-cooking or rolled oats
1/2 cup cold butter (5/29 revision: reduce to 1/4 cup)
Rebecca’s NOTES: I have no idea how much 3/4 lb of rhubarb is, but I think I used about 2-3 cups, cut up. I also used 2 cups of frozen strawberries, partially thawed.
  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg. Add the sugar, flour and vanilla; mix well. Gently fold in rhubarb and strawberries. Pour into pastry shell.
  2. For topping, combine flour, brown sugar and oats in a small bowl; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over fruit. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Cool on a wire rack.

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Rebecca Foster writes about food, politics, books and whatever has irritated her on any particular day, on her website Usual and Ordinary (www.usualandordinary.com). She is an occasional contributor to The Livingston Post and has remained active in local politics and the community after serving as Pinckney Village President from 2004-2012, and as a trustee currently. She is enjoying empty-nesting in Pinckney with her husband, three cats and a few chickens.