Two of the earliest posts on this blog were Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, a family recipe, and Strawberry Rhubarb (Ginger) Crisp. Awesome desserts but alas they "puddled". I tried cornstarch instead or in addition to flour but the resulting texture was gummy so I resigned myself to a pie that was going to puddle. However, last week before making my brother's favorite birthday "cake", a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, I decided to consult one of my favorite cooking blogs, Smitten Kitchen. TAPIOCA!!! Deb Perelman was not the source of this idea, she gives others credit for using instant tapioca in pies and, in fact, when I rushed out to get a box of instant tapioca, I found a chart on the back of the box devoted to "Favorite Fruit Pies"* Just as Ms. Perelman added a new recipe when she discovered tapioca, "Improved Strawberry Rhubarb Pie", I decided this pie is good enough, at least in the opinion of my brother and other birthday guests, to merit a post of its own. It does not puddle and the texture is great!
BEST EVER STRAWBERRY PIE
I did not link to the old recipe, with instructions to delete the flour and add 1/4 cup of instant tapioca, because I have slightly adjusted other ingredients and changed the step by step instructions.
Make a double recipe (I do one crust at a time) of Pie Crust using the VARIATION instructions. Roll 2 large circles of pastry and with one line a 9" pie plate.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
3 1/2 c (1/12#) rhubarb, cut in 1/4" pieces
3 1/2 c (1 #) strawberries, sliced
5/8 c sugar
1 T lemon juice (optional)
1/2 - 1 t cinnamon
1/4 c instant tapioca
Pour mixture into the 9" pastry lined pie plate. Make a top crust. I prefer a lattice rather than a full top crust. Be sure the crust is well sealed at the edges. Place on a cookie sheet to catch any overflow drippings (though unlike the previous version, this pie will probably not overflow!) and place in the hot oven. Cook for 35 - 40 minutes until crust is nicely browned.
BEST EVER STRAWBERRY RHUBARB (GINGER) CRISP
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
In a large bowl mix together, in the same quantities given for the pie, the fruit, sugar, instant tapioca and other ingredients as well as (optional)
1 T finely minced candied ginger.
Let sit for fifteen minutes, then place in a 10" tart dish. In same bowl (no need to wash) mix well:
1 T melted butter
2 T brown sugar
3 T all-purpose white flour
3/4 c rolled oats
Mix again (mixture should be crumbly) then sprinkle over the fruit.
Again, the proof is in the serving. Excellent texture and no puddles of fruit juice in the bottom of the serving dish!
Both pie and crisp are good served with vanilla ice cream/non-fat frozen yogurt or ginger ice cream
Blueberry 4 cups fruit 1/4 cup instant tapioca
Strawberry-Rhubarb 4 cups fruit 1/4 cup instant tapioca
AND if some of this delicious pie or crisp ends up on your white tablecloth or toddler's shirt see Make Strawberry Stains Vanish