Local Strawberries Are HERE!
Local strawberries are HERE! Do not let their small size cloud your judgment as these pint sized beauties are the sweetest berry you will ever eat. I just picked up my first pint from Atlas Farms in the Copley Square farmers market. According to the news release from Mass Farmers Markets, starting May 31st many of the locations around the state should see a steady supply of these local berries. Traditionally the berry season starts on June 1st but I am sure the ultra warm weather over the last couple of weeks has sped up Mother Nature's production. Make sure you check with your local farmer's markets for peak crop dates and to stay on top of the supply as we start to gobble them up. Trust me these sweet berries will knock your socks off compared to those we have been eating all winter long from Florida and California.
DATE WATCH: June 11 - July 4th, Mark your calendar's for the annual Strawberry Dessert Festival . This festival is 24 days of strawberries prepared by 30 state wide restaurants. Top chefs will serve local strawberries and donate 50% or more of the proceeds to Mass Farmer's Markets. This is a great way to get out to enjoy local restaurants and support your local farmer.
One of my favorites is Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. I can remember when my Grandmother used to bake this pie and how much I hated it as a kid. What was I thinking ! Fresh hot pie out of the oven topped with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream. YUM! I have attached a recipe from The Food Network so everyone can attempt to replicate "Grand Ma's Pie".
Grandma's Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 5 min
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional flour as needed, up to 1/4 cup
- 1/2 cup cake flour (recommended: Soft As Silk)
- 3 teaspoons sifted powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening (recommended: Crisco)
- 1/4 cup salted butter
- Pinch salt
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vinegar
- 1/4 cup ice cold water
- 2 1/2 cups chopped red rhubarb, fresh
- 2 1/2 cups de-stemmed, washed and cut strawberries (in larger pieces)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar (1 1/4 cups for high altitude)
- 2 tablespoons minute tapioca
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons butter, cubed small
- 1 egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon water
- Large granule sugar
Using 2 pastry blenders, blend the flours, sugar, shortening, butter and salt. Whisk the egg, vinegar and water in a 2-cup measure and pour over the dry ingredients incorporating all the liquid without overworking the dough. Toss the additional flour over the ball of dough and chill if possible. Divide the dough into 2 disks. Roll out 1 piece of dough to make a bottom crust. Place into a pie dish. Put dish in refrigerator to chill.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Mix the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, tapioca, flour, zest and juice of lemon, dash of cinnamon, and vanilla. Mix well in a large bowl and pour out into chilled crust. Dot the top of the filling with the butter. Brush edges of pie crust with egg white wash. Roll out the other piece of dough and place over filling. Crimp to seal edges. Brush with egg white wash and garnish with large granule sugar. Collar with foil and bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Decrease temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for an additional 45 to 50 minutes, or until the filling starts bubbling. Higher altitude will take 450 degrees F and 400 degrees F respectively. Also, you can use a pie bird for extra decor. Let cool before serving.