Strawberries Have Arrived in Eastern Ontario! Along with Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry rhubarb pie with Red Fife crust and lattice top, straight from the ovenFinally! After hearing folks in Southern Ontario and elsewhere mentioning strawberries for a few weeks now, local strawberries arrived at local farmer’s markets this past weekend. In my mind, summer is not really here until local strawberries arrive. The market in Westboro even had tastings of a few different strawberry-filled concoctions – the Strawberry-Balsamic Compote with goat cheese on crostini was my favourite. They all tasted like summer. I recreated it last night, made into a quasi strawberry shortcake with basil and Red Fife scones and honey whipped cream. A post on that coming soon! Continue reading

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Groundcherry Apple Pie with Red Fife Crust and Crumb Topping

This pie is the perfect combination of two things I love – groundcherries and Red Fife wheat.  Red Fife is a heritage wheat, which is the grain equivalent to an heirloom tomato.  Go here to read all about its awesome history and find out where to buy it in Ottawa.  Did I mention that it comes in a neat cloth bag?

Groundcherries are a recent discovery for me.  They`re a sweet member of the tomato family with a dry outer husk that you remove before eating.  I had crossed paths with them a few times in the past, usually as a cute garnish on top of a rich dessert at a chmancy restaurant.  But a couple of weeks ago we received some in our CSA so I had a find a more extensive use for them.  A quick Google search came up with two options: pie or preserves.  I didn`t have enough to make preserving worthwhile, so I went the pie route.  I don`t have much experience with pie, but this was easily the most amazing pie I`ve ever made!  It was incredibly delicious and I highly recommend baking one yourself.  Groundcherries are still in season and I saw a couple of vendors at the Westboro farmer`s market selling them last week so buy some now before it`s too late!  They keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks if you leave them in their husks.  And look how cute they are, how can you resist?

This recipe was inspired from here, here and here.  I relied on my food processor heavily – I used it to make the crust as well as the crumb topping.  I was amazed at how much time this saved!

Pie Crust

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Red Fife flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter (refrigerated and cut in cubes)
2 1/2 tbsp cold water

1. Place all ingredients except water in food processor and process until butter is evenly cut into flour (about 20 seconds).

2. With processor on, add water and continue processing until the dough forms a ball (about 20-30 seconds).

3. Remove dough and chill at least 1/2 hour before using (this makes it easier to roll out the crust).

4. Roll out dough and place in pie pan.  If your dough has “personality” like mine does (i.e. holes, cracks, etc.) don’t despair, just use pieces from the edge to patch it up and it will turn out fine.  Add a tiny bit of water to make it stick, if necessary.  Cut off any dough that hangs over the edge of the pie plate.

Oatmeal Crumb Topping

1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Red Fife flour
1/4 cup oatmeal (any type except instant)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. In food processor combine all ingredients except butter.  Process until combined.

2. Add butter and continue processing until mixture forms crumb texture.

Filling & Pie Assemblage

2 cups ground cherries, husked and washed
2 cups diced apples (about 2 apples – I used Ontario-grown Empire apples)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp Red Fife flour
2 tbsp water

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. Wash groundcherries and apples.  Dice apples to about the size of the groundcherries.  I leave the peels on, but you can peel them first if you like.  Mix apples and ground cherries and place on pie crust.

3. Mix brown sugar and flour and sprinkle over groundcherries/apples. Sprinkle water over top.

4. Sprinkle crumb topping over pie.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce temperature to 375 and continue to bake for 25-30 minutes.  The filling should be bubbling and the crust browned on the edges.

6. Remove from oven and let cool at least 1/2 an hour before serving.

I love how the groundcherries peak through the crust!  Enjoy!