August 28, 2013

Be-Bop-A-Re-Bop, Hipster Pie

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A couple years ago, Buzzfeed conducted a study to determine “The Most Hipster State in the US.” Shockingly, Washington didn’t win –– no doubt causing many bearded, flannel-clad would-be woodsmen to high-five over their venti Starbucks macchiatos, exclaiming “I told you we were authentic, bro!” Instead, the title went to my home state, Minnesota. I’m not totally sure what caused us to win. Was it the flourishing Twin Cities bike scene? The abundance of cozy sweaters and knit caps? The endless acres of boreal forest punctuated by picturesque lakes, prime for Mumford and Sons-inspired photoshoots? …Maybe the goofy accent?

A lot of hip things come to mind when I consider my home state, but eventually, it all comes back to the food. (And I don’t mean lutefisk.) Whenever I end up in good old Minnesnowta, I tend to schedule my life around mealtime. Both the state capitol and my smaller, northern hometown of Duluth have impressive restaurant scenes –– places like Pizza Luce, Duluth Grill and The Lowry unquestionably hold their own against the swankiest East Coast eateries –– but my favorite foods are always those made in my kitchen, with ingredients fresh from my mother’s bounteous garden.

I was home last week for the first time all summer, and what magnificent timing –– I showed up for the peak of raspberry season. We have three rows of raspberry brambles, and all of them were lush and laden with fruit. I spent a fair amount of time eating berries straight off the bush, but once I tired of that, my mother suggested pie. And while straight-up raspberry pie would have been fine on its own, everyone knows a real Minnesotan fruit pie requires a healthy dose of rhubarb. Luckily, we had some of that growing too, so I filled my pie with a sweet, tart and gorgeously pink raspberry rhubarb filling.

I was tempted to keep it an obscure secret recipe, but that wouldn’t be very Minnesota nice of me (though it would be pretty hipster of me, come to think of it) so here it is in all its homemade glory. Go turn on Prairie Home Companion and make some for yourself.


Crust (Adapted from this recipe by Smitten Kitchen)

2 ½ cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon salt

2 sticks butter (I always use salted butter, but unsalted is traditional, so take your pick)

1 cup ice water


10-12 rhubarb stalks, leaves removed (make sure you don’t eat even a tiny bit of rhubarb leaf, since they’re highly toxic)

2 pints raspberries

½ lemon

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cornstarch

First, the crust: it can be made it a food processor, but I’ve always done it by hand, and I think that offers more control over the final result. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes and drop them into the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender, two knives or your hands, continue to cut and crumble the butter until most of the pieces are the size of small peas. It’s important that the butter doesn’t get too warm, so if at any point you find it becoming squishy or melty, just place the whole bowl in the fridge for a bit. Once you’ve gotten your butter-flour mixture to the correct consistency, drizzle about a half cup of the ice water on top and mix gently with a spoon. Continue adding / mixing water until your dough forms large, ragged clumps. It won’t be quite a full cup of water. When it does, knead it once or twice gently with your hands until it forms one lump. Separate the lump into two halves, form the halves gently into disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill wrapped dough in fridge for at least an hour.

While dough is chilling, make the filling (oh hey, it rhymes). Chop rhubarb stalks into pieces roughly ½ inch long; you should end up with 3 or 4 cups total. In a large bowl, toss rhubarb pieces and raspberries with sugar. Squeeze ½ lemon over the top. Sprinkle with cornstarch; stir to incorporate.

To assemble the pie: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove one of the wrapped halves of dough from fridge and turn out onto a floured surface. Gently (gently!) use a rolling pin to roll the crust out into a circle about ⅛ inch thick. Place the rolled-out dough into a pie dish (glass or aluminum are both fine), making sure there about a half inch of dough is hanging over the edge. Place filling into crust. Roll out second half of dough in the same manner as the first, and place gently over the top of the filled pie. Seal the crust by crimping or twisting the edges securely together. Cut or poke a few holes in the top of the pie as steam vents. Place the pie dish on a baking sheet (to catch any spills) and put in oven. Bake at 400 for about 50 minutes, or until pie crust is golden brown. Let cool for at least an hour before eating.

Serve à la mode, or get Minnesotan bonus points if you eat it on a stick.

Original Author: Clare Dougan