When I was child in the 60’s, I lived in a typical coal region home in a very small town in Schuylkill County. Unlike some towns, ours had mostly single family homes rather than “double-blocks” (known as “a duplex” or “two-family” elsewhere), many having nicely sized yards which were “landscaped” by the homeowners with plants, shrubs, and trees that reflected the tastes of the family living there.
My home and back yard were no different. In addition to the sand pit and play area Dad put in there was a metal swing set with a facing double bench swing on which my Pappy and his good friend, our next door neighbor, spent equally as much time on sitting toe to toe chatting and smoking their pipes as I did playing on it.
Like so many homes at the time, we had “the gardens”; patches scattered throughout the yard, along the walkway, drive, and garage planted with a mix of peonies, lilac, daffodils, tulips, day lilly, and whatever else took hold across the years.
Never to grace the pages of Better Homes and Gardens, their colorful tapestry none-the-less brought pleasure to us, especially to my Nana. One such “garden” consisted of a patch on which my Dad fed the compost pile all winter long, turned over the soil each summer, then filled with a variety of tomato starter plants bought at the local hardware store.
Another garden patch, located directly behind the house, consisted of two peony bushes serving as bookends to the rest of the patch’s contents — a bleeding heart plant, 2 propane tanks (for the kitchen stove) and the pride and joy of my Nana — a rhubarb plant that made its presence known every spring without fail.
I have many a memory of playing on the swing set, hearing the back porch door squeak as it opened then banged shut, and watching my Nana come around the back of the house to harvest her rhubarb.
She would gather up the bottom hem of her cotton, ric-rac trimmed apron making a “pouch” into which she dropped the reddish tinted stalks of freshly cut rhubarb. She would turn and head to the kitchen and I knew a rhubarb crumb pie would soon be on the table.
Nana loved things made with just rhubarb; the rest of the family, not so much. And so, her rhubarb crumb pie became this Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Pie. (Rhubarb can also be found in supermarkets in many areas, both fresh in season and year-round in the frozen foods section.)
Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb PieCourse: DessertsCuisine: Pa. Dutch, Coal RegionDifficulty: Intermediate
Rhubarb crumb pie reminiscent of the arrival of spring.
1 – 9 inch unbaked pie crust, your favorite recipe or store bought
3 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced thinly
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup quick cook oats
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Prepare crust, refrigerate until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, line a cookie or baking sheet with parchment or foil
- Toss together rhubarb, strawberries, brown sugar, white sugar, flour, lemon juice, and salt in a bowl. Combine well then set aside.
- For crumbs, in a bowl, mix together the butter, flour, brown sugar, quick oats, and cinnamon. Mix by hand or with pastry blender until crumbs form.
- Remove your prepared pie crust in pan from the refrigerator.
- Fill the crust with the strawberry rhubarb mixture evenly.
- Sprinkle evenly with the crumble topping.
- Place the pie on the baking sheet, place in oven, and bake for 15 minutes at 400 F. Then, reduce the temperature to 350 F and continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes until filling is bubbling and the top is browned.
- Allow pie to cool for at least four hours to allow the filling to set before cutting.
- If using frozen rhubarb, first thaw it completely.