Let's be honest here... this pie was purely a guilty pleasure. Blame it on the vegetable that draws me in like a moth to a flame: rhubarb! The second I saw it at the grocery store, I feverishly shoved it into the shopping basket with no vision in sight. Seasonal delights! I managed to resist the urge to cook it until Board Game Night at my friends' place (we're wild folk!) over the weekend.
The one and only other time I tried to make Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie was an amazing failure. Wow, I can't believe it was three years ago. The Achilles heel to that pie was the tapioca- I didn't know about the baking variety and ended up buying bubble tea tapioca pearls at the Global Market. Oh my goodness what a mistake; the poor pie was practically soup. Dear Past Self, I send this with love: *smacks upside the head.*
Make sure that if you do use tapioca pearls in your pie to buy the correct variety. There are instant and standard pearls; the regular tapioca needs to sit in water for at least two hours before being used or else they will not have enough time to gel. Check the box and recipe before you bring it home! If you're not into this method, you can substitute with corn starch or even tapioca flour to thicken up the natural fruit juices. Nobody likes a soggy bottom pie!
This round, I used the correct tapioca and played it safe with Smitten's version of pie crust. Honestly I don't know if I can ween myself away from this crust- I have used it in every pie. I listened to the Past Self and reduced the amount of sugar in the pie drastically. Don't underestimate the tartness of the rhubarb. I think it's safe to reduce the sugars by half but that's just a preference. I like to taste the fruit more than the granulated sugar. Plus, if you keep it a lil more towards the tart end of the spectrum, it pairs incredible with vanilla ice cream! Make the crust however you feel comfortable; this version is a basic lattice pattern.
Worried about killing time when you're pie dough is firming up in the fridge? Take a lesson from Autumn's book, just kick it! As always when making pie, I strongly recommend making the crust the day before to save some time. You can even prep the filling and have it ready to assemble the next day. Or you can just use it as an excuse as time to cuddle!
For the full recipe, check out the awesome Smitten Kitchen!