Every year, I look forward to the opening of my local farmers’ market and this year was no exception. There are two reasons why farmers markets rule: (1) fresh produce and (2) knowledgeable vendors. After marking May 3rd on my calendar, I mentally prepared myself for all the culinary possibilities and planned my visit to Sherway Farmers Market.
However, I’d forgot to check what produce was in season. But I lucked out in the gardening section! One vendor travelled all the way from Kingston to sell her gorgeous roses and begonias. Let’s just say I went home with more flowers than I actually needed.
As I moved on to the next vendor and asked the person helping me to bag a basket of baby potatoes, their son came up to ask if I wanted the last bunch of rhubarb. Up until then, I’d never considered buying rhubarb. I’ve only ever seen it in pies and never really cared for it. Truth is, I don’t think I remember how it tasted.
Sensing a challenge I bought the last bunch and quickly shot a picture of a rather coy farmer.
Because rhubarb is naturally quite tangy, I opted to pair the vegetable with its soulmate – the strawberry. Plus, nothing says strawberry-rhubarb like a classic pie.
Here’s the first recipe, in our newest farmers market series.
makes 20-30 pies
For the dough*:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs refined white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
8 Tbs cold unsalted butter
5 Tbs ice cold water
For the filling:
5 stalks rhubarb
3 cups strawberries
1 Tbs sliced almonds
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract (or lemon extract)
Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking tray or flat sheet with parchment paper. Next, wash and finely slice the stalks of rhubarb and add them to a bowl. Do the same with the strawberries, making sure to hull them prior to chopping.
Add the rest of the ingredients for the filling, toss and set aside.
*If you like to make dough from scratch, follow the instructions below or if you’re short on time, roll out a sheet of frozen pastry dough.
For the dough, fork together the flour, salt and sugar. Using either your hands, two knives or a pastry cutter, cut the butter in to the flour mixture until it resembles coarse almond meal. Then, add the water and mix until the dough pulls together.
Transfer your preferred dough on to a working surface and roll it out. Use a round cutter to start pressing out the bases of your mini pies. Start transferring half the bases on to the lined tray. If the dough feels too soft to work with, pop them in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Next, spoon 1 1/2 teaspoons of the filling on to each of the bases. Once you’re done, cover the tops with round dough pieces leftover, and crimp the edges. Make sure to poke a wide hole on the top of each pie to ensure even internal temperatures.
Put the pies into the oven for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. The pies can be frozen or stored in an airtight container once they’re cooled.
Enjoy with a mound of ice cream!
The Sherway Farmers’ Market is located at the Sherway Gardens Shopping Centre and is open every Friday from 8 am to 2 pm, until October 25 — ‘rain or shine’. Get there early or at least before the amazing strudels run out! Check out your nearest farmers’ market and support Ontario’s local farmers.
(Photo credits: Sherway Gardens & Sharanya Soori)