Sunday, May 30, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie & Apple Pirate Ship Pie

Blogging from Scotland today. Mr. Humble and Co. are out braving the weather and hiking up Arthur's Seat. I'm back at the B&B with the little Humble, letting her get some desperately needed rest and travel detox.

Although in Scotland for less than a day I've already eaten Haggis (delicious when you don't bother to think about what is in it), black pudding (ditto) and cullen skink (nom-riffic).

Tomorrow afternoon I'm heading back to London and then home to Seattle the day after. Depending on how all that traveling works out, there may be a little lag in posting.

I can't wait to be back home and in my own kitchen again. I need to bake something!

A little Scottish food for any foodie-tourists:

Cullen Skink

Haggis with neaps and tatties and a… tarragon (?) cream sauce.

A full Scottish breakfast of bacon (cut from the back so it includes part of the loin), sausage, black pudding, eggs (poached rather than fried, a vain attempt to make this breakfast a bit healthier), toast, saute mushrooms and tomato.
I needed a three hour nap after this.

Today's pies:

Kaitlin of Whisk-Kid is one of the youngest and probably one of the better known bloggers to enter into the pie contest. Her popularity is easy to understand, she makes beautiful food, takes gorgeous photos and has a rather J.Peterman-esque flair to her food blogging.

Kaitlin sent me her strawberry rhubarb pie, inspired by her grandmother's cooking.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

This is more of a guide than anything. Keep in mind that it's not intended to be very sweet and that the sugar will need to be adjusted if you like your pie more sugary.
from Whisk-Kid
14 oz (400g)(total) of strawberries and rhubarb, chopped roughly into 1/4" to 1/2" pieces
1/8 c + 1 Tbls (25g) flour
1/4 c (50g) sugar
1/2 tsp salt
sanding sugar

Combine the chopped fruit, flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Toss to combine and pour into a prepared shell. Refrigerate while you prepare lattice strips, then top with lattice and place in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 450F (230C). When ready to bake, remove the pie from the fridge and brush the crust with cream. Sprinkle liberally with sanding sugar and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Place in the middle of the oven and place another pan, covered with aluminum foil, on the rack below to catch drips.

Bake 30 minutes, reduce the heat to 350F (175C) and bake until golden and bubbly, 40-50 minutes longer.

Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

Pie Crust
via my man, Alton Brown
I love, love, love this recipe! Make a bunch and freeze it. It'll make you happy in a few weeks when you really want some pie! Makes enough for a double-crust 9" pie.

12 tablespoons (170g) butter, chilled
4 tablespoons (55g) lard, chilled (can use shortening)
2 cups (340g) flour, plus extra for rolling dough
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup (120ml) ice water, in spritz bottle (I usually use only about 3/4s of the amount and, sorry Alton, I don't have a spritz bottle. I just pour it in!)

Place butter and lard in freezer for 15 minutes. When ready to use, remove and cut both into small pieces.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt by pulsing 3 to 4 times. Add butter and pulse 5 to 6 times until texture looks mealy. Add lard (or shortening) and pulse another 3 to 4 times. Remove lid of food processor and spritz surface of mixture thoroughly with water. Replace lid and pulse 5 times. Add more water and pulse again until mixture holds together when squeezed. Pour onto counter and press the dough together until it forms a ball. Separate into two pieces, then wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, place one half of the dough on the counter and roll into an 11" circle. Line pie tin and place in the refrigerator. Prepare filling.

To make lattice, roll out the dough to an 11" circle and cut thin strips with a pizza wheel. Weave over the filled pie and chill while the oven preheats.

Diamonds For Dessert is a blog with such charm and whimsy that I've been smitten with it from the moment I discovered it. Susan--another biologist blogger--makes some of the cutest, craftiest food-creations on the planet and it pains me deeply not to be on her list of recipients for Christmas cookies.



Please, Susan.

This pie submission is a ship--a pie-rate ship. Proving that when puns and pastry combine, awesome things happen.

APPLE PIE-rate ship

adapted from
from Diamonds For Dessert
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup ice water
nonstick spray

4 apples (I used granny smith and braeburn)
6 T sugar
3/4 T flour
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
a pinch of nutmeg
1 egg

pie weights, dried beans, or dried rice
coffee filters or parchment paper
2 aluminum mini loaf pans (5x2.5 inches)
2 pairs of disposable chopsticks
3 bamboo skewers
tape and a glue gun
black and red marker

In a bowl, combine the flour and salt, and mix. Cut the shortening into small pieces and add them into the bowl. Use a pastry cutter or a fork to incorporate the shortening until there are pea sized lumps. Add the ice water one tablespoon at a time, gently mixing it in, letting it moisten the dough. Gather the dough into a ball and split it in two. Place each half on a piece of plastic wrap. Flatten each into a disc, fold over the plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

While waiting, prepare the apples. Peel and core the apples. Thinly slice them and then chop the slices into thirds. Place the apples pieces in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar, salt, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Gently mix. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Preparing the Pans
For the two mini loaf pans, grab the center of one of the smaller sides and pull it out so it makes a point. so now instead of rectangles, the pans have 3 of the original sides and a little pointy side. Take a large piece of foil and wrap it around one of the pans, using it to extend the short pointy side to make a longer point. Fold the excess foil over the other pan edges. Spray both pans with nonstick spray.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Take one disc of dough and place it between two large pieces of plastic wrap. Roll it out to a 12x10 inch rectangle. Peel off a piece of plastic wrap and cut it so the dough rectangle is split into two pieces, one that's 9x10 inches and another that's 3x10 inches (refrigerate the 3x10 inch pieces).

Shaping the Bottom Crust
Take the 9x10 inch rectangle and place it into the prepared mini loaf pan and stretch it to fit the mold. Trim the overhanging extra dough with kitchen shears. (If desired, in the center of the longer edges, a little notch of dough can be cut off for aesthetic purposes, to make the ship more "ship-like" in appearance). Repeat all of this with the other disc of dough and the other mini loaf pan. Take a fork and poke holes all over the doughs to prevent bumps forming in the crust when baking.

Spray two coffee filters with nonstick spray and place them on the dough in the pans (or two pieces of parchment paper can be used instead); this keeps the pie weights from touching the dough and will make it easier to take them out. Fill the pans with the pie weights or dried beans or dried rice. Place the two filled pans on a baking sheet and then place the sheet in the oven for 15 minutes. When done, take the sheet out of the oven and let the crusts cool.

Shaping the Top Crust
Once cool, take the apple filling and spoon it into the two crusts, filling to about 1/4 inch from the top of the crust. Take the 3x10 inch pieces of pie dough out from the fridge and place them onto the crusts. Seal the dough by pinching around the top 1/4 inch of the crust. Trim the excess overhanging dough. Then take a fork and press it around the crust edge to make sure that it's firmly sealed. Take a knife and cut slits in the dough for vent holes. Mix the egg with 1 teaspoon of water to create an egg wash and brush the tops of the pies. Then place them in the oven on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 350°F and continue baking for 35 minutes. If the pointy part of the "ship" or the edges start to brown too much, rip off small pieces of foil to cover them. Once done, take the pies out of the oven to let them cool. When completely cool, carefully remove the pies from the aluminum pans. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the pies on the sheet. Take the rest of the egg wash and brush the pie sides with it. Cover the top of the pies and the pointy part of the "ships" with foil. Bake the pies for 15 minutes. Check and see if the sides are dry and turning golden brown. If so, take the pies out of the oven and let cool. If not, continue letting them bake until the pie sides are dry and golden brown. Then remove from the oven and let cool.

Adding the Sails
Take a bamboo skewer and poke two holes in the pie: one hole 1/3 from the one end of the pie and the other hole from the other end of the pie. Enlarge the holes with the skewer so they're big enough to fit the chopsticks.

To make the masts, split the chopstick pairs. Carefully break two chopsticks so that they are 7 inches long and the other two so that they are 6 inches long, and cut off any loose splinters. Carefully cut the skewers so you have eight 3 inch pieces. Hot glue one bamboo skewer piece 1 inch from the top of the chopstick and glue the other piece 3 inches from the top of the chopstick, both skewer pieces should be perpendicular to the chopstick.

For the sails, cut out 3x3 inch squares from the piece of white paper. Fold a little bit at the top and the bottom of each square. Cut out a little notch in the center of the parts that were just folded. Now take the four sails and attach them to the bamboo skewers by wrapping the top and bottom folded parts around the skewers and taping them down, with the chopstick fitting into the notches that were cut.

For the flags, cut out four 3/4x1/2 inch rectangles from the piece of white paper. Fold a little tab on one of the shorter sides of each rectangle (this will make it easier to tape the flags on the chopstick later). On two of them, draw skull and crossbones and color them black. Color the other two red and cut out a triangle from one of the shorter sides. Tape the flags to the tops of the chopsticks by taping the folded tabs to chopstick. Now stick the finished masts into the pies.

Makes 2 pie ships


  1. My husband and I went to Scotland for our honeymoon, so I am very, very fond of the place. We enjoyed trekking up Arthur's Seat, and I had my first haggis, neaps, and tatties experience at The Tass in Edinburgh! (Husband had visited Scotland once before, so he was in the clear.) Your photos bring back great memories. :)

  2. That rhubarb pie looks amazing!! Yum! I love whisk kid's photos.

    I saw the pie-rate photo on Foodgawker. Very creative!

  3. OH MY GOSH.

    Pie-rate ship! Winner here! Seriously, anyone who combines puns and baking and pirates is the winner of life, not just food blog contests.

    Also, you spelled "whisk" wrong.

  4. You're more adventurous with scottish food than I am and I've lived here my entire life. Haggis? Maybe... but black pudding and cullen skink... no thanks.

    And you're lucky, you got a nice day to be out in Edinburgh :D

  5. I would love to make my own Scottish/English breakfast but we don't have that kind of black pudding here (the main land). It's much thinner to begin with, and I'm pretty sure the filling differs as well. Maybe I should make that as well?

  6. If today was your only day in Edinburgh then you were very lucky - it was beautiful today though rain forecasted for tomorrow... Eurgh. Glad you enjoyed the haggis and breakfast. And oh my god, cullen skink - omnomnomnomnom.

    That pirate ship pie is amazing. I'm stunned...and wracked with the desire to make one.

  7. Typos are forgivable, I hope. I spend about two seconds proofreading these posts before heading out the door. Okay, I lie... I haven't been proofreading at all lately.

    I'm in another country after all. I have things to see. Places to go. Foods to eat! ;)

    Also Edinburgh is gorgeous. Someone from Scotland needs to adopt me.

  8. you really have had one wonderful vacation...

    travel home safe & i look forward to all you new posts...typos et al!!

    i gained 5 pounds thinking of all the pies i am going to be baking...i will give a try @ the strawberry/rhubarb.

  9. Dear Ms Humble. First of all: I LOVE YOUR BLOG! Oh my gosh. A few days ago I came across your Blog almost by accident. I´m from Germany and I spend my summer this year as an intern in Canada, so sometimes I have a bit too much time. So I am pretty sure that your blog will helb me over those times. I love to spend time in the kitchen and honestly, your blog is a great inspiration. Thats what I wanted to say! ;D

  10. That Strawberry Rhubarb pie looks awesome. I should make one, I rarely see anyone selling them here. Wonderful! I loved our little rhubarb patch growing up and wish I could have one now.

    And that boat is amazing. I imagine mine would sink.

  11. That ship is phenomenal! I'm not sure my culinary prowess is quite up to that level. Maybe someday...

  12. I hope you really enjoyed Edinburgh, it looks like you sampled the best of our traditional food. Your pictures are making my mouth water! Wherabouts did you eat in Edinburgh? I'd love to get recommendations from the tourist point of view rather than the resident!


  13. That looks so amazing. You seriously take such beautiful pictures I just want to crawl into them.

  14. mirax-girl,

    I'm trying to remember the names of all the places we ate at...

    Enormous Scottish and Continental breakfasts were served at the B&B (One Royal Circus) so we ate there every morning.

    The photos in the post above where from The Magnum in new town. We had a very nice dinner there, even though Little Humble melted down and we had to take turns walking her outside so not to disturb the other patrons.

    Visited Lickety Splits for Edinburgh Rock, Scottish Tablet, sugar mice and a number of other confections. I fell in love with Scottish Tablet. Going to be making that in my own kitchen very soon. Probably going to rot all my teeth out...

    For lunch the day I was holed up with the little Humble, I had Mexican takeaway which was really interesting. Not quite the same Mexican food you get over here in the States but still good. I'm really curious about the sour cream, as it was so light and airy it could pass as whip cream.

    Mr. Humble went to The Elephant House (of Harry Potter fame) that same day for lunch and had a passable meal.

    There were a few other places too, but their names escape me for the moment.

  15. The Magnum looks lovely. My other half loves whisky and beer so I think he'd agree to a meal or two there.

    I've had a few people say that our Mexican food is completely different to that in the states and Mexico. I love Mexican but I guess I love British Mexican and need to find out if I like the real thing too.

    I hope you enjoyed Edinburgh. I'm not surprised you liked tablet - it's amazing even if it is the sweetest thing in the world.


  16. Mirax-girl,

    It wasn't completely different. In fact, it was actually more familiar than some of the Mexican-style food I've had in other parts of the U.S..

    When traveling in the States, one will encounter many different regional spins on Mexican food. (For example, in Utah, I've had burrito that was more sweet than spicy. Served up with buttermilk ranch dressing, rather than sour cream.) Discussing which region does it best would probably lead to intense foodie debate.

    Your Scottish equivalent to sour cream though, that was completely exotic. I have never had anything like it. Fluffy and tangy. Pretty neat stuff.

  17. how different the breakfasts are in Scotland, Here (Israel) it is mostly fresh salad, olives, labneh and eggs.
    I tasted black pudding for the 1st time last weekend in England, that is a bit weird.

  18. I think the pirate pie is a winner..can't be art and baking combined.

  19. I love to craft and bake so the combo of both in the ship is awesome!!!! It gets my vote!!! I cant wait to replicate it!!!


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