Slow Days: Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the Fast Diet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

Pie is wonderful. In the British Isles, ‘pie’ is a savory concoction, encased in a pastry crust. In the USA, ‘pie’ means a sweetened mixture baked in a pastry shell, topped with a pastry layer or a crumb top or a lattice or with no top at all. Apple pie, cherry pie, peach pie, pecan pie, mince pie, shoo-fly pie, lemon meringue pie — all have their season. May means rhubarb pie and June brings strawberry-rhubarb pie. This combination is so fabulous that it is worth the wait for the two ‘fruits’ to come to ripeness at the same time of year. Last June, Son #2, after a few bites of Sb-R Pie, proclaimed, “This is the best pie you ever made!” I’m happy to share the recipe with you.

First you need a crust. You could buy one or make one of your favorite recipe. Don’t have a good pie recipe? Here you go. A combination of butter and lard makes a good pie crust. Please do not use vegetable shortening. I often use a crumble top or cut out shapes from the following dough to decorate the top.

2 single pie crust or 1 double pie crust
2 cups flour: 1 c. white + 1 c. white whole wheat 1 tsp saltWhisk together in a bowl.
2/3 cup lard or butterCut lard/butter into the flour with a pastry blender or 2 knives until butter is ‘the size of small peas’
5-7 Tbsp ice waterAdd water bit by bit, stirring with a fork after each addition, until dough just holds together.
Gather gently into a ball, wrap, and chill 30 mins.
Divide in two pieces. Roll each out 1/8” thick and ease the round of dough into a 9” pie plate. Trim excess around the rim, crimp edge, and fill the pie.

People used to think that you needed tons of sugar to make a rhubarb pie. Those pies would set your teeth on edge, they were that sweet. I have learned to cut down on the sugar, especially if using a crumble top, which adds sugar. Recently, at a rhubarb pie-baking contest, the judges commented often on how a pie was too sweet, which detracted from the rhubarb taste. When you add sweet strawberries, you can reduce the sugar a little more. Make sure that the strawberries are fully ripe — no white or green areas and deep red all the way to the center. This is a pie to be served warm or cool. Ice cream would be gilding the lily, wouldn’t it?

One 9” pie, serves 8Pie plate lined with pastry dough. Preheat oven to 400F.
2½ c rhubarb, sliced ½” thick
2 c. strawberries, sliced or quartered
Slice the fruit and put into a large bowl. 
7/8 c sugar
3 Tbsp flour [use 5 Tbsp if fruit was frozen] one 2-oz egg
Stir together until combined. Pour over fruit in the bowl. Stir gently to mix the thickeners with the fruit evenly. Pour into the pie plate.
Cover fruit with crumb top or top crust. Leave a gap in crust at middle of pie. Bake in center of a hot oven for 15 mins.
Turn heat down to 350F and bake until the filling bubbles in the center, about 30 mins. Cool on a rack.

Since there are only two of us at the table these days, I often make a smaller pie, 6″ in diameter. That feeds us nicely for two meals, without having to eat the same pie all week long. Happy pie making!

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