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May Wine & Strawberry Pie


Sally McCabe, community gardener and project Coordinator the Garden Tender Program (a training program for people who want to start community gardens) for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in Philadelphia, recently baked a bunch of sweet red spring pies with goodies straight from her garden. She shares them here.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie
The pie is half strawberry and half rhubarb. It's an old-fashioned recipe. The real strawberry rhubarb has red leaves. In colonial times, the rhubarb used to make pies had red stems and was called strawberry rhubarb. In trying to duplicate the recipe, people have substituted strawberries for half the rhubarb. Some rhubarb now has green stems.

Timing is sometimes a challenge, she says, because rhubarb goes out as strawberries come in. Some years she has to gather one ingredient and freeze it until the other is in season.

Sally grows five rhubarb plants in her 4 by 8-foot plot in a Philadelphia community garden. She recently snapped off 10 stems from one plant then went looking for more to make four pies. She grows strawberries in her garden at home.

This recipe makes four pies. “It's never a good idea to make one pie. You take it out of the oven and it's gone. You have to give it to your neighbors. I have two kids and a husband. I could eat it at midnight."

Strawberry - Rhubarb Pie
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Rhubarb - remove leaves, cut stems in one-inch chunks
Strawberries - dice and taste them for sweetness or tartness
Sugar - sprinkle a couple tablespoons on the fruit to draw out their juice
Mix fruit and let it sit for a couple hours.
Fill an unbaked pie shell.
Make crumb topping from 1/3 butter, 1/3 sugar, 1/3 flour
Mix crumb up lumpy and spread over filling
Lower oven to 375 degrees and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Sally has another favorite use for strawberries.

May Wine, or Mae Bowle
Strawberries, sliced
Sweet woodruff, fresh and washed
White wine, any white wine, especially a cheap one that benefits from the flavoring
Float strawberries and sweet woodruff in wine. Let it sit for a few hours and serve cold.

“It's best when the woodruff is not quite fresh (a few hours old) and the strawberries are very sweet and very red. The woodruff is supposed to have a calming effect that enhances the effect of the alcohol. This website called it "mind-altering," but I've never gotten to that point from it! Maybe I didn't try hard enough," says Sally McCabe.

** All photos courtesy of Sally McCabe and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

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published June 04, 2006

Photos to enlarge

Diced rhubarb

Putting it together

Rhubarb in the garden

Sweet woodruff in the garden

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