Inspired by the revival of home-made dessert pies going strong in the US, we decided to get a slice of the action by commissioning our own baking kit for our Handmade issue. Realised in marble and light wood, our pie kit came courtesy of London-based Kiwi & Pom. And because the proof is always in the pudding, we asked Melissa and Emily Elsen of Brooklyn's Four & Twenty Blackbirds to create a bespoke recipe for us. The resulting fragrant rhubarb and cardamom pie is a dreamy balance of sweet and sour, encased within a flaky butter crust. Read on for the recipe.
All-butter pie crust
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into half-inch pieces
1 cup cold water and 1/8th cup cider vinegar on ice
Stir flour, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. Add butter and coat it with flour using a spatula or bench scraper. Working quickly, cut butter into the flour with a pastry blender until mostly pea-sized pieces of butter remain (a few larger pieces are OK; do not over-blend).
Sprinkle 4tbs chilled water over the flour mixture and cut the water in with a spatula or bench scraper. When water is fully incorporated, add more water, 1-2tbs at a time, and mix until the dough comes together in a ball, with some dry bits remaining.
Squeeze and pinch with your fingertips to bring all the dough together, sprinkling dry bits with drops of chilled water if necessary to combine.
Shape into a flat disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably overnight. Wrapped tightly, dough can be refrigerated for three days or frozen for one month.
Roll out to fit the bottom of the rectangle pan, just to the edges, not over. Use the scrap to create about 20-25 lattice pieces to fit the pan width and length.
Rhubarb Cardamom filling
Combine in a large bowl:
4 to 6 cups rhubarb that has been chopped, frozen overnight and then thawed and drained of all excess liquid (freezing helps to release excess water in the rhubarb)
3tbs lemon juice
6 dashes of Old Fashioned or Angostura Bitters
3 whole eggs, beaten
In a separate bowl, sift together:
3 cups sugar
1 1/2tbs ground cardamom
1tsp ground allspice
1/2tsp ground ginger
1/4tsp ground cloves
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
5tbs arrowroot (or cornstarch)
Combine the wet ingredients with the dry. Scoop into pie shell, with most or all of the liquid - do not make the pie too watery, but the rhubarb should be just covered in the liquid. Arrange lattice on top, crimp edges in.
1 whole egg
2tbs heavy cream or milk
Brush the top of the lattice with the egg wash and sprinkle with raw (or demerara) sugar. Bake on a half sheet pan at 350°F (175°C) for 30 mins, rotate and bake for another 30-40 mins, depending on the oven strength. Look for a golden brown colour in the crust, and for the filling to be set and bubbling over.