Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Pies

Strawberry season is beginning in New England so I wanted to start it off with a gelatin twist on a strawberry standard- The Strawberry Rhubarb pie.

The concept was inspired by Tricia Holda who challenged me to make something fitting for her creative rustic wedding up in Smolak Farms.  What's more fitting for a barn wedding than teeny tiny gelatin pies made with fresh strawberries, a rhubarb simple syrup, vanilla pudding, butter, vanilla and citron vodkas, and Fragoli wild strawberry liqueur.

Photo by Antony Eng
This was one of the longest gels in the making.  Tricia first approached me in January with the idea of rustic-themed edible cocktails for her wedding. When she mentioned pies, I was both inspired and hesitant. I am not a sculptor by nature and I wasn't sure how to make the original positive from which I'd make the molds. But, like most things, being asked to do  things out of my comfort zone leads to the greatest growth.  And it doesn't hurt to enlist those who are artistically gifted. 

Thus enters Emily Bao.  We met happenstance at Cakeology (no relation to Gelology) and have been skill trading. She is a genius with cakes and french macarons. You might have seen here on the most recent episode of Cupcake Champions on the Food Network where contestants were challenged to make Glee themed cupcakes.  She made tiny taco macarons to top the cupcakes that looked and, I bet, tasted amazing.

Working together, me in clay and her with piping fondant, we came up with some various pie shapes and from there I made the molds. 

For the recipe, I played around with combinations of strawberry puree, strawberry liqueur, rhubarb syrup and citron vodka gave the best flavor.  I wanted the gelatin crust to reflect that buttery flavoring so a little butter and buttershots achieved that. Now that I am working with a electronic balance to measure mass vs. volume in my recipes, I can be much more accurate with flavor balance.  

To be authentic, these gels needed to have the strawberry gelatin filled inside the gel crust. Scooping, filling and layering seemed daunting. And it is.  I tried a couple other techniques to no avail.  Until I can devise another system these pies it'll have to do.

The final step was piping on some more of the strawberry gelatin in the cross hatch spaces. 

Here they are, fresh out of the refrigeration Strawberry Rhubarb Pies. No need to cool them on the window sill.

Let the strawberry season commence!

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