Can I be honest – I don’t think "bad weather" in summer is possible. In Toronto, the summer gets hot, like really hot. Like days when you’re sitting on a chair in the sun, wearing your summer kilt, and you don’t want to get up because you know you’ll have to literally peel yourself off the chair. And then it gets hotter, and more humid, until you don’t want to go outside anymore because of how sticky you feel…and then it rains. And the temperature balances out, and you can go back to sitting on the beach.
I think Canadian summers are too short. Three months is not nearly enough time to visit every farmer’s market in Toronto, and yet, every August still comes as a surprise when you realize that summer is almost over.
So, as summer comes to an end, I would like to share my top five favourite things about summer:
…As you can tell, strawberry rhubarb is on my mind these days. What better way to finish a well-charred meal than with the taste of tangy strawberry rhubarb. Today I’m making hand pies using Kerr’s Strawberry Drops as the sweetener for the filling instead of sugar. The sweetness of the Strawberry Drops balances the natural tartness of the rhubarb and enhances the strawberry flavour.
I’m sad the summer is almost over but I’m excited for fall and harvest season and seeing how the garden is doing and winning the biggest zucchini contest at the Fall Fair.
1 ½ cups of all purpose flour
9 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
¼ - ½ cup cold water (as needed)
1 tsp sugar
Strawberry Rhubarb Filling
15 unwrapped Kerr's Strawberry Drops
¼ cups + 2 tbs water
1-2 tbsp butter
2 stocks of rhubarb
½ qt strawberries
1tbs corn starch
50 ml water
Sugar for sprinkling (large crystals look more artisanal)
Pour flour into a large bowl, add cubed butter. Using your hands, gently combine the butter with the flour until the chunks disappear and the flour mixture is a meal-like texture. You want work as efficiently as possible since you want the butter to stay as cold as possible.
Dissolve the sugar into the water.
Slowly pour the water into the flour/butter mixture – combining with your free hand as you pour. Only add as much water as is needed to hold the pastry together.
Remove pastry from bowl, wrap in cellophane and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
*Please note, you can use any ready-made pastry available at your local grocery store.
In a heavy bottomed pot over medium-low heat, dissolve the Kerr’s Strawberry Drops in ¼ cups water. At first the candies will want to stick together, but keep stirring, and they will eventually melt and create thick syrup (similar texture to corn syrup). Set aside.
Roughly chop the rhubarb stocks into pieces, hull and slice the strawberries.
In a large pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the rhubarb and strawberries. Warm the strawberries and rhubarb, but to not cook thoroughly – they should remain a little firm.
Add Strawberry Drop syrup.
In a small bowl, combine the corn starch with 2 tbs water, and stir until smooth. Add to the fruit mix.
Let mixture cool to room temperature.
Create an egg-wash by mixing the egg with 50 mL of water.
Roll the pastry into a large rectangle, approximately 1/8” thick.
Cut the pastry into small rectangles approximately 5” x 3” – Depending on the size you want your pies, you may choose to make your rectangles larger or smaller.
Using a pastry brush, wet the edges of the pastry rectangle with the eggwash.
Put a spoonful of the Strawberry-Rhubarb on one side of the rectangle, making sure to avoid the edges. Take the other half of the pastry and fold it over the filling, and press down firmly on the edges - you can go around the edges with a small fork to create a ruffled pattern.
Place the filled pie on a lined baking tray, brush the top with eggwash and sprinkle on sugar.
Fill the remaining pastry rectangles as per direction above.
Once all the pies are filled and on the tray, place the tray in the fridge, and let cool for at least 30 minutes.
After 20 minutes remove tray from the fridge and bake at 375ᴼ for 35 minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown.