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What is Strawberry Rhubarb Pie?

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is a delightful dessert that marries the sweetness of strawberries with the tartness of rhubarb, encased in a flaky, buttery crust. This classic pie offers a harmonious balance of flavors that dance on the palate, making it a favorite at gatherings. Curious about its origins or how to craft the perfect slice? Let's delve deeper into this scrumptious treat.
A Kaminsky
A Kaminsky

Rhubarb, often called “pie plant,” is a fibrous vegetable in, of all things, the buckwheat family. It looks rather like dark red celery and Marco Polo raved about it from his journey to China. Rhubarb was originally grown in Asia and was first brought to the United States of America about 1790 or so. Colonists being the thrifty people they were, soon found out they could make pies with the red stems of this unusual plant. Thus, the strawberry rhubarb pie was born.

Rhubarb is extremely sour so the strawberries and added sugar help smooth out the taste. Conversely, the tartness of the rhubarb compliments the strawberry flavors. Strawberry rhubarb pie is rather like crisp or crumble — that is, it has a fruit filling with a streusel-like topping.


A basic strawberry rhubarb pie recipe requires: for the filling: 1 cup (227 grams) sugar; 3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca pearls; 1/4 teaspoon salt; 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg; 1 pound (454 grams) rhubarb, roughly chopped; 1 cup (227 grams) whole strawberries; one unbaked pie shell. The topping uses 1/3 cup (85 grams) flour; 1/3 cup (85 grams) sugar; 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg; 3 tablespoons butter, slightly softened. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 degrees Celsius).

Nutmeg is often added to strawberry rhubarb pie.
Nutmeg is often added to strawberry rhubarb pie.

For the filling, combine the sugar, tapioca, salt and nutmeg in a mixing bowl. Add rhubarb and strawberries; mix to coat the fruit. Let stand about 20 minutes. Pour the mixture into the pie shell. To mix the topping, combine topping ingredients, cutting in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle mixture on top of pie filling. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

Butter is part of a traditional strawberry rhubarb pie.
Butter is part of a traditional strawberry rhubarb pie.

Cooks have also made pies of just rhubarb. In her book “The First Four Years,” author Laura Ingalls Wilder recalls making a rhubarb pie for the threshing crew (she refers to it as “pie plant”). In her hurry to get the meal cooked, she neglected to put sugar into the pie and was mortified when one of the threshers lifted up the pie crust on his piece and spread sugar on top. “Pie plant was so sour,” she writes, “And that first bite must have been simply awful.”

For all its tartness, however, rhubarb boasts great fiber and Vitamin C content. This makes it ideal for use in a variety of applications, not merely in strawberry rhubarb pie. It can be used in sauces and in salad dressings for a tart kick of flavor. It can also be made into jams or preserves, used in cakes and muffins and even as a base for wine. Who knew the humble rhubarb plant was so versatile?

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Discussion Comments


There is a bakery close to my house where you can buy strawberry rhubarb pie. I looked at it for years before I ever bought one because I had never had this kind of pie before and I didn't think I would like rhubarb. But I ended up trying some at a friend's house and loved it immediately.

I loved it so much that I went down to the bakery the very next day and bought myself a fresh pie. Only two days later it was gone. Between my husband and I we could not get enough. Now I probably buy a pie once every two weeks. If it wasn't so bad for my waistline I would buy one every week.


I grow fresh strawberries in the summer time and I love to harvest a big crop of berries and make a fresh strawberry rhubarb pie. The flavor is completely different if you use fresh berries. The flavor is so bright and fresh tasting, it is like a burst of sunshine in your mouth.


Strawberry and rhubarb pie is one of my very favorites. I wish it was more popular because lots of places with large pie selections don't carry it. You pretty much have to make your own if you are hungry for a slice.

Luckily I have an amazing recipe for strawberry rhubarb pie that I was give by my grandmother. She was actually kind of legendary for her versions and used to win prizes at the county fair all the time.

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    • Strawberries.
      By: Anna Kucherova
    • Nutmeg is often added to strawberry rhubarb pie.
      By: Thomas Francois
      Nutmeg is often added to strawberry rhubarb pie.
    • Butter is part of a traditional strawberry rhubarb pie.
      By: Igor Kovalchuk
      Butter is part of a traditional strawberry rhubarb pie.