Originally published in Saveur, this recipe for strawberry rhubarb pie was made famous when it was highlighted on Oprah in a feature about Cindy Crawford, in my view the world's sexiest supermodel, past or present.
But before I get to the pie, let's just talk about Cindy for a moment. Is there a girl in the '80s or '90s who didn't want to be her? Seriously, after watching her iconic Pepsi ad I spent hours in front of a mirror trying to coax my hair into those lovely tousled waves. Wish I could say I was successful but in reality I just ended up looking like an escapee from the local sanitorium.
And Cindy today - still looking great well into her 40s and after 2 kids. After I saw this reprise of the classic Pepsi ad I was tempted for a moment to pull out my old Daisy Dukes but thankfully a stray glimpse of my rear end in the mirror instantly changed my mind. Sigh.
But I digress - we are here to talk about pie, not my ever-expanding caboose.
While I love Cindy, I wasn't convinced that she was a master pie maker extraordinaire but what actually intrigued me was the crust - it's made with oil instead of butter or shortening. I had my doubts but ultimately the allure of a pie crust free of saturated and trans-fats won me over and when I received fresh strawberries and rhubarb in my CSA box last week I knew the time had come.
I was impressed when the crust came together in seconds but I feared for the worst when I realized how tough it was - it took so much elbow grease to get it into a rough circle for the bottom crust that I decided to go with a lattice top.
Worried I'd have to dump the whole thing in the garbage I put it in the oven and hoped for the best. A couple of hours later I said a silent prayer as I cut into the pie in front of G and my parents and then stood silently as they took their first bite.
The crust was sturdy and the filling was wet but the combination was perfect - definitely a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Hell, it was scrumptious!
So thanks to Cindy and to Saveur, and to Ms Louise Piper, a home baker who won a blue ribbon in the 1997 Iowa State Fair with this pie. You can find the recipe here.