"It is a well-known fact that President Obama loves pie," Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses writes in the First Lady's new book...
The talents of the White House chefs are on full display in First Lady Michelle Obama's new book American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America, now available in bookstores. Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses was one of America's most acclaimed pastry chefs before he joined the White House staff during the Bush Administration in 2007, and he provides four new recipes for Mrs. Obama's book, including one that features both tangy and sweet ingredients from Mrs. Obama's garden: Rhubarb Strawberry Crumble Pie. (Above: This photo of Mrs. Obama and Yosses in the White House kitchen is in the book)
Since they moved into the White House, both President Obama and Mrs. Obama have hailed Yosses' skills as a pie maker. Early on, the President said that the pie was one of the best things about his new life at 1600 Penn, and nicknamed Yosses "The Crustmaster." The First Couple have served Yosses' pies at some of their most important dinners, including the State Dinner for China in January of 2011, when Old Fashioned Apple Pie was the dessert. Pie is served at all Obama holiday celebrations, including for the President's birthday.
"It is a well-known fact that President Obama loves pie, and in the pastry kitchen we rack our brains trying to create new combinations," Yosses writes about his recipe in American Grown. "You can replace the strawberries with blackberries, apples, peaches or nectarines; the tart rhubarb goes well with any of those sweet fruits."
The crumble--not to be confused with Yosses' previously released recipe for Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp--is fairly easy to make, but it requires either two hours or overnight refrigeration for the pie dough immediately after it is made. Another half hour in the freezer is called for during preparation. The recipe serves 6 to 8, depending on portion size.
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For the pastry
1 Cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small ( 1/2 inch) cubes, plus additional butter for greasing the pie plate
2 1/2 leveled Cups all-purpose flour
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp sugar
5 Tbsp cold water
For the filling
4 Cups rhubarb, washed, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
2 Cups fresh strawberries, rinsed, patted dry and hulled
1/2 Cup turbinado or raw sugar sugar
1/2 Cup honey
1 Tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 Tsp salt
6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
For the topping
1 Cup all-purpose flour
2/3 Cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 Cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1. For the crust: Butter a 10-inch pie plate (Ed. note: But not until you are ready to bake the pie)
2. Freeze the butter cubes for 10 minutes.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, salt and sugar on low speed. Add the cold butter and mix, using short on-and-off bursts, until the dough has the consistency of coarse cornmeal. If there are a few larger pieces of dough, that’s fine.
4. Add the water in a slow stream until the dough forms a ball and then stop mixing. Invert the dough on to a work surface and finish mixing by hand, sprinkling a little more flour on it if necessary. The dough will be mealy and uneven with spots of butter. Push down into a 2-inch-thick disc. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.
5. Remove the dough from the fridge and sprinkle the work surface and a rolling pin with a little flour (about a tablespoon) to prevent sticking. Roll the dough out to a large rectangle and then fold it over on itself like a book. Reroll out to a 14-inch circle, about 1/8 to a 1/4 inch thick. Roll the dough onto the rolling pin, center the pin over the pie plate, and gently unroll the dough over the prepared plate. Ease the dough onto the plate and fit it to the sides; cut away excess with a scissors and flute the edges.
6. Place the piecrust in the freezer for about 30 minutes to firm up the dough.
7. Make the filling: In a large bowl, gently combine the rhubarb and strawberries. Add the turbinado sugar, honey, vanilla and salt and toss lightly.
8. Sift the flour over the top, stir in to evenly coat the fruit, and set aside.
9. Make the topping: In an electric mixer or food processor, mix the flour, brown sugar and oats. Add the butter and mix or pulse briefly until clumps form.
10. Position the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the piecrust from the freezer.
11. Pour the fruit mixture into the crust and sprinkle evenly with the topping. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment (for easier cleanup) and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the pie is bubbling and the pastry golden brown.
*Serves 6-8, depending on portion size.
Check the sidebar of the blog for all previously released White House recipes. CLICK HERE for links to all posts about American Grown. CLICK HERE for links to all posts about the Kitchen Garden. CLICK HERE for all Let's Move! posts.
Photos by Quentin Bacon; reprinted from American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America by Michelle Obama. Copyright © 2012 by the National Park Foundation. Published by Crown, a division of Random House, Inc.