Perfect Rhubarb Pie


 I love this recipe for Perfect Rhubarb Pie because it’s so simple. Added bonus: Vodka crust!

Growing up, I didn’t eat a lot of rhubarb.

Maybe there wasn’t a lot of rhubarb in West Texas as that time because fruits and vegetables didn’t fly around the world like they do today.

Perhaps Papa Daddy didn’t like rhubarb. Or it might not have been on Aba’s radar screen. Regardless, I found rhubarb late in life and I fell in love.

My favorite way to enjoy rhubarb is, like most people, in a pie. I love this recipe for Perfect Rhubarb Pie because it’s so simple. Tart, but sweet (like me!). I know the recipe looks long and involved, but that’s the fault of the delicious Vodka Crust. Use a refrigerated pie crust, if you prefer.

I’m going to be taking some time off to pursue some other writing projects. I’ll be posting some of my previous recipes with (much) better images. I’ll be checking my email so please leave comments, suggestions and share my recipes (please!).

Thanks for the fun.

National Ice Cream Pie Day: Banana & Toffee Ice Cream Pie


Yippee! Today’s National Ice Cream Pie Day!

Banana and Toffee Ice Cream Pie-Mama's High Strung

This is a serious holiday, folks, so before we move forward, here’s a little ice cream info you should have in your foodie-knowledge arsenal from the Ice Cream History website:

1. In 1851, the industrial production of ice cream began in Boston, Massachusetts.

2. The average American consumes almost 50 pints of ice cream in a year.

3. Vanilla is the most popular flavor of ice cream, followed by chocolate and strawberry.

4. More ice cream is sold on Sunday than any other day of the week.

5. It takes 12 gallons of milk to make 1 gallon of ice cream.

Now, back to the party.

I love the banana ice cream recipe in Jeni Britton Bauer’s cookbook “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home.” I changed it a bit and added an extra banana for more flavor-wow and threw in some chopped English toffee for a bit of a crunch. You will need an ice cream maker for this recipe.

Wilton’s Mini Pie Pan is absolutely perfect for making individual pie servings. I used my favorite vodka piecrust recipe, but you can use Pillsbury Ready-to-Bake Piecrust sheets to make it easier.

A lot of effort, I know. But this day only comes once a year… so give it all you’ve got!

Like this? Try this: Easy Ice Cream Peach Pie 

Plated + Served: Black and Red Raspberry Tart


Black raspberries are truly the precious gems of the summer.

Their harvesting season is limited to about three weeks during the year and, poor things, once they’re picked, they are so fragile, they don’t hang around too long.

But if you move lickety-split quickly, you can make a delicious tart using one of summer’s more fleeting berries. The pastry cream and sweet ripe red raspberries in this dish beautifully balance the subtle tartness of the black raspberries.

Once again, I used my Vodka Crust recipe. Yes, it takes a little longer to make the dough from scratch, but the black raspberries took 49 weeks to get here… I think they deserve a little extra attention!


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Mushroom and Cheese Tart with Vodka Crust


Made this nifty tart over the weekend with morel mushrooms. Guess you can tell by the image that these are NOT morel mushrooms.

The Fam devoured the morel tart and demanded another. But with morels so crazy expensive, I opted for sliced crimini mushrooms instead.

Just as beautiful. Just as delicious. Oh, and it has a vodka crust… always a plus in my book.

Mushroom Tart with Vodka Crust

Mushroom and Cheese Tart with Vodka Crust

prep: 90 minutes (includes dough resting time)
cook: 1 hour

for the dough you’ll need…
1¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch slices
1/4 cup cold solid vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
2 tablespoons vodka, cold
2 tablespoons cold water
for the filling you’ll need…
4 tablespoons butter, divided
8 cups fresh sliced mushrooms, divided
1 5.2 oz. Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs Gournay cheese
1 tablespoon fresh thyme

let’s get to it…
for the dough…
Mix half the flour and salt in a food processor for 2-seconds. Add the butter and shortening and pulse about 10 to 15 times or until dough looks like cottage cheese and there is no loose flour; scrape bowl. Add remaining flour and pulse 5 or 6 times.
Remove dough from food processor and place in a medium bowl. Sprinkle vodka and water over dough and fold until dough sticks together and all liquid is absorbed. Flatten dough into a 4-inch disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. (You’ll still be able to see little pieces of butter in the dough).
Heat half of the butter in a large skillet on medium-high for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms in a single layer, with a little space in between. Do not stir.
Cook until bottoms are lightly browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the mushrooms with a spatula and cook 2 minute longer; remove from pan. Repeat with the remaining butter and mushrooms; set aside.
Move oven rack to the second lowest position. Preheat oven to 425°F.
Dust rolling pin and work surface with flour. Remove dough disk from refrigerator. Roll dough in a circle to a uniform thickness (about ⅛-to-¼-inch thick), about 1-inch larger than an upside down 10 or 12-inch tart pan. Place rolled-out dough into tart pan and press gently into form of plate. Use excess dough to mend any sports or holes in dough. Prick the bottom and sides of the dough so you can “blind bake” the crust.*
Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes.
Spread Boursin cheese onto bottom of slightly warm tart. Top with mushrooms and thyme. If crust appears to brown too quickly, cover with a piece of foil.
Bake for 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

*Blind baking, also called pre-baking, is baking a crust without the filling. You do this when the filling has a shorter bake time than the crust. Also helps the crust from becoming soggy. You can prick the bottom and sides of the crust so it keeps its shape during baking. A better idea is to line the unbaked pie crust with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie-weights. Dried beans or lentils work well, too.

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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: