Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies, Gluten Free

There is someone in our house who worships the annual rhubarb harvest and it is not me. Because I appreciate all that this person does to make beautiful photos for the GF Canteen among other small acts of kindness, I made some Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies as a gesture of thanks. And I didn’t wince much at all.

Rhubarb is a strange stalk. It looks vaguely like it could be mistaken for a blushing celery stalk. But if someone were crazy enough to think so, then perhaps they deserve the tuna salad on rye made with the chopped red-celery poser. It has no other redeeming quality that I can see. It doesn’t turn into chocolate – it can’t be eaten raw and it certainly would not be much use in chicken soup. That it needs about forty pounds of sugar to become edible should be a clue.

Some of you might be thinking that I am maligning the rhubarb just a little too much. No judging. I’m the girl who only recently discovered that chard was not a weed. Give me a little time and a couple of good recipes and I might have a change of heart. Or not.

Fortunately the recipient of the hand pies thought they were tasty. Me? I’ll wait for the chocolate version.

I roasted the berries with the rhubarb inspired by the directions from  David Lebovitz and his tart attempt. While his roasted mixture was bright red and even a little bit fetching, mine was pale pink and more like soup. But in the end it didn’t matter. It worked out just fine. You really want that rhubarb to kind of disappear anyway, so roasting it a little bit longer at a higher heat was the right thing to do. Adding fresh berries later on helped give it back the texture I wanted for a pie filling.

You want to make the easy 3-2-1 pie crust here. If you want some extra top-dog great flavor for the hand pies, replace a little of the fat with some cream cheese – about 25% works well. This recipe uses only half the pie crust dough – you can freeze the rest. Or if you really love the rhubarb make more hand pies. There is plenty of filling to cover that.

I know people love rhubarb strawberry things so I won’t hold it against you. But, if it is all the same to you, I’m going to have to make something with chocolate very soon to make up for this step on the wild side with rhubarb.

Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies, Gluten Free
A tasty little hand pie is a great portable dessert or snack - or breakfast. For even better flavor replace some of the fat in the crust with cream cheese. It'll make the dough richer. Feel free to add more rhubarb should you love the stuff - or more berries, or different berries. Just stick to a heaping tablespoon of filling in the pies or they will have trouble staying closed. Makes about 8 hand pies. If you want to make more pies, use all the pie dough. There will be plenty of filling.
  • 2 fat and happy rhubarb stalks
  • 1 10 oz. bag frozen strawberries (organic is better)
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries (or more if you like)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca flour/starch (plus an extra teaspoon if needed)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon or giant slug of Grand Marnier
Assembly and Pie wash
  • 1 large egg
  • granulated sugar
  1. Prepare 3-2-1 pie crust as directed. Replace 25% of the fat with cream cheese if you wish. Divide dough in half. Save one half for another use (it freezes well). Set dough in refrigerator while you prepare the filling. Once the filling is ready it is time to roll the dough. Roll dough on a sheet of parchment dusted with GF flour. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour before rolling. Cut out 5" circles. (I use a container lid that serves as a guide since it is the only thing in my kitchen that is exactly 5 inches). Re-roll scraps and cut out more circles.
  1. Cut the washed rhubarb into a small dice just larger than you would for celery in a salad (but don't eat it like celery!). Toss with frozen berries, sugar, salt, tapioca flour and place in an oven proof pan. Roast at 350 for about 40 minutes or until very mushy. Cool to room temperature. If it is not thick enough, mix a teaspoon of tapioca starch with water and whisk to combine. Add that to the mixture and stir. Add the glug of Grand Marnier and stir. Cut up the fresh strawberries and stir into the mixture. It will not be totally thick, but it won't be all that runny either. And you will have way more mixture than you need but it keeps in the refrigerator or in the freezer until you want to make more pie.
Assembly and Pie Wash
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line one baking sheet with parchment.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the egg until it is well combined. Take a freshly rolled pie crust circle and place it in the palm of your hand. Brush all around the edge with the egg wash mixture. Place a tablespoon or so of the filling, making sure to get a strawberry piece or two in there - and place it toward the center of the pie circle but off to one side. Bring one side to meet the other taking it from a circle shape to a half-moon shape. Pinch the edges closed - the egg wash will help glue it together. Place the pie on the prepared parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat until all the circles are used.
  3. Slice a little vent in each pie. Brush with more egg wash and sprinkle some sugar on top. Refrigerate the pan for at least 15 minutes and more of the big chill is better than less. Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes or until the pies are bubbling and the crusts are golden brown and almost a little too brown. Cool thoroughly before serving. If the filling leaked out the edges, you didn't use enough egg wash and didn't pinch it well. Learn from my bad experiences and be sure to seal the pies well! You want the filling in the pie and bubbling out the top - not so much the edges.


  1. Like you, rhubarb is something that I tend to avoid. For years our local cafeteria served rhubarb and strawberry pie. Not once was I tempted to choose it over their chocolate pie. As a kiddo growing up my mom made the best hand pies. To this day, if I have the opportunity to have one, I will alwyas choose apriot. I look forward to trying your crust recipe with the apriot filling. Thanks for the recipes and I love the photos too. YUM!

  2. APRICOT – bad enough to type it wrong once, I did it twice.

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi Susan! No worries. I always spell stuff wrong or my phone auto corrects… Glad to meet another chocolate pie fan! And apricot filling sounds pretty great, too.

  3. I *love* rhubarb. It is my favorite. But your little essay on why you distrust it was really funny, and too accurate. Eat the leaves and it’ll kill you, supposedly. Rubarb is just not an intuitive plant to eat. I still find it amazing. I would eat one of those beautiful little hand pies in a second. I would make a dozen or two. In fact, I have some rhubarb ripening in my garden right now. Time to harvest!

  4. Big rhubarb lover here — especially with strawberries. Those look so good — will have to give them a try.

  5. Rhubarb is scary! I love the way it tastes, but the poisonous leaves are downright frightening. And the fact that they’re only poisonous in larger quantities is cold comfort. What exactly are those quantities?! I’m not gonna find out.


    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Safeway was kind enough to sell them sans leaves. They probably don’t trust people like me who might chop up the leaves thinking it was just like celery or chard…I should stick to chocolate.


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