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Cherry Rhubarb Pie: tapioca pearls vs. starch?

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I'm a beginner pie-maker. I've only made pumpkin and apple pie so far, and today I'm attempting my first berry pie that requires a thickener: a cherry rhubarb pie to be exact!

So the recipe I found calls for a 1/4 cup of quick-cooking tapioca. I don't have that, but I do have tapioca starch on hand from making pandan waffles. Would that work instead? Can I use the same amount or more/less?

Also, I'm wondering if I should make a lattice-top or not...

Thanks ahead of time! :)

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  1. Yes, you definitely can use tapioca starch - matter of fact, lots of bakers whir their pearls in a coffee grinder or processor to make them more floury. I would err on the low side, more like 3 tbsp.

    Lattice is fussy if you are a beginner. If you want evaporation, roll out a solid top crust, then use mini-cookie cutters - or something as simple as the tube of a funnel, or a bottle cap, to cut an overall pattern into the pastry round before placing it atop the filling.

    1. The only problem with starch is that it makes lumps, so I always make a slurry first with some of the fruit's juices. Quantities are tricky: depends on how juicy the fruit is - each fruit and even each batch of fruit can vary.

      1. On a thread here about blackberries I was making into a pie, here's what I did that resulted in a perfect pie:

        walker Sep 10, 2012 04:13 AM

        Wild success, thanks to everyone here. I've collected SO MANY recipes for crust! I had to sort through them and decide. Went with Chowser's this time, rolled out PERFECTLY. Smitten Kitchen recs grinding instant tapioca in a coffee grinder (I cleaned it out first by grinding rice; I only use this one for grinding spices but there was a little cumin that did not want to come out).

        I used 2 Tbl tapioca, made a syrup out of the blackberry juices; made a nice lattice crust on top. The second pie was a fresh peach pie and for the crust I used a recipe that called for 1 cup butter, 4 Tbl shortening (used non-hydrogenated from WF); I wanted to see if it was flakier. Used the tapioca in this one, too, lattice crust.

        Both are delicious and perfect, not too sweet.

        Thanks for all your help!