Rhubarb Pie

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that you would see a lot of recipes inspired by the farmers’ market this summer.  Well, this is the first of those recipes.  I actually made this pie a few weeks ago, but with the school year wrapping up, I just couldn’t find the time to sit down and write the post.

As you may remember, my Grandma DeWall taught me how to make pie.  At 90-years-old, she showed me how to make her perfect crust and taught me the tricks of making an exceptional pie.  I have made a lot of pies since then, but my favorite is still the one she first showed me how to make:  rhubarb.

Some of you might say, “Rhubarb, what’s that?,” or, “Isn’t that a vegetable?”  Well, yes, rhubarb is considered to be a vegetable.  In fact, in appearance,  it resembles celery (don’t worry, not in flavor). However, when cooked down with sugar, it is a sweet-and-sour treat, and in this pie, it is divine.

Rhubarb

This pie is different from most.  It is a custard, and as a result, the filling is creamy and sturdy.  When cooked properly, the filling stands up and produces a nice, clean slice of pie.

When cooked improperly, however, the custard does not set, and instead of just having a runny pie—like you would with most fruit pies—you end up with an undercooked-custard mess.  Believe me, it has happened to me, and it is a sad situation.  To ensure that your pie is finished, take the time to fully bake it. It is my opinion that people are so nervous about the crust over-browning that they pull pies out of the oven before they are finished—or maybe that’s just me.  Cooking times for pies are not precise—especially if you’re like me and like to overfill your pies.  Be patient.  Wait until you can see the filling in the center of the pie bubbling.  Depending on the pie, this may take an hour or it could take  1 1/2 hours.  It just depends.  In my experience, it is better to leave a pie in the oven too long than too short.  Just keep the pie on the bottom rack, and if you notice the edges of your crust getting too brown, cover the edges with foil. Just do not take your pie out too early, or you will regret it!

Rhubarb Pie

From Grandma DeWall

Ingredients

  • pate brisee (pie crust)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch pieces
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Roll out half of the pate brisee.  Fit into a 9-inch pie plate.
  3. Break eggs into a bowl.  Pour sugar in with the eggs and add 6 heaping tablespoons of flour.  Mix with a spoon.  Mix in milk.  Mix in rhubarb.
  4. Pour into prepared pie crust.
  5. Roll out the other half of crust.  Cover the pie, and seal the edges (see technique here).  Brush with milk or heavy cream, and sprinkle liberally with sugar.  Cut slits in the top to allow for steam to escape.
  6. Place pie on the bottom rack of the oven.  Bake until center is bubbling and crust is browned (45-90 minutes, depending on your oven), turning pie halfway through cook-time.
  7. Allow pie to rest for at least 3 hours.
  8. Serve with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla—or crème fraîche—ice cream.
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