Aunt Suzy says . . .

My Mom, a.k.a. Granny, is a great pie baker of the traditional persuasion.  What I mean is that she had a few basic pie recipes – nothing fancy – that she was well known for because they were so outstanding.  Growing up I didn’t appreciate this because I definitely liked cake better than pie.  If I did like pie, it was the cream or custard variety where I’d eat the filling out and leave the crust. Now it’s the opposite!  I prefer pie, love the crust and fruit filling trumps cream/custard.  When rhubarb season rolls around it heralds the fruit pie-baking season for me.  Last year, we posted all kinds of fancy rhubarb dessert recipes.  Time to appreciate the basic approach of this timeless and classic rhubarb pie.

Margaux says…

This is one of my favorite pies!  I don’t think I’ve ever actually made it, but mainly because I haven’t needed to…you can usually bet that there will be one of these at my Dad’s house this time of year, and more than once, sort of like apple pie in the fall.  So if I get a craving, I can just invite myself to dinner.  But I completely agree with Aunt Suzy…sometimes a basic, classic pie just totally hits the spot.  And this one fits the bill!

This recipe is geared to a 9-inch pie plate.  Adjust quantities up or down for other sizes.  Line the oven bottom with foil and preheat to 425°.

Ingredients

Your favorite pie crust for a 2-crust pie (see Margaux’s)

3-4 cups rhubarb

1 scant cup sugar

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons butter, in chunks

NOTE ON THE AMOUNT OF SUGAR:  We like our rhubarb pies on the tart side, adding less sugar to the filling and then sugaring the top crust. You will want to add a little more sugar to the filling if you like things on the sweeter side.

Instructions

Roll out half the crust and line the pie plate with it.  Mix the rhubarb, sugar, orange zest and flour in a bowl and turn into the crust.  Dot with the butter chunks – don’t forget!  I can’t tell you how many times Granny or I have had to poke the butter through the holes in the top crust.  🙂

Place the top crust over the filling.  Crimp the edges and then cut slits in the top crust.  If you want to get fancy, you can cut a beautiful pattern into it.  Margaux’s other Grandma had a lovely traditional family pattern that she used.  My Mom took a more practical approach, cutting a few slits to make sure the steam escaped.  Sprinkle sugar over the top crust.

Place the pie in the pre-heated oven.  Bake at 425° for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350° and bake for another 30-45 minutes until done.  (Electric ovens seem to finish closer 30 minutes, gas ovens take longer.  Start checking after 30 min.) Don’t forget to turn the heat down after the 15 minutes!

Enjoy warm or room temperature, plain or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  And don’t forget to leave some for breakfast (of champions)!

Rhubarb Custard Pie

June 2, 2010

Aunt Suzy says

Are we rhubarb crazy?  Yes!!!!!!  Randy and I got together with friends Al and Sue Eklund Sunday for a holiday celebration and to play Sequence.  We’ve determined this is our summer game of choice which we play on their great screened-in porch.  (We play Oh, Hell for some reason in the winter only.)  The Eklunds have a beautiful rhubarb patch at the bottom of the hill in their garden, along with several  peony bushes. 

Sue made this custard version of rhubarb pie, which ran in our paper in May of 2007.  From the article:  “Midwesterners love their rhubarb pie straight up (strawberries are better left for shortcake), and if you try this recipe, we think you’ll agree.”  We thought it was delicious!   Do you agree with the sentiment about straight up rhubarb pie or do you prefer yours with strawberries?

Ingredients

1 to 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar, to taste

3/4 cup flour

Dashes of ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg

Pinch of salt

3 eggs, slightly beaten

6 cups chopped rhubarb

Pastry for 1 double-crust pie

1 to 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl.  Add the eggs and rhubarb, tossing to coat.  Pour all into a 9-inch shallow pie plate, lined with the bottom crust of the pastry.   Dot with the butter and top with a lattice crust, which you can learn how to do with this video if you’ve never made one.  (like me!)  Bake for 50-60 minutes, until filling bubbles and crust is golden brown.  I asked my friend Sue to share her thoughts and tips about making this pie.

Sue’s tips

I’ll take my rhubarb straight up – no strawberries!  I substituted Pappy’s frozen crusts for “real” crusts made from scratch.  Cal Garner ( my dad/chef) used to say they are “almost” as good as scratch!  And they save time.  I sprinkled sugar and cinnamon on the crust before baking and used pie crust shielding strips to protect the edges.