likes LOVES rhubarb. He will eat it raw, cooked, baked in a pie,
slathered on toast as jam, ice cream (if he could find it… ) – just about any way you can get it. So long as it is all by itself. He doesn’t care too much if it’s accompanied by any other food, but he loves rhubarb, plainly – allowed to shine all by itself.
In fact, when we surveyed our garden – once we had the keys to our home here, he was thrilled and ecstatic that there just happened to be one lonely rhubarb plant growing along the fence, with long stalks of green rhubarb – certainly enough to make a pie with! Alas, we missed the rhubarb the first year. I didn’t pick it, because I’m not too crazy about rhubarb, and he just happened to be gone before we could pick it at its peak.
This year, we though his work would allow him to be here until at least July, which meant he could enjoy his rhubarb! But then, things change and as world events unfolded, he was forced to leave his rhubarb plant behind. Of course, in the time between last year’s rhubarb and this year’s rhubarb, I had managed to group a few recipes together so I can make some great dishes and baked goods starring rhubarb, … but it just seems that we are not meant to be making him anything with rhubarb when it is in season.
So instead, I decided that I would practice this year while he is gone, so I can only make him the best of the bunch. Armed with this new determination, I told a friend of mine – whose husband just happens to be friends with my husband, my plans for rhubarb when she loudly and happily proclaimed that she loves rhubarb as well! Horrah! We headed to the market on the next available market day and managed to find the rhubarb that we picked out for the rhubarb vodka and got a few extra stalks so we would have plenty left to make a pie with.
After a day of making beef jerky, I decided I would make the pie. I even had a new pie crust recipe I wanted to try out ( I still havent found one that I would stand next to… sad faces!) just for the occasion! But my trusty, lovely tangerine colored KitchenAid Stand Mixer went kaput! which left me pushing an empty cart through the grocery store with Mei, frantically searching for just one small can of confidence to take home. We came up empty-handed – as you may have guessed already, and headed home to make our dear friend a pie. But we did leave the grocery store with a box of Pillsbury Pie Dough.
sugar snowing on the rhubarb, to macerate!
I know, I know! Why this Pillsbury?? I’m in mourning over my KitchenAid! It’s gone! (at least temporarily) It’s out of business! It’s possibly pushin’ up daisies!! On top of which I struggled a bit with a strawberry cake I was in the middle of making when my mixer decided to go mute. So instead of trying out two new recipes going into one pie, I just focused on the rhubarb pie filling.
It turned out beautifully! Now, bein’ that I made a pie, in a regular sized pie tin, I didn’t cut out a piece for myself, I gave my friend the whole pie – as promised. I would have taken out a piece for myself, but as previously mentioned, I’m not too crazy about rhubarb. So I left it whole. But I have it on good authority that the rhubarb had just the perfect balance between the sweet and tart – which was good news because I left out 1/4 C of sugar to make it a little more tart than most people like.
We decided to deliver the pie in the early evening, but discovered our friends would be playing in a softball game with other friends of ours, so we agreed to meet them there. Mei and I carefully cut out shapes and decorated the top, rather successfully, and in the spirit of the past weekend, with stars! Proudly handing it over, we told her about the new recipe and how it was just rhubarb… “oooh. JUST rhubarb?” She said with a little hesitation.
Oh no! Wasn’t that clear in our earlier conversations at the market? I hope she will still want the pie! … great. Will she even still want to be my friend? Take in any more baked goods in the future??…. my internal monologue was spinning out of control when…
“Is that ok? Did you want strawberries in it? I still have a pound and a half of strawberries so if you don’t like this one, I will gladly make you one with both strawberries and rhubarb.” I said
“No, no, I’m sure this one will be delicious. It’s just that I was expecting strawberry rhubarb, so now, ’til I get home, I will just get excited for just rhubarb. I have never had a pie with just rhubarb in it before!” She explained.
Whew! Ok. Crisis diverted. We have a Plan B AND she wants to take the first attempt home and eat it. Good to go! I asked her to be painfully honest about the pie once she does get a chance to eat a slice and we would make adjustments from there.
Mei and I dropped in to visit with her this afternoon when she exclaimed how she loved the pie! The “just rhubarb” pie went over beautifully! Thank goodness! So I am going to work on my pie crust recipe another time with another pie, but the filling recipe was great! I used rhubarb stalks that were half red and half green, trying to come out with a tart pie. Use as much or as little rhubarb as you like. I will include the pie crust recipe I was going to try, but you can disregard it and buy ready-made pie dough if you like.
Ingredients for the crust:
- 1- 3/4 C flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 10 TBS cold butter, cut into pieces
- 1 TBS vegetable shortening
First, sift together the flour and salt into a bowl. Use two knives to work the butter and shortening into the flour until it resembles a coarse meal.
Sprinkle in up to 5 TBS of ice water, stirring dough with a fork until it just begins to hold together. Press the dough into a rough ball and transfer to lightly floured surface. Divide into two balls, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Ingredients for the Filling:
- 1 Lb or 6C of rhubarb, cut into 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 1/4 C or 1 1/2 C sugar, to taste (I went with the lower end)
- 4TBS flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
Put the rhubarb, sugar, flour and salt into a medium bowl, then use your hands or a spoon to toss it all together and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 450F/225C. Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, rolling into two 12 inch rounds. Fit one round into a 9 inch pie plate and add the rhubarb mixture. Cover the pie with the remaining round. Fold the edges of the dough under and crimp the edges. Make three to four slits at the top, allowing for steam to escape – or stamp pretty designs along the top crust.
so beautifully golden!
Bake for 15 mins then reduce the heat to 350F/180C and rotate the pie plate and continue to bake until the crust is golden – about 25-30 minutes more. Set aside to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.