Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ohhh, Rhubarb.

My sweet niece.

I'm not a pie maker but I always thought I should be. My parent's owned a restaurant growing up and, by default, my sister ended up being the pie maker for the place. She was three years older and I was a mere junior high school student. It made sense at the time and she could bust out a dozen pies in no time.

I was never a pie eater either - until recently. I just always thought pies were pretty and looked hard to make.

All that changed a few years ago while visiting my grandma. I was going through all her recipes, like I usually do, and came to a Rhubarb Custard pie with a "pat-in-pan" crust and a crumbly, brown sugar topping. She had a rhubarb plant so we picked some and I got to work.

The "pat-in-pan" crust was made up of no more than flour, sugar, milk and oil (not shortening) and the filling was also only a few ingredients of rhubarb, eggs, flour and sugar. The crumbled topping was just as simple.

When that pie came out of the oven and I tasted my first bite, I fell in love with that pie. It launched a love of everything rhubarb. It was so tart, yet so sweet.

I'm currently trying to grow my own since I've been known to steal it out of people's yards. (Yes it's true. I currently have a fridge full of the stuff because I did it just yesterday...ok, the house was vacant, but still. It's like gold to me! )

So, since it's that time of year, I thought I'd share my grandma's recipe for those who also love the tart taste of fresh rhubarb, but aren't particularly a stellar pie maker either. It also has this cool, rustic look after baking which I've always appreciated. Enjoy!

1 1/2 c plus 3 Tbl flour   3 Tbl cold milk
1/2 c oil                         1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar

Place flour, sugar and salt in pie pan and mix with fingers until blended. In measuring cup, combine oil and milk; beat with fork until cream. Pour mixture all at once over flour mix stir with fork until moistened. Pat the dough with your fingers. First up the sides; then across bottom. Flute edges. Shell is ready to fill.

1 cup sugar                    1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbs flour                     3 cups diced rhubarb
2 eggs well-beaten

Pour sugar and egg mixture over rhubarb in un-baked pie shell.

Crumble Topping:
1/4 c flour 1/2 tsp all spice
1/4 c butter 1/2 c walnuts
1/4 c brown sugar

Sprinkle over top of rhubarb mixture and bake 375 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

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