Tag Archives: rhubarb

RHUBARB STRAWBERRY PIE

It’s actually a little late in the season for rhubarb, but I saw some in the market. It looked so good, that I bought it along with a quart of strawberries. To my way of thinking, rhubarb and strawberries make a perfect combination – in a sauce, a cake, or a tasty pie.

I have great memories of eating raw rhubarb straight out of my grandmother’s garden. I pulled off the leaves, peeled the skin from the flat side of the stalk, shook on some salt, and ate the whole thing, shaking on more salt as I went. My grandmother cautioned me not to eat the leaves as they were poisonous. That was good advice because rhubarb leaves are rich in oxalic acid (along with greens like sorrel) and oxalic acid can precipitate in the kidneys causing kidney failure. The stalks have oxalic acid, too, but not so much to be dangerous. That was good for me as a child. I was never poisoned, but I often had a belly ache.

The recipe I used is based on one from that great baking book, The Fanny Farmer’s Baking Book by Marion Cunningham (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1984)

RECIPE

Rhubarb Strawberry Pie

Ingredients

  • 4 large stalks rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 3/8 inch dice
  • 1 quart strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pie dough for a two-crust pie, rolled into two circles for a 9-inch pie (commercial prepared pie crust is perfect)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • turbinado sugar

Method

  1. In a large bowl, combine the diced rhubarb and slice strawberries and set aside.
  2. In another large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, salt, and vanilla extract. Stir in the rhubarb and strawberries, mixing gently until the fruit is well coated (I know – rhubarb is technically not a fruit)
  3. Line a 9-inch pie pan with one of the circles of dough. Distribute the filling mixture evenly.
  4. Cut the butter into 16 pieces and dot the top of the filling.
  5. Cover with the second circle of dough. Seal and crimp the edges. Cut several vents in top crust.
  6. Mix thoroughly the egg and milk. Using a pastry brush, paint the mixture on the crust and then sprinkle with turbinado sugar
  7. Bake in the middle of an oven preheated to 450°F for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 35 minutes. Anticipate spillovers by placing the pie pan on a cookie sheet.
  8. When the crust is golden brown, remove from the oven and cool on a baking rack.
  9. Serve warm, preferably with a scoop of ice cream.

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RHUBARB PIE

What’s not to like about rhubarb pie? I can already hear you saying, “The rhubarb.”  The world seems to be divided into two camps: those (like me) who love rhubarb, and those who would rather eat just about any other fruit or vegetable.

As the stalk of a huge leaf, rhubarb is actually a vegetable even though it is classified by some as a fruit. It really can function as either one. When I was growing up, my grandmother had several huge clumps of rhubarb (often called “pie plant” in those days) growing in her back yard. A new crop of rhubarb was one of the first signs of spring, and I would delight in breaking off a stalk and, with salt shaker in hand, eating the whole thing like a rib of celery. The acidy, citrusy taste made my mouth pucker, a sensation loved by small children. It was a great treat.

Of course, I was warned by most of the adults not to eat the leaves, as they were supposed to be poisonous. I have later learned that the acid taste as well as the poisonous aspect of the plant is due to oxalic acid, which also accounts for the tart taste of sorrel and spinach. Indeed, if you eat too much, the usually water-soluble form of oxalic acid can precipitate as an insoluble calcium salt in your kidneys and cause kidney stones or even kidney failure. Medical alert aside, the amount of rhubarb eaten by a small child in one sitting is not likely to be harmful unless it includes those toxic leaves.

By far, though, the main use for rhubarb is as a fruit in sauces, compotes, jams, and the quintessential pie. To make all of that work, you need to use a lot of sugar, and that is probably one reason that rhubarb has fallen out of favor in our current sugar-conscious (note that I didn’t say sugar-averse: think canned soft drinks) society. If you are able to get over that hurdle, the color and flavor of cooked rhubarb continue to make it a springtime treat.

I found some beautiful stalks of rhubarb at the farmers’ market this last weekend, so I decided to make a rhubarb pie.

RECIPE

Rhubarb Pie

Ingredients

  • Pie dough for a 9 inch two-crust pie (use your own recipe or, as I did, cheat and use ready-made sheets)
  • about 6 to 8 stalks of fresh rhubarb (enough for 5 cups of ¼ inch to ½ inch pieces)
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into 32 pieces
  • cream
  • turbinado sugar

Method

  1. Follow instruction for preparing pie dough. Roll out or prepare two dough circles big enough for a 9 inch pie. Line a 9 inch glass pie pan with one of the circles, trimming the dough along the edge of the pie pan.
  2. Cut the rhubarb into ¼ to ½ inch pieces and place them in a large bowl.
  3. Combine the sugar, flour, salt, and vanilla in another bowl, mixing well. Add the mixture to the rhubarb and mix so that the rhubarb is completely coated.
  4. Fill the pie shell with the rhubarb mixture. Dot with the bits of butter. Cover with the second circle of pie dough, trimming, tucking under the other crust, and crimping.
  5. With a pastry brush, paint the top of the pie with cream. Do not paint the crimped edge. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar, and cut several vents.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes in the middle of an oven preheated to 450°F. Reduce the temperature to 350°F and continue baking for 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
  7. Cool on a baking rack. Best when served warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

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RHUBARB AND STRAWBERRY PIE

A few weeks ago, that great blog, Baking with Sibella,  http://bakingwithsibella.wordpress.com/ featured a beautiful rhubarb and strawberry galette. More recently, Sibella has shown us how to make a rhubarb and strawberry sauce. Such inspiration!

I remember days in my grandmother’s back yard in the spring. She had three very old and very large rhubarb plants growing under a huge cottonwood tree. The leaves of the rhubarb were enormous – and of course inedible – but the children would pick a stalk, pull off the outer rind, sprinkle a little salt, and then pucker up our mouths from the sour-salt taste. That was fun while we waited for the sweet rhubarb pie.

Rhubarb has been a feature of our local farmers market for several weeks, and strawberries are just now becoming available. It’s the beginning of summer, and I think of rhubarb as a harbinger of spring. Never mind that my seasons are messed up, rhubarb and strawberry pie seems like the perfect thing to bake right now, so here goes:

RECIPES

Pie Crust

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/3 cup ice water

Method

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Then cut in the shortening with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles fine crumbs
  • Stir in the ice water using a fork to combine. Pull together any loose crumbs, and pat the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Pie crust mix after cutting in the vegetable shortening

Rhubarb and Strawberry Filling

Stalks of rhubarb

Diced rhubarb

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups rhubarb (6 to 10 stalks, depending on siz), cut crosswise in ½ inch pieces
  • 1 quart strawberries, washed and hulled

Fresh strawberries

Sliced strawberries

Method

  • In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, salt, and vanilla extract.
  • Add the rhubarb and strawberries. Mix well

Final Assembly

Ingredients

  • pie dough and filling from above
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water
  • 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar

Baked pie on the cooling rack

Method

  • Preheat oven to 450°
  • Remove the prepared pie dough from the refrigerator. Divide in half.
  • Roll out one half of the dough into a circle large enough to line a 9 inch pie pan
  • Roll out the remaining half of the dough for the top crust.
  • Transfer the rhubarb and strawberry mixture to the empty pie shell.
  • Dot the top of the filling with the butter and cover with the top crust. Crimp the edges of the pie and cut off any extra dough.
  • Cut several vents in the top crust. Paint the top lightly with the egg white mixture using a pastry brush. Then sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.
  • Bake at 450° for 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350° for 40 minutes longer or until done. Be sure to have a pan on a lower shelf of the oven to catch any drips. If the edge of the crust gets too dark before the pie is baked, shield it with a ring of aluminum foil.
  • Cool on a baking rack.

Ready to eat

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