Looking back at all of my Eating posts, I realized I have never done a sweet! How could that be? I love sweets, I live for sweets, I dream of sweets. Every spring I start craving rhubarb pie. I grew up in Southern California, rhubarb does not grow in Southern California. The first time I had rhubarb was spring in my second year of college. I was visiting a friend's family in Vermont and her mom picked fresh rhubarb from the garden. Not much was growing yet, but rhubarb is one of the first plants to come back to life after the long winter freeze. She baked it into a simple rhubarb pie and we ate it with vanilla ice cream. The fresh, tart taste of the pie tasted like spring itself and I fell in love. Now I am a rhubarb purist. Save your apples and strawberries for something else, straight rhubarb pie is the best. Here is my recipe...
2 cups flour
2 sticks butter, chilled
2 tbsp sugar
2 eggs, separated
zest of 1 lemon
3-4 tbsp ice water
1. Cut the butter roughly into chunks. Add egg yolks, sugar, and lemon zest. Toss to coat.
2. Add flour. Combine using pastry blender until dough begins to clump.
3. Sprinkle with ice water and toss to dampen it. Gather dough into ball. The Dough should be coarse and just hold together, sprinkle with more ixe water if it wont stick. Cut ball in half and wrap each half in wax paper. Chill one hour or more.
There are many fancy pie crust recipes, but I like this one is best. It's simple enough to have memorized and it's easy to half if you need only one crust. It is important that the butter be chilled when you start. To create a flaky pie crust you don't want to blend the butter and flour, you want to have little slivers of butter coated in flour. There are many ways to do this. Modern cooks use a food processor, but I think it's too easy to over-blend with this method and end up with a rubbery dough. As a child we would use two knives to "cut in" the flour, this takes forever and I hate it. When I learned to use a pastry blender it was a godsend, it only takes a minute or two and it makes the flakiest crust.
5 cups rhubarb, chopped
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
1 pie crust recipe
1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Combine rhubarb and sugar in a big bowl.
3. Transfer to a colander and set over the big bowl to drain. Let sit 30 minutes. Discard to juice (or use to make a syrup for cocktails!).
4. Roll out one crust to line a 9" pie pan. Roll out second crust, set aside.
5. Fill pie crust with rhubarb. Dot with chunks of butter. Drizzle with maple syrup (or a little extra sugar).
6. Cover with second pie crust.
7. Bake for one hour or until crust is golden brown. It edges start to burn, cover with foil.
This pie is sweet-tart and best with ice cream.