Right now I’m waiting for a rhubarb custard pie to finish baking. As I was assembling the pie with the help of granddaughter, Ellery, age 4 (yes, it’s that easy), I was wondering how many of you eat and/or grow rhubarb.
Maybe you know rhubarb as the “pie plant”. Technically, rhubarb is a vegetable, not a fruit. Strawberry rhubarb pie is a rite of spring. If I would have had any strawberries left after making strawberry shrub (a recipe I’m sharing soon), I would have tossed some in with the pie. Honestly, though, I think it’s perfect as is – a bit of tartness to go along with the sweet.
We used to have a thriving rhubarb plant. My husband, Frank, sealed its fate when he drove over it with the tractor. Twice. So the rhubarb for the pie came from neighbor Bob, who gifted me with enough for a pie and more. As for my new rhubarb plant, I put a large stake in front of it. Here’s hoping…
Rhubarb custard pie
Pat Jarvis is a student of mine and shared her rhubarb pie recipe with me a while back. Here’s my adapted version. “My very favorite pie”, Pat told me.
3 large eggs
1-1/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg or 1/2 teaspoon mace
4 cups fresh rhubarb, diced small, or frozen, thawed
Preheat oven to 400.
Whisk together everything but the rhubarb. Stir in rhubarb and pour into prepared pie shell.
Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, reduce temperature to 350 and bake 30-35 minutes more. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, or warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Tip: Bake pies on bottom shelf
Closer to the heat source means a crisper bottom crust.
No need to peel rhubarb. Just cut up the stalks, lay in a single layer on a cookie sheet, freeze hard, uncovered, then transfer to containers. Done!
Rhubarb is good for you
This tart “fruit” contains calcium and vitamin C along with fiber and other nutrients.
Rosy red rhubarb sauce
OK so if you don’t want to make the pie, be adventurous enough to cook up this easy rhubarb sauce. Lovely over ice cream, plain cake, stirred into plain yogurt or oatmeal.
No real recipe, but here’s how I do it:
Rhubarb, chopped up
Measure rhubarb. For every 2 cups, use about 1/2 cup sugar.
Place rhubarb and sugar with a bit of water (not too much, just enough to keep it from sticking) in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook until it starts to thicken nicely, about 20 minutes or so. It gets thicker as it cools. Store in refrigerator up to a month or freeze up to 6 months.
Good add ins: Minced ginger root or crystallized ginger, or a splash of vanilla (add vanilla after cooking)