By request: the real rhubarb pie

Sometimes you really need the real thing: a buttery crust on the bottom and a lattice top; a filling bursting with rosy red rhubarb and a scent of orange. My readers asked me for the recipe, so here it is.

Pie pastry:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 9 or 10 pieces
  • 3 tablespoons ice water, plus a couple teaspoons of vinegar, combined

Combine flour, salt and sugar. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs of irregular sizes (do this quickly so the butter stays cold. . )

Drizzle the ice water/ vinegar over the flour mixture bit by bit,  just until the dough is moistened and comes together as you knead it in the bowl briefly. It will still seem a little dry. Knead the dough only a few times on a work surface (not too long!), then shape into two discs (one slightly larger than the other).  Wrap them in plastic wrap or put in a covered bowl and refrigerate for an hour.

Rhubarb filling:

  • 5 to 6 cups (more if you want a higher pie — the cooked fruit will shrink down) of  fresh rhubarb, thinly sliced on the diagonal (if your stalks are  wide, cut them vertically before slicing)
  • 1 1/4 to  11/2 cups sugar, plus 1 tablespoon demara or sparkling sugar for the top crust
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small bits
  • 1  teaspoon grated orange peel (best from an organic orange)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk
    1. Toss together all of the above filling ingredients together in a bowl, except the milk and 1 tablespoon sugar. Let sit a few minutes and then stir until the sugar and flour coats the rhubarb pieces.
    2. Roll out one of the pieces into the lower crust to fit your pie pan and drape over the edge; then fill with the rhubarb mixture.
    3. Roll out the other ball of pastry into a wide circle the size of the pie pan and cut across into strips of dough to form a lattice crust. After you put the rhubarb filling in the bottom crust, lay the strips of dough one at a time, weaving over and under to make a lattice. If you want to be fancy, twist the dough gently as you go.
    4. Then take leftover dough and strips around the edge and crimp or pinch together into a nice edge.
    5. Brush the top crust and edges with the milk and sprinkle with sugar. Place the pie pan on a cookie sheet lined with foil (to catch any dripping juices). Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 45 to 55 minutes until done — the rhubarb should be soft and bubbly and the crust should be a deep golden brown. Let cool several hours before serving — or alternatively, serve in a bowl.

Serve with a scoop of ice cream or not. De-licious!

I made another one of those pie-top-only (bottomless?) pies, with the full amount of rhubarb filling. My crust was kind of messy and falling apart, but since you have to eat this pie with a spoon (it’s not possible to slice it!) everything was fine….



Filed under baked goods, dessert, fruit, spring, Uncategorized

7 responses to “By request: the real rhubarb pie

  1. Cathy mihalik

    I’ll be trying this on Thursday. I can’t wait for the results. Thanks Toby

  2. oh man, this looks amazing!

  3. Penny

    I got a tip for making extra flaky pie crusts from my son’s orthodontist yesterday. He’s a pie making aficionado and swears by an American Test Kitchen recipe where you use 1/2 ice water with 1/2 vodka. The alcohol evaporates but the chemical properties of vodka make for a great crust…. I think I’ll try it when I find some of that elusive rhubarb.

  4. ryan

    toby, do you know a good recipe for rhubarb jam? i want something that is preserved for shelf life. I am up to my ears in rhubarb, I have made a few of your pies but i cant keep up with this much rhubarb! thanks, i have really enjoyed your articles and great pictures!

    • lemonodyssey

      Hi Ryan,
      I think the easiest thing to do would be to slice your rhubarb, put the slices in Zip-loc bags and put in the freezer… then you can deal with it when you have time… Of course, if you don’t have a freezer or freezer space, you’ll be better off putting it up. You could make preserves, simply cooking down the rhubarb with sugar and any other flavors you like, such as orange peel or ginger. There are quite a few recipes on the Rhubarb Compendium: Some sound a little strange with Jell-o, etc. and I’d avoid anything like that… but one basic one that sounds good to me, is this one:
      2 1/2 lb rhubarb
      1 1/2 lb sugar
      1/2 cup water
      2 oranges, rind & juice

      Wash and skin the rhubarb and cut into small pieces; add sugar and 1/2 cup of cold water. Grate the rind of the oranges and add to the rhubarb. Add the orange juice and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour into sterilized jars and seal.

      Although sugar is a preservative, to be on the safe side (especially if you reduce the sugar) you really should give the jars a hot water bath of 15 to 20 minutes so they’ll stay good on the shelf for a long time.
      good luck!

  5. Pingback: Return of the rhubarb lover | toby's kitchen notes

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