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Monday, May 24, 2010

Another kind of rhubarb pie!

Last week my cousin Lori's daughter, Heather, posted on Facebook that she had made her favorite rhubarb pie - Sour Cream Rhubarb.  I had never heard of this one so I was excited to try it after Heather was kind enough to share her recipe.  We had some new friends as well as some of our long-time favorite friends over, and everybody said they liked this pie. Fortunately these were all people who "appreciate" rhubarb.  If you are a rhubarb fan, you need to try this easy pie.  Rhubarb is at it's peak right now.

Heather's Sour Cream Rhubarb Pie

1 pie shell
1 cup sour cream
1 egg
1/3 cup flour
1-1/2 cup sugar
4 cups chopped rhubarb
Berries if desired (I replaced 1 cup of rhubarb with 1 cup of chopped strawberries)

Pour rhubarb into the crust (along with berries if you are using them).  Mix the other ingredients well, then pour over the rhubarb.

Make topping by combining:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
cinnamon to taste

Cover the top of the pie with the topping.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven to 350 degrees and cook 30-40 minutes more until golden brown and not too jiggly in the middle.  Allow to cool.  This pie is extra great topped with sweetened whipped cream.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rhubarb custard pie

When we built our house 10 years ago, we brought along some rhubarb from my parents' house.  They got the rhubarb from my grandmother many years ago.  Grandma probably got it from a relative before her.  This rhubarb is an heirloom.  When we did some other construction in the back yard a few years later the rhubarb sort of got run over into stubble and I thought it was gone for good.  But the next spring it was back and has thrived ever since.  We've given a lot of this plant away for others to grow, so we don't quite have the huge "hedge" of rhubarb we had for a while, but we definitely have all we need to keep enjoying it all spring. 

My mom and grandma have made a rhubarb custard pie which has been popular in the family over the years, but  I never really cared for it.  This week after my husband and I had each invited people over for pie without the other knowing about it, I thought I better make two pies to be safe, so started looking for a new version of rhubarb pie so we could have some variety.  I found this rhubarb custard recipe, which looked super easy (and it was!) so gave it a try.  I really liked it too!  It turns out that neither of the families we had invited showed up, so we called Curtis and Mary and Mitch and Chass and they were happy to come over and help us eat this pie and a strawberry-rhubarb pie.

Rhubarb Custard Pie

1 unbaked single pie crust
3 cups diced rhubarb
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon butter, cut into chunks

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Mix rhubarb, sugar, flour, salt and nutmeg together.  Set aside for 10 minutes.
  • Whisk the eggs and milk together in a separate bowl.  Combine with the fruit mixture.  Dump into the pie shell and dot with butter.
  • Bake 50 to 55 minutes, until pie is set.
  • Serve this pie either slightly warm, at room temperature or chilled.  Top with sweetened whipped cream.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Strawberry-rhubarb pie

I know spring has really arrived when the rhubarb in my garden gets ready for it's first harvest.  The rhubarb was just in time for Mother's Day this year, so I made strawberry-rhubarb pie for my mom.  The rest of the family got to have some too.  I used a recipe from the cookbook "Pie" by Ken Haedrich, although I don't use all the steps he does (he refrigerates or freezes his pastry dough, but I skip these steps because I don't think it's necessary if you handle the dough with care).  This pie got high marks from the 10 people I served on Mother's Day.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumb Pie

1 unbaked deep dish pie crust
3 cups fresh rhubarb stalks sliced 1/2 inch thick
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 cups hulled and halved fresh strawberries
1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca

Cornmeal Crumb Topping
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into chunks

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Combine the rhubarb, sugar and lemon juice in a large bowl.  Toss well to mix, then set aside for 10 minutes.
  • Add the strawberries and tapioca to the bowl and toss well.  Scrape the filling into the pie shell.  Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make the topping.  Combine the topping ingredients in a bowl and mix with a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor).  Once the mixture resembles fine crumbs, rub between your fingers to make large buttery crumbs.  Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Remove the pie from the oven and reduce the temperature to 375 degrees.  Carefully dump the crumbs in the center of the pie, spreading them evenly over the surface with your hands.  Tamp them down gently.  Return the pie to the oven and bake until the juices bubble thickly around the edge, 30 - 40 minutes.
  • Let cool for at least 1 hour before serving.  This pie is great served slightly warm with vanilla ice cream.
  • It's a good idea to put a large aluminum baking sheet under this pie while baking, as it is beautifully juicy and sometimes bubbles over.

A reason to have left over pastry dough

It seems to be impossible to make exactly the right amount of pastry, no matter what size pie pans I use, so it's always necessary to use that extra dough.  When I was a kid my mother would roll out the leftovers, cut it in to strips then bake it with a dusting of sugar.  We called these "pie crust cookies".  After I got married my husband took over the dough, making what his mother called "rail road tunnels".  This entails spreading the dough with softened butter and cinnamon sugar, then rolling it up in a tube and slicing it up like cinnamon rolls before baking.  Both of these make great little treats for the kids while they wait for the actual pie to be ready.  Two of my daughters recently spent a weekend together and made pie, and they invented a new pie crust cookie.  I made their new cookie out of the extra dough when I made pie today - it's a combination of each of their grandmothers' tasty treats.  After rolling out the pastry I spread it with softened butter, then I cut it up into squares (my daughters used a biscuit cutter to make round cookies but I didn't want to have to handle the dough any more or have any waste) and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.  These lasted about 30 seconds after coming out of the oven.

Friday, May 7, 2010

New quilt skills

In April I had a great time at a one day quilt retreat.  I signed up for two classes, to learn new techniques that I had never tried before.  It was a lot of fun learning to make a Dresden Plate and the Cathedral Window quilt blocks.  Even more fun was spending the day with my mom and my wonderful friends Lisa and Mary.  The Dresden Plate we made during the retreat had a bunch of embroidery in the center circle, which made it take longer to complete, but overall it was fun to make and a lot easier than it looks with the technique we learned.  Cathedral Window involves a lot of handwork, and at this point I'm just going to make a pillow, but I think it would be fun to make a whole quilt some day.  I'll add it to my growing list.  Check out how pretty both of these quilt blocks are.

Monday, May 3, 2010


I've been out of town and not cooking (nice!)  This weekend I hope to do something delicious with rhubarb.  In the meantime, I recommend this blog: realfoodisgoodfood.  I may be slightly biased because it's my daughter's blog, but I think it's worth anybody's time to look at the delicious and healthy recipes there.  Plus, it will help you get in a healthier mindset about food - so you won't have to feel guilty about indulging in pie now and than.