I love fruit pies. My personal fave is cherry, followed closely by rhubarb. I lean toward the rhubarb if I’m in a hurry, because it’s ridiculously easy to make. Pretty soon the season will be upon us when those big, prehistoric leaves and beautiful red-green stalks make their presence known.
If you grow rhubarb, extend the season for enjoying it by preserving some; it’s super easy to freeze.
For pie or preserving, the prep process is the same. Choose firm, healthy red-green stalks, wash them thoroughly, and if they’re a variety that has a tough outer skin, peel that off. Chop about 2″ off the top and bottom of each stock, then cut the stocks into roughly 1″ chunks.
For preserving, if you’re just looking to save some for 3 or 4 months, you can simply dry freeze it as you’ve prepped it, tossed into ziplock bags with as much air sucked out as you can, or vacuum sealed. For longer term storage, prepare a light syrup by bringing 6 cups of water to a boil and dissolving two cups of white sugar in it. Let the syrup cool to room temp, then place the prepped rhubarb in canning jars or airtight plastic containers, and completely submerge them in the syrup. Those will stay good for up to 9 months in the freezer.
For the pie, The Kitchenaid crust recipe is my go-to, (If you don’t have a mixer, use your fingers or two butter knives to cut and mix ingredients and, as with the mixer version, stop playing with the crust as soon as it holds together).
1¼ Cups all purpose Flour
1 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
¾ Cup Shortening, chilled
2 teaspoons Butter, chilled
4–6 tablespoons Ice Water
Pinch of Sea Salt
Sift flour and salt, and pour into mixing bowl. Cut shortening and butter into roughly ½” cubes and add to flour. Using the flat beater, mix on low speed for about 30 seconds until shortening chunks are roughly pea sized. Slowly add water a tablespoon at a time until and only until the dough forms a ball.
Stop mixing, divide dough into two equal balls, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
Roll each of the dough balls out to roughly 1/8” thickness. Place one into a 9″ pie pan and roll, pinch, or fork the edge as you prefer.
For wet filling pies like this one, you need to blind bake the crust prior to filling. Place a layer of pie weights or beans over the crust and slip it into a preheated 425º F oven for 6 to 8 minutes until the edge browns lightly. Remove from the oven and allow the crust to cool for a few minutes before filling and baking.
The other crust is your top, so you can do what floats your boat with that; just use it plain if you’re in to hurry, or get fancy and weave or stamp a pattern out if you like.
Like I said, the pie is so easy, it’s scary. There are plenty of variations on the theme, but I like this for it’s simple ingredients and honest rhubarb flavor. You’ll need,
4 Cups chopped Rhubarb
1 – 1 1/2 Cups granulated Sugar
6 Tablespoons all-purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Butter
Pinch of Sea Salt
Preheat oven to 425° F degrees, position a rack on the lower quarter of the stove, and place a cookie sheet in the middle of that.
Sift to combine the sugar, flour, and salt. Sprinkle 1/4 of that blend evenly over the bottom of the pie crust.
Evenly place the rhubarb over the dusted lower crust; you’ll have a pretty good pile of it, but no worries, it’ll cook down.
Now sprinkle the rhubarb with the remaining sugar and flour.
Cut the well chilled butter into roughly 1/4″ cubes and toss those evenly over the rhubarb as well.
Cover the pie with your top crust.
Slide the pie onto the cookie sheet in your preheated oven; that sheet is there to keep hot rhubarb from getting all over the bottom of your oven.
Bake for 15 minutes at 425° F, then rotate the pie 180 degrees and drop the oven temperature to 350° F.
Bake for another 40 to 45 minutes until the top crust is browned, the rhubarb has reduced and is bubbling nicely.
Pull the pie out and slip it onto a rack to cool.
P.S. If you prefer a nice strawberry rhubarb pie, don’t fret, just head over here for another great recipe.