Here’s Pie in Your Eye

In food on 05/04/2009 at 11:43 am

When I got home from work the other day the other half surprised me with some lovely rhubarb from Fairway. Now the real market season has officially begun. Rhubarb is one of my favorite spring-y food stuffs, along with fiddleheads and morel mushrooms… oh spring, you do spoil me!

Rhubarb is one of those confusing veggies – looks like sunburnt celery, and acts more like a fruit. This makes it perfect for desserts that those who like savory foods more often than sweets will also enjoy. Trust me. It’ll make pie-haters change their minds.

red celery? no, rhubarb!

In Madison, the farmer’s market at the foot of the capitol building features rhubarb in many of the treats you can buy in the early morning. I used to look forward to chomping down a rhubarb pocket whenever my parents and I went. It’s basically a pie that’s folded over, equivalent to a sweet calzone, dotted with big sugar crystals on top. But last summer, horror of horrors, the stand we always go to stopped making them! They substituted this thing that looked like a quarter of a pie, but with added flavors to make it more savory. The color was an off-putting gray purplish yellow. Augh, I was so miffed. They had to go ruin a perfectly perfect thing, didn’t they?

Getting good rhubarb in the city is tough, unless you want to shell out $10/pound for the stalks that might be tough and stringy. The key is to pick the skinnier pieces that are already red. Rhubarb doesn’t really ‘ripen’ after you buy it. If you see a nice bumper crop and want to hoard it, rhubarb freezes nicely. Just chop it up into 1″ pieces, ready for filling your next pie. For a hearty pie bulging with rhubarb-y yummy-ness, you need about 7 nice small to medium stalks, maybe even 8 if you’re really picky.

Cream cheese crust:
1 cup plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour (or half and half mixed with whole wheat pastry flour)
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter
3 oz cold cream cheese
cold heavy cream or milk as needed

Mix dry ingredients together. Cut butter and cream cheese into small pieces, and cut into the flour mixture until crumbly. Drizzle a small amount (start with 1 tablespoon) of cream or milk to bring dough together – it should not be sticky.
Do not overmix!
Chill at least 30 minutes or overnight. Dough can be frozen in 1 crust portions.

Rhubarb filling:
5 cups chopped rhubarb
1 2/3 cups white sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 450.
Mix rhubarb, sugar and flour; let sit, mixing occasionally as the rhubarb juices. Roll out pie dough, place in pie pan. Pour in rhubarb, dot with small pieces of butter and fold pie crust over to cover.
Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 40-45 minutes.

Let pie cool for a few minutes to let the rhubarb set and enjoy!

happy rhubarb

  1. Hi, good post. I have been thinking about this issue,so thanks for posting. I’ll definitely be coming back to your site. Keep up great writing

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