Ah Rhubarb, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Let me begin and end with one way: rhubarb pie. Sure, I make jams, jellies, and compotes with the ruby-red stalk, but pie is where it truly shines. The combo of tartness and sweetness wrapped in buttery crusty goodness makes rhubarb pie a springtime treat like no other. And for the sake of my friends who might pop a gasket over adulterating the rhubarb, I never add strawberries or other fruits to the filling. I’m a rhubarb purist at heart.
My Rhubarb pie recipe is relatively simple, and specifically delicious. The recipe always works, always elicits moans, groans, and worthy praise from dessert lovers around my table. Over the years, I’ve streamlined the recipe even more by making it a galette, which is simply rolling out the dough to an even thickness, placing it round and ready into a pie plate, adding the filling, and folding over excess dough to make a top crust. Oh and I do gild this lily with one other culinary trick: custard. Not a lot, just enough to coat the rhubarb and envelope it in a dreamy, creamy silkened coating of sublime texture and flavor. Prepare to smack your lips with the following rhubarb pie recipe, but first some photographs of the steps to get there.
Any pie dough will work. I use the King Arthur Baking Company’s double crust recipe, so I can make one pie and freeze the remaining dough for another pie day. Roll out the dough to an even thickness; rough edges are fine, if not preferred.
Slump the dough in a 9″ pie plate, gently press down dough into pie plate. Compress, don’t stretch.
It’s all about the overhang, note the excess pie dough destined to do a back flip onto the top of the pie.
As for the rhubarb pie filling, I first dust the rhubarb with cornstarch, then sugar.
Next up the magic of custard: cream and egg (whole milk and half and half work fine, too).
Combine simple ingredients to create a memorable pie.
Mixing up the cream and egg to add to the rhubarb mixture.
A custard slurry creates a silky-smooth binder for the rhubarb pie filling and complements the herb’s noteworthy tartness.
Once rhubarb is tucked away in the pie dough, pour custard solution over it but be careful not to overfill.
Rhubarb on top, with custard filling the bottom of the pie shell.
Once the rhubarb and custard fill the pie, gently fold the excess pie dough back on itself to make a partial top crust.
Rhubarb Custard Pie
- Your favorite pie dough recipe. (For me, King Arthur Flour Pie Dough Recipe)
- 5 Cups Rhubarb, cut bite size
- 2 Tablespoons corn starch
- 1 Cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1/4 Cup half and half (Okay to substitute whole milk and cream)
- PREHEAT – oven to 400° F
- DOUGH – Rough out pie dough into even-thickness disc that is larger than a 9-inch pie plate. You want it to overhang the sides and touch the counter.
- RHUBARB-CUSTARD FILLING – Chopped fresh rhubarb into bite-size pieces (I like diagonally cut.)
- Place chopped rhubarb in a bowl, and mix with corn starch until fully coated.
- Add sugar and salt to mixture and thoroughly combine.
- Let mixture sit room temperature for 15 minutes, then stir again to create a syrupy slurry.
- In a separate bowl, beat egg, then add half and half and mix thoroughly.
- Pour mixture onto rhubarb to coat and stir well.
- ASSEMBLY – Add rhubarb to dough-covered pie plate, tap down lightly to flatten fruit.
- Pour remaining custard from rhubarb bowl into pie plate. Custard should only come up half way.
- Gently fold the dough over toward the middle of the pie to create a galette top.
- Brush top dough with milk, and sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar for a golden brown baked finish.
- Bake 25 minutes, then rotate pie 180°
- Reduce temp to 375° and bake another 20 minutes.
- Rotate pie again and bake for another 20 minutes
- When custard thickens and bubbles, remove from oven and let cool for at least 2 hours before serving.
Grow Organics: How to Grow Rhubarb
Washington State University: Rhubarb Growing Guide
Taste of Home: Rhubarb Recipes
Epicurious: 41 Rhubarb Recipes