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
Ahhh… my mouth is watering. Must. Have. Pie.
Tom, this is wonderful – as you note, simple recipe, and simply scrumptious results. I’m no baker, but I think even I could pull this off.
Thanks Michael, it really is a nice simple recipe with stellar results. Let me know if you make one, and what you think. Cheers my friend!
But. but. but strawberry sweetness with rhubarb sour ? … Guess I’m popping a gasket 🙂
Perri, I concede (that was easy) there’s nothing wrong with strawberry-rhubarb anything. It was the galette talking! 😉 I’m sure this town is big enough for a two-fruit pie filling! 😉
Very gracious concede, Tom, and now I’m going to have to be fair and try your all rhubarb recipe. My guess is I’ll be swalloing humble pie 🙂
Since long ago when I discovered strawberry rhubarb pie, I have not been able to return to just rhubarb! Strawberry rhubarb is my very favorite pie, so for about a month in spring, that is the go-to dessert 😀!
Katie, I talk a mean game about being a rhubarb purist, but the mere mention of strawberry-rhubarb pie has me waning and questioning my all-rhubarb stance. I’ll have to give strawberry-rhubarb another chance and try this recipe with that combination. I doubt I’ll say no to a second, third, and forth slice.
That is rhubarb to swoon over ……….. also the pie!! So simple but so luscious. It’s.on.the.list. of mouthwatering delights. Enjoy your pie Tom, although probably by now the 2nd one! 😀💃🏻
I think after a pie I would be knocking up some Rhubarb muffins. More Rhubarb than muffin. In my book a bit nice too, maybe not in pie stakes but good. :))
Mary I never thought to put rhubarb in muffins, but thanks to you I’ll give it a try. I bet blueberry-rhubarb would be a good combo too for a muffin. Cheers! Happy Baking!
I used to make them for hungry kids! Don’t have to precook the Rhubarb either. Blueberry would be a good mix with the Rhubarb.
You make the muffins, I’ll make the pie. :)))
I like my options here Mary; let’s get baking!
I love your wonderful in addition to a simple rhubarb (one and only) pie! I have had troubles with too much liquid so i think this will solve the problemo:) Thanks sir!
Ooh Sarah, I think you’ll like this recipe as it does take care of soggy pie bottoms by using a custard thickening agent.
Wait, did I miss the pie and coffee time?! Dang.
Wait, did I miss the pie and coffee time?! Again…? Dang.
Next time I’ll send out a heads-up! 😉
I need to get rhubarb in my garden this year-I love nothing more than a delicious rhubarb pie (unless it’s a peach pie haha)
Tom, is that a duck egg you used in the custard or a regular chicken egg?
Is Vashon having a wet spring like our coastal Oregon? Absolutely crazy weather-just had over an inch of rain in 24 hours!
Thanks for your post and the rhubarb picture 😀😀
That is one delicious looking pie. Thank you for the recipe and please say Hello to Buddy for me!
Hi Tad, Buddy is snoozing on the sunny-side of the house. I’ll be sure and pass along your well wishes when his majesty awakes! Thank you!
Had to look that up (thought it was a typo): rhubarb is an HERB. Huh! Thanks for the educmacation!
That is huge rhubarb you grow in the NW Love your recipe. Rhubarb alone is as it should be eaten, Keep those darn strawberries out of it and enjoy the unique taste. Oh YUM
I love rhubarb! I’m really excited to try this! I usually mix it with strawberries and make a crumble.
I love a good crumble, another star dessert choice for rhubarb!
For 40 years I have been growing my grandfather’s rhubarb that he started growing in the late 1940’s… it was much more green than red outside and in, a bit on the stringy side and it turned pithy early in the season… BUT… it was my grandfather’s and that fact counted!
Last year I decided to supplement with a couple of roots from a nearby commercial rhubarb farm. The stalks are deep red, the insides are dark pink, the stalks snap if you bend them and are crisp when cutting. And oh, my it is so beautifully flavored. Sorry, Grandpa, I’m stepping out with a new best garden friend!
Mike I bet your grandpa is looking down on you and smiling, and maybe saying “What took you so long?” 😉
I have discovered Glaskin’s Perpetual Rhubarb, available from different sources (I chose eBurgess dot com), that bears all summer long and stays crispy (if harvested frequently) all the way to killing freeze. It supposedly stays not-as-sour as “other” rhubarbs because it contains less of the oxalic acid which makes the leaves toxic and causes the tart flavor. It makes huge, thick stalks, and last year I was able to half-fill a 5-gallon bucket from four plants, in their first autumn, after a mid-summer first-picking. The outer ‘skin’ is thicker and fuzzy, not thinner and smooth like conventional rhubarbs, so I peel the thickest ones if I feel they need it.
Thanks for the tip Becky, I see where Glaskin’s Perpetual Rhubarb is available to grow by seed, so I may give that a try. Cheers!
I had seven Glaskin’s plants last year, so I let my original three go to seed, then harvested all the seeds. Man, they’re prolific! I accidentally spilled a few, and I think they all sprouted, too. The mother-plants didn’t fare so well afterward, though, so I’ll not repeat that, unless I run out of seeds – which isn’t too likely, after saving at least a quart of them! However, I hide things from myself (unintentionally, of course!) and that can of seeds is lurking somewhere, waiting to pounce on me when I least expect it.
I love that you included a chicken feather in your egg photo. It brings back happy memories of raising chickens before they went missing from my yard. And I miss those yummy eggs, too! Going to PCC today to get me some rhubarb and vanilla ice cream!!!
There’s something particularly rewarding and special about home-range eggs.
What great rhubarb growing weather. Peaches and pears not so much.
Agreed, tomatoes are saying check back when the temps are above 70.
WOW – what a lovely pie and crust! I can smell it virtually from Hutto, TX! Unfortunately, down here, we don’t grow fresh rhubarb so all we can get is frozen (hmmm – yuck?). I am dying to try this (and I LOVE King Arthur recipes!). The heat down here in Texas at the moment is excessively hot and oppressive – rare to be this hot in May/June. My garden for the first time looks like someone put a match to it – even with shade cloth. I think I will take myself up to the local grocery store and try to find frozen rhubarb w/ some vanilla ice cream on the side to cheer up the heat doldrums! Thank you for posting as always!
Hi Dianne, sorry to hear about your heat wave. We on the other hand are having what we call Juneuary, where temps are about ten degrees chillier than normal. This morning I woke to my heater kicking on and the temp outside reading 47 degrees. Cheers, Tom
I’m going to try your rhubarb-custard recipe, but I still think raspberry-rhubarb pie is the ultimate. I favor one part raspberry to three parts rhubarb (by weight.) Even Didi, who doesn’t care for rhubarb, likes it.
Wow Alan, I never thought of using raspberry. Okay, next one I make I’ll use your r-to-r ratio. Thanks!