Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Rhubarb Pie

I have a well-worn cookbook from decades ago with an hilarious introduction to the chapter on pies. "If you care about pleasing a man," it reads, "learn to make pie." It is sad to say, but in my household, it rings true. This was one of my father's day gifts to my husband, and it is a recipe worth sharing. It makes a 9 or 10 inch pie.


For the Crust,

2 2/3 cups flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening
8 tablespoons water

For the Filling,

5 cups fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup flour
3 tbs. butter

To make the crust, mix flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles crumbs -- I leave pieces of shortening as large as a pencil eraser, to make the crust nice and flaky. Sprinkle the water over the mixture, 1-2 tbs. at a time, tossing with a fork to distribute the moisture. Once all 8 tbs. are in, divide it in two equal portions on pieces of plastic wrap. Wrap crust mixture and shape into disks. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes while you prepare the filling.

To make the filling, place diced rhubarb into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix flour and sugar. Sprinkle over the rhubarb as you mix, getting an even coating on all the pieces. There will be some dry ingredients that pool at the bottom of the bowl. Don't worry about that.

Remove crusts from fridge and roll out lower crust on floured board or pastry cloth. Rolled pastry should measure about 1 1/2 inches larger than your pie plate on all sides. Use rolling pin to pick pastry up and carefully transfer to pie plate. Place 1/2 filling into crust. Gather dry ingredients that have pooled at the bottom of your rhubarb bowl and sprinkle over filling. Top with remaining rhubarb mixture. Dot filling with butter. Roll out top crust and place on top of filling. Pinch edges of two crusts together to seal. Cut slits in top crust to allow steam to escape.

Bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes. Use a strip of foil to cover the edge of the crust and prevent it from burning. Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes of baking. Pie is done when crust is golden brown and filling bubbles up through slits.


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