Oh, my god, you guys, I am obsessed with rhubarb pie. Obsessed! Do you know how many rhubarb pies I’ve made in the past two weeks? Three. Three pies and nary a strawberry to be found in any of them. Strawberries have their time and place, don’t get me wrong, but that time is when they’re raw and right out of the garden, and that place is far away from my rhubarb pies.
This recipe comes from my friend, Cathy, whom I stalked until she gave it to me. Yes, I’m back to my stalking ways. Get it? Rhubarb? Stalks? Shut up. Her recipe is tart, the way I like my rhubarb, with a touch of cream, which is how I like pretty much everything. I had to add a little more sugar to appease Husband, and double the flour because my particular rhubarb seemed to have a high water content. I also added a lattice crust so you wouldn’t be subjected to a photo of a pie that looked like someone just vomited into a pie shell. Now it looks like someone vomited into a pie shell and I added a decorative lattice crust! But you know I never discriminate against ugly food on this blog. Ugly food is the best food.
Make this pie. Make it early and often. And I know one of you is going to ask me if you can leave out the cream, and my answer, as always, is that you could, but why would you want to do a silly thing like that?
Yes, you can use a premade crust, but I won’t stop nagging you to make your own at least once. Below is a recipe for a homemade butter crust. Using half butter, half shortening will give you extra flakiness (the tradeoff is transfats). Or you could make a lard crust.
2 cups flour
12 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into pieces
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
8-10 Tbsp. ice water (or more)
1 lb. rhubarb, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (3½-4 cups)
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
For the crust, mix flour, sugar, and salt in food processor. Add cold butter and pulse in 1-second beats until butter is the size of small peas (around 20 pulses). Dump mixture into a large bowl and add ice water, a few tablespoons at a time, fluffing with a fork until gently absorbed. You don’t want it wet and sticky, but if there’s too much dry flour, the dough won’t come together right. It should just hold together when you press on it. Don’t knead or it will become too tough. Tear off two pieces of plastic wrap. Dump a little over half of the dough mixture in the middle of one, and the rest in the middle of the other. Folding over the sides of the plastic wrap, flatten the mixture into disks about an inch thick, then wrap them up, and refrigerate at least an hour or until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Have your 9-inch pie plate at the ready. In a large bowl, toss rhubarb with sugar, flour, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together cream and lemon juice and set aside. Retrieve your pie dough from the fridge. Flour your counter and rolling pin well. The dough shouldn’t stick at all. Take the larger disk and roll it out about ¼-inch thick, about a foot in diameter. Roll from the middle out in all directions. Don’t grind the dough down into the counter—push it out to the sides. If the dough sticks, sprinkle more flour. Transfer to your pie dish by lifting the edge of the dough over the top of the rolling pin. Gently lift and push until the dough is draped over the rolling pin (a bench scraper or even a spatula under the dough really helps). Align dough over pie plate and gently unfurl.
Dump rhubarb mixture into pie shell. There will be a small pile of sugar and flour in the middle. Redistribute evenly. Pour cream mixture over the top evenly. Roll out the second pie crust the same way as the first, only slightly smaller. Using a pastry wheel or sharp knife, cut thin strips for a lattice topping. Arrange strips like so. Fold over edges of bottom crust and crimp however you like. Place in oven on top shelf with a baking sheet on the bottom shelf to catch any drips. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake until bubbly, puffed, and crust is richly caramelized, about 45 minutes more. Keep an eye on the crust—if it starts to brown too much, cover with foil.
Let cool. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream.