As American as….
Did you expect me to say apple pie?
As far as I am concerned, rhubarb is the American pie. My introduction to rhubarb pie came via an Indian friend who had the radio station NPR on while we were driving back from a climbing trip in the mountains of Eastern Washington in United States.
The radio show was a combination of slow-form storytelling and comedy rolled together. The show is set in a fictional mid-West American town called Lake Woebegon and tells of the travails of the people of Norwegian descent. It had been playing on NPR for 30-odd years by then.
And I was hooked in the first 15 minutes. That’s how long it took for the host to finish telling one joke!
Anyways, the show regularly featured a woman named Darlene who ran a café and over the years she has had many a romantic misadventures. And her café always served rhubarb pie.
So you can’t fault me for thinking that rhubarb was the favourite pie of Americans!
About a year later after I discovered the show, I met a friend through climbing who is of Norwegian descent and grew up in American mid-West!
This rhubarb pie recipe is his mom’s who got it from a friend named Darlene! This Darlene didn’t run a café bur her rhubarb pie is delicious. I hope she was more lucky in love than the Darlene of Lake Woebegone.
This rhubarb pie uses eggs in the filling which help balance the sweetness and gives it a slightly custardy texture and helps bind the rhubarb.
I hope you will give it a try. The pie is gorgeous and what better occasion than 4th of July.
Have a lovely 4th of July!
- 400 gram plain flour maida in India and all-purpose flour in India
- 320 gram unsalted butter very cold and cut into 1/2" cubes
- 250 gram sour cream cold, can replace with milk or cream if you can't find sour cream
- 2 tbsp bread crumbs or tbsp of plain flour
- 500 gram rhubarb stems cut into 1/2" pieces, red rhubarb preferable
- 3 eggs
- 3 tbsp milk
- 1//4 cup plain flour
- 3/4 tsp nutmeg powder
- 2 cups sugar I prefer a more tart flavour so I use 1.5 cups of sugar so you can play around with sugar depending on what you like
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- Make sure the butter is very cold as it will melt completely. It's key to have the visible butter pieces in the dough to make a flaky, light pie crust.
- Mix together the flour and butter in a mixer to get a crumbly mix. Use the mixer on pulse setting as you do not want to completely mix in the butter.
- Mix in 2/3rd of the sour cream to the mixer and and mix on the pulse setting for less than a minute. Add more cream if the mixture does not come together
- Pour the mix on a baking parchment and pat it down into a round circle or rectangle about 2 inches high. Do not knead as the heat from the hands will melt the butter
- Divide the dough into two parts – slightly larger for the bottom crust and smaller part to be used for the top crust
- Cover both parts completely in a parchment paper to make sure that the dough doesn't dry out and the smells of the fridge do not get into the dough
- At this point, you can leave the dough in the fridge overnight. But if making pie on the same day, leave it in the fridge for 20 minutes
- Take the larger portion of the dough out of the fridge. Use a rolling pin to make about 12- 13 inch circle, large enough to completely cover the pie pan.
- Sprinkle bread crumbs or plain flour on the bottom and sides of the pan
- Gently lift the rolled out pie and set it in the pie mould. Gently presss the pie on the sides of the pan. Make sure to have some overhang as the pie shrinks when baked
- Cover the pie and put it in the fridge for 20 minutes
- Prick the bottom of the pie with a fork just before setting in the oven
- Completely cover the pie with parchment paper cutout so that it covers the bottom and sides of the pie. Add beans on top of the parchment so that they completely fill the pie pan. This is called blind baking
- Bake for 15 minutes at 200 degree centigrade
- Take out the pie from oven, remove the beans and the parchment paper
- Bake for another five minutes to get the beautiful golden colour
Make Rhubarb filling
- Lightly beat the eggs and mix in the milk
- Mix in the sugar, flour and nutmeg. Add it in slowly so that clumps don't form
- Mix in the rhubarb.
Bake the Pie
- Sprinkle bread crumbs at the base of the pie
- Add the rhubarb filling to the pie
- Roll out the remaining dough into a 12" inch circle. Cut out thin strips
- Lay out the strips on top of the pie in a lattice pattern and makes sure that the strips stick to the the bottom crust. Cut off the excess strip – see pictures
- Cover the edges of the pie with a ring cut-out from aluminium to make sure that edges don't burn.
- Bake in oven at 200 degree centigrade for 50-60 minutes
- If the top of pie crust starts to brown, cover the pie with a baking parchment or an aluminium foil