[NOTE: I totally forgot to schedule this one to go up, but I figured that I might as well publish it late and round-out the CSA challenge (it wasn’t really a challenge).]
Along with the strawberries, choosing the rhubarb was a no-brainer choice of all the CSA offerings. There are lots of other recipes out there for rhubarb, but now that I can make pie I want to make pie ALL THE TIME!
A while back I bought a kitchen scale and it was a fantastic purchase. I had no idea how much I would use it. So after cutting up my rhubarb I measured it on it the scale. I had almost 200g – barely 1/3 of what my recipe called for (which was already less than the original recipe needed).
Never one to be deterred, I cut the filling recipe down to 1/3 and decided to make 2 small pies. I made the full crust recipe, though, so I still have some left-over crust in my fridge for more pies or quiches.
Fresh rhubarb is different to cook than frozen, but it took about the same amount of time to make the filling (about 20 mins). I’d keep going ‘Is this done already?’ and then waiting and then going ‘Oh, no it totally wasn’t done. But is it done now?’.
Do the egg wash because your pie will look a lot better. A trick, if you have extra crust, is to use the left-over egg to make quiche.
I used a thicker crust than normal for the bottom of the pies because I wanted them to hold their shape outside of the tin.
I can lattice really well when it’s only 4 strips. Someday I may work my way up to 9.
Now that I am a pie-master* I figured that I could do something I’d wanted to do for years. I was going to celebrate Pi Day with an actual Pie actually made by my actual self!
I added extra sugar to the pie crust, which made it better. Is it the best? Probably not, but it suffices. I did cut back a little on the sugar for the filling but I wouldn’t do that next time. Rhubarb’s tart, y’all.
Also, I decided to take Hollywood’s advice and mix the pastry with my hands. I’m a very hands-on baker usually, so it seemed right. It only got weird when I added the cold water because the mixture was quite slimy until the water was fully integrated.
This time I decided to use a smaller pie tin. I only have 2 sizes, so I really hoped that it would be fine. I’m pretty sure I rolled my crust too thin**, but the filling was a bit too much. The solution to this is obvious, of course. No, I’m not going to buy another pie tin or put in the correct amount of rhubarb – next time I’ll simply make a mini-pie or 2 to go along with the big pie!
I did not attempt a lattice this time ’round. Instead I went with a full cover. However, that’s a bit boring, so I decided to cut some diamonds in the crust. Then I decided to put little ‘pi’s around the edges, in honour of Pi Day. I still had a bit of pastry let over, so I cut out diamonds to adorn the rest of the crust.
Also, I forgot to do an egg wash. Turns out the egg wash makes the pie look much more finished (and prettier).
Rhubarb-Vanilla Pie (modified)
Preheat oven to 375. Put the tray in the bottom third of the oven.
1 1/4 cups flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes (1/2 in)
2-3 Tbsp ice-cold water
Mix together flour, sugar & salt. Rub in butter until finely crumbled. Add water, 1 Tbsp at a time until pastry forms. Separate into 2 pieces, wrap with plastic & chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes. While that’s happening…
600g frozen rhubarb
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
Combine rhubarb and sugar in a large saucepan, over high heat. Boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, until mixture is very thick (20 to 35 mins?*****). Stir in vanilla and cool for 5 minutes, or however long it takes you to roll out the pastry for the bottom & transfer to the pan (be sure to get it to the edges!). Fill with the rhubarb mixture.
Roll out the second pastry piece and put over the top of the pie. Crimp the edges with your fingers or a fork. Use remaining pastry for decorations.
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp water
Beat egg and water in small bowl. Brush over the top of the pie.
Bake pie in lower third of your oven, at 375F until golden brown (50-60 mins). Transfer pie to a rack & cool at least 1 hour.
Happy (Belated) 3.141592 Day!
*Pie master in that I’m the best pie-maker in my house. My cat has yet to figure out the rolling pin.
**The recipe probably stated how thick to roll out the pastry, but I didn’t pay attention***
***I just checked and it had no note of how thick the bottom pastry should be. Vindication!
****This is half the original recipe, so if it’s not enough for you then you could double it.
*****The recipe says “until mixture is reduced to 2 1/2 cups, but how is a person supposed to know that? Should you take out the boiling mixture and put it in a measuring cup? But it’s boiling?!
I went 33 years without ever making a pie. I prefer cakes and cupcakes anyway, so why bother? With pies you have to make pastry for the top and bottom, and you’ve got to make the middle part. There’s so much that can go wrong!*
But I figured that I would never be marriage material if I couldn’t knock out a pie every once in a while.
Just kidding! Being single means more pie for me!
I decided to make a rhubarb-vanilla pie because I had a recipe for it**. I also had really delicious Mexican vanilla extract, which had been a gift from a friend who went to Mexico (it has real vanilla pods inside).
I tried to make my pastry in my little food processor, but it was too small and I had to keep scraping the sides. I think I could do half the recipe without problem. Then again, Paul Hollywood recommends making pastry with your hands so you know the feel of it…
I used less rhubarb (because they sell it in bags of 600g instead of 750g, and I couldn’t be bothered to purchase an additional bag, let alone measure it), but I didn’t think to change the amount of sugar or vanilla. This cut back on the tartness of the rhubarb, so not a big deal.
Also, making this filling is probably similar to how you make jam, so I could probably make jam! Oh yeah, I’m totally marriage material now!
Side note: if this is your first time working with pastry DON’T GO FOR THE LATTICE! No matter how easy the recipe makes it looks it will not be that easy! The filling will stick to the pastry and the strips will tear! Lattice-weavers, I tip my hat to you.
Thankfully I had some left-over pastry so that I could cut out small stars to cover over the breaks in the lattice. When in doubt, try to hide your mistakes. And it worked! I even had someone compliment on how pretty the stars looked.
You may notice the strange edging around the pie. This is because my plate was too big and I didn’t have enough filling to take it to the top. So instead of a horizontal edge I had to have a vertical edge. Would the extra 150g of rhubarb have made a different? Who knows.
The crust was okay (I made a note to add more sugar next time), but the filling was pretty great. In all, I thought it was a very successful first attempt at pie making.
As long as it’s edible it’s a win!
*let’s not even bring up soggy bottoms.
**which had been cut out of a magazine and taped into a recipe book and ignored for years.