Fresh rhubarb pie, made with homemade butter pie crusts and fresh bright red rhubarb, is the best sweet and tart summer dessert!
This simple pie only uses a few ingredients and the filling couldn’t be easier to make. Fresh red rhubarb pieces are combined with sugar and flour to create the most mouthwatering fruit filling. You can use a store bought pre-made pie crust if you must, but I recommend going the extra mile and making your own!
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Fresh Rhubarb Pie means summer is approaching. At least, that’s what it means to me.
I added a rhubarb plant to my garden this year and it’s growing some massive leaves. With any luck, next May and June will bring an abundance of rhubarb recipes straight from my own garden. This year, my rhubarb had to be supplied by the farmers’ market.
I almost didn’t even photograph this recipe because I made it for dessert when friends came over, and when I’m entertaining I just want to enjoy the food and not photography it. My rhubarb pie just turned out too darn pretty not to photograph.
What does rhubarb pie taste like?
I was really surprised to find out that a lot of people don’t know what rhubarb pie, or rhubarb-anything for that matter, tastes like.
Is it descriptive enough it I tell you it tastes like heaven?
Rhubarb pie is incredibly tart. I didn’t say sour. Tart is how I explain it because tart is the perfect combination of sweet plus sour. Whenever you cook with rhubarb, you have to use a fair amount of sugar.
You can always reduce the sugar if you’re combining rhubarb with super sweet strawberries, like I did for my strawberry rhubarb jam. But if you’re cooking somethign that’s just pure rhubarb, be prepared to use a fair amount of sugar to turn that sour into tart.
Other than that, I don’t know how to describe the taste. Rhubarb pie just makes my mouth pucker in all the right ways.
Fun fact: Rhubarb is a vegetable, not a fruit.
I’ve always thought of it’s structure as very similar to celery. The part that we eat are the thick stalks. Unlike celery, however, you cannot eat the leaves of the rhubarb plant. They are poisionous. So if you’re like me and give your veggie scraps to your goats, be sure those rhubarb leaves are thrown into the compost instead.
Rhubarb is often thought of as a fruit because we pair it with sugar and the final product is a sweet and juicy creation. But, when you consider the rules of what makes a fruit a fruit and what makes a vegetable a vegetable, rhubarb is clearly a vegetable.
Now that you’ve thought about it, rhubarb pie will never be the same again, will it?
How do you clean and prepare rhubarb? Do you have to peel it?
Whether you’re getting rhubarb out of your garden, from the grocery store, or from the farmers’ market, there are a few things you want to keep in mind when cooking with it.
Much like celery, you’ll want to trim the ends. If you see any areas that are bruised or slimey, cut those away too.
You do not have to peel the outside if your stalks are fresh and picked at their peak of ripeness. I suppose it’s possible that you might need to if they’re old and woody.
To cut rhubarb, I generally cut the stalks into 8 inch pieces so their easier to work with. From their, I use a large chef’s knife and a good quality cutting board to cut the stalk into strips that are about a half inch thick. Then, I’ll hold the strips together and chop them into half inch chunks.
If you buy rhubarb and find that you’re not going to use it right away, store it upright in a cup of water in the refrigerator. Much like you would fresh cut flowers. Continue to change the water daily until you’re ready to use.
The very best crust for rhubarb pie is…
An all butter traditional pie crust. I’m sure you could easily make a cookie or graham cracker crust. Or you could go above and beyond and make a struesel topping for your rhubarb pie. But if you ask me, you can’t go wrong with a good old fashioned traditional pie crust.
Be sure to chill your dough before rolling!
Be sure to use a 9-inch pie dish for this recipe, otherwise you’ll have to adjust your ingredients for size. Enjoy!
Fresh Rhubarb Pie
- 2 cups all purpose flour plus more for rolling
- 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks, chilled
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- ice water
- 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 4 cups rhubarb stalks only, cut into half inch pieces
- 1 large egg beaten
- 1 tablespoon decorating sugar
To make the crusts:
- Use a food processor, pastry blender, or cheese grater to create pea sized chunks of very cold butter and mix with flour and salt. Once butter is fully coated, add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time just until the dough comes together.
- Form into two disks and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to chill and rest in refrigerator for at least an hour.
- Roll out each disk on floured surface. Place bottom pie crust in a 9" pie pan with edges hanging over the side.
To assemble the pie:
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Chop rhubarb stalks into 1/2 inch pieces. Do not use leaves.
- Combine sugar and flour in small bowl. Add about a quarter of this mixture to the pie crust that's lining your pie dish. Add fresh rhubarb. Cover with remaining sugar and flour mixture, but do not mix. The goal is to have sugar below and above the rhubarb to form a sugar barrier between the rhubarb and the crust.
- Top with remaining crust and seal the edges and trim as necessary.
- Add about a tablespoon of water to the beaten egg and use a pastry brush to coat the entire top of the pie. Add decorating sugar to egg while it's still wet. Use aluminum foil or a pie shield to wrap around the outer crust to keep it from getting too brown.
- Set pie in lowest rack of preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil or pie shield (if using), reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and continue baking for about 45 minutes.
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