2.23.2019

Tart and Tingly

There are some foods that just make your mouth tingle.

Maple sugar candy is one for me. We used to get it at the Vermont Country Store. Anything with that much sugar? Of course it made my mouth tingle.

And pralines from New Orleans. Serious tingle. And, once again, it’s the sugar.

However, each spring there is one really tart tingle I can’t wait for. It really sets my mouth watering (and tingling).

Rhubarb. Yep, that weedy, huge-leafed plant everyone in New England grows.

It is so, so tart. But addictive. We, like so many other kids, used to stick the freshly cut stems in a bowl of sugar and chew on it.

We didn’t actually eat it; it’s just too fibrous and tough. But chewing on the stalks made us pucker and laugh.

And then there is pie. Rhubarb pie. Not strawberry-rhubarb pie, although I have never turned it down. Just plain, simple rhubarb pie.

And, as we are getting into rhubarb season in the Northern Hemisphere, this is the perfect time to consider making one!

Pucker up, kids!

~ David

Rhubarb Pie

8 stalks rhubarb
3/4-1 cup sugar, to taste
4 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pastry for a 2-crust pie (recipe below)
1 tablespoon milk
finishing sugar (optional)


Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Trim the rhubarb and slice it into 1/2-inch thick slices. You should have at least 4 cups. Mix the rhubarb with the sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Set aside.

Roll out the bottom crust and line a 9-inch pie plate. Fill with the rhubarb mixture, then cover with the top crust. Trim and fold over the edges, then crimp with your thumb and fingers, or using a fork. Cut several vent holes in the top, then brush with milk and sprinkle with finishing sugar, if desired.

Bake 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F and continue to bake for 35 minutes, or until top crust is brown and filling is bubbling.

Serves 8.

Pie Crust for a Two-Crust Pie


2 1/3 cups flour
14 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
7 tablespoons ice water, possibly more


Place the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the cubes of butter and stir to coat them with flour. Using your fingers, pinch the butter over and over until it is all in small pieces or flakes. Sprinkle with half the water and, using a fork, toss it to evenly distribute. Add the remaining water, tablespoon by tablespoon, tossing after each addition. At this point your dough should hold together when squeezed. If not, add a tablespoon or two of additional ice water.

Pull together into a ball and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into two balls, one slightly larger than the other. The smaller one will be the top crust.


41 comments:

  1. Rhubarb has just the right kind of sour that makes your saliva glands ache a little and actually squirt just thinking about biting into it. It’s like, no you don’t want to eat that, but you can’t stop yourself! And there you are 3 seconds later… not wanting to take yet another bite. But you know you will! A little shiver goes down your spine and you can’t decide if it is from pleasure or pain! Bring it on... GREG

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  2. Oh Greg has his description so right ! Being Northern European born rhubarb is one of the foods which inevitably follows mothers milk, so am well acquainted with it. Haven't made anything like this happy-looking pie for ages: might be about time to remember the fruit again . . ,

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    1. I love your description, too Eha - following mother’s milk!

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  3. I love rhubarb and I saw the first stalks in the store. Yummy!

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  4. Rhubarb is very popular here in the spring as well. It provides us with the first of the season fruity pie filling. We have a plant in the back that keeps us covered up with rhubarb in the spring. Last year I had enough to make rhubarb schnapps. The last bottle was just opened. Great recipe David and I love the pie pan.

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    1. Wow - rhubarb schnapps! I’d love to try that! Recipe on Lost in a Pot?

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  5. Your entry brings back memories! As a child in Massachusetts, I would steal the sugar bowl out of the kitchen and sneak down to the rhubarb patch at the bottom of the garden, dip the stalk in the sugar and, yes, eat the stalk! I have a summer house in Maine now with my own rhubarb patch (alas, no rhubarb plants in AZ). Bright red rhubarb is always the first harvest of the summer! But, as an adult, I bake it in a crumble or a pie to share with others. My mouth is watering in anticipation!

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    1. I wish we had rhubarb here! I have friends with a cabin on Mount Lemmon - wish I could get them to plant some!

      So glad I was able to evoke such pleasant memories of your childhood, Robin!

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  6. Rhubarb wasn’t really part of my childhood, alas... and it’s not a part of my cooking. But I do enjoy it whenever I have it. The tartness as you say is very appealing! As is that lovely undulating crust...

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    1. Knowing that desserts aren’t your thing, Frank, is suggest a rhubarb compote to go with grilled and roasted fowl. My grilled quail recipe has a side recipe for the compote.

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  7. Tart and tingly indeed! I like rhubarb and don't think I've ever had it without strawberry. Love that it stands alone here. Can't wait to see it in the market soon. :-)

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    1. Valentina - I, too, grew up with strawberry-rhubarb pie - and now that I have had pure rhubarb pie, I will not go back. The strawberries, to me, take all the fun out f the rhubarb!

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  8. I adore rhubarb so much, and we often just cook it up on the stove with sugar and a dash of vanilla. Perfect on morning toast, over ice cream or slapped on puff pastry, and baked.

    Baked in a buttery pie crust, however, is perfect indulgence!

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    1. John - Mark and I once made blancmange with rhubarb compote. I hated the blancmange but ate the compote with great delight! We also make a slightly savory version to go on grilled fowl.

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  9. The season of rhubarb is begining and this year I really have to try some recipe with this plant it's so sourish it's amazing! :)

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  10. David, if you can believe it, I've never tasted rhubarb. I've always been a little reluctant because it looks like celery! After your description of it, I'll definitely have to try it this year - finally!

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    1. I do find that amazing but I know several people in the same boat, Kelly! You must try it - promise me!

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  11. Just returned from our beautiful rest in Netherlands so our street market is yet to be visited this Saturday ! Great suggestion for the weekend ! Thank you dear David !

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    1. I hope you had a wonderful time, Davorka! I have never been to the Netherlands and really want to go!

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  12. Strawberry-rhubarb pie is good, but straight rhubarb pie is SO much better. Night and day. And loads of sugar definitely make your mouth tingle. Your toes, too. :-) Really nice -- thanks.

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  13. Dear David, so very tempting - love the look (and sound) of your Rhubarb Pie, springtime baking at its best! Of course you know that we do eat a lot of rhubarb around here and I have always enjoyed it, on its own as well as when it is paired with sweet strawberries!
    So lecker!
    Liebe Guesse,
    Andrea

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  14. I'm going to have to ask the produce manager at our market if he could get some rhubarb...I've never seen it here in our area of Florida. With so many people who were originally from up north, you would think it would be popular.

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    1. Karen - someone there MUST have rhubarb! With all those misplaced northerners, you are bound to find it somewhere!

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  15. I'm with you, David, no strawberry in my rhubarb pie! I like to enjoy the rhubarb without distractions. Looking forward to my first rhubarb sighting.

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    1. I’m finding more and more people who like their rhubarb unadulterated, Jean!

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  16. My husband doesn't like rhubarb- says it's too tart tasting, but if doused in sugar, I love it! I'm in the midst of making a 'Rhubarb Shrub'- soaking rhubarb and ginger pieces in sugar for several days, which turns the mixture into a watery syrup ready to add to a cocktail or fizzy drink- it's all good, mate!

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  17. I've never had rhubarb. I'd better get crackin'. This pie looks DROOLICIOUS! xo

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  18. I've never heard of chewing on a sugar-coated rhubarb stalk before David! I am so happy I took the plunge a few years ago and started growing rhubarb--so easy and so rewarding! This looks like this year's new recipe--I need a new recipe every year as the harvest gets bigger and bigger :)

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    1. It was fun to chew it like that, although I haven't for years and years... maybe I should get a stalk and try it again!

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  19. Oh that's a shame that you didn't actually eat the raw rhubarb as a child! We all did in Scotland, but then again, maybe a different type of rhubarb. I just had the most incredible rhubarb in Australia last week. Made my rellies a crumble (they'd never tasted rhubarb) and then a rhubarb Eton Mess! Everyone licked their bowls (or wanted to)! Delicious, as I'm sure your pie is! One of my favorite veggies, EVER!

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    1. We did eat it as children, Christine - it has always been a favorite. Your Eton Mess and crumble sounds wonderful! Sounds like you have had an amazing time Down Under.

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  20. David, I think I've only ever had a strawberry-rhubarb combination in a pie! I will have have to try your recipe for a traditional rhubarb pie this summer! Sounds like a wonderful treat!

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    1. I think everyone should try a straight rhubarb pie, Marcelle - it will be a revelation!

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