Thursday, April 24, 2008


We discovered a large rhubarb plant at our new house. I know many people don't love rhubarb, and frankly I'm not a fan of a lot of the things people do with rhubarb, but I love rhubarb pie. The kind my mother made, with eggs. Many people swear by the rhubarb/strawberry combo as pie filling. Ehhh. Awfully slimey for my taste. I'll take the rhubarb custard filling any day.

So when I was invited to a social gathering and asked to bring my "favorite recipe" the rhubarb seemed to decide for me what that was going to be. Ray cut a bunch for me and brought it home yesterday. Turned out to be exactly the right amount for two pies, according to my mother's recipe.

So I made two pies—one to take to the social and one to leave with Ray.

I can't help but think about my mother when I make a pie. I do not pride myself on my pie-making abilities. My mother made wonderful pies. My dad loved my mom's rhubarb pie more than anything. My daughter learned from her grandmother and is another skilled piemaker. I always say piemaking skips a generation, but I do make rhubarb pies. My mother's pies were not only delicious, they were beautiful. She could make a perfectly fluted piecrust with her eyes closed. I struggle to torture the edges into semi-even little crimps.

The lattice top is a bit skimpy on the smaller pie. I ran out of pie dough. That one will be Ray's.

Done. They look good, don't they? You should smell them. Mmmmmm. The custard is sugary and crisp-y on the top and creamy inside, with bites of tart rhubarb. Mom would be proud (though she'd wonder about those edges). This may well be my favorite recipe indeed. Easy, too.

Rhubarb Custard Pie
Combine 1-1/2 C sugar, 1/4 C. flour and 3/4 tsp. nutmeg. Beat into 3 already slightly beaten eggs.
Add 4 C. 1" slices rhubarb.
Line 9" pie plate with pastry, fill. Dot with 2T. butter or margarine. Top with lattice crust; flute edge. Sprinkle lightly with sugar.
Bake in hot oven (400°) 50 to 60 minutes. Cool before serving.


  1. Anonymous5:51 PM

    Mmmmmmmmm. I can smell them now. And I can see Dad just waiting for a slice. It certainly doesn't need ice cream on top, but you know Dad would never say, "no thank" to that little embellishment. Mmmmmmmmm.

    Oh, and your fluting looks just fine! You have to have short, short fingernails to do it as nicely as Mom.

  2. That's SO true about the fingernails! I notice you skipped over the whole lard vs. butter vs. Crisco controversy, though.

    If I'd known you were going to do a lattice top crust, I'd've bored you at lunch today with my story about how my husband won my heart with a lattice-crust fruit pie.

  3. The pies look delicious - I'm with you , I like rubarb but only done some ways. I have copied the recipe to give it a try sometime... thanks

  4. Anonymous10:03 PM

    Ok, I have to know -- how did you make the pastry? I swear I could bake really good pies if I were just allowed to use Crisco like my mother used to....

    And I love rhubarb in almost every form it shows up in -- raw, cooked and sugared, and particularly in custard pie.

  5. Anonymous10:05 PM

    That last comment was from June, who thought she would use her Google account but then it wouldn't take and so she went to anonymous, but forgot to sign her name. Such are the ways one can go wrong on the internet -- as well as elsewhere, I suppose.


  6. Well you've got me sitting here drooling all over my keyboard. That is definitely my all-time favorite way to eat rhubarb. I hadn't heard about the pie-making skills skipping a generation. Now I understand why my mom's pies are so much better. But my husband says that my pies are even better than his mother's. Maybe she was skipped.

  7. I'd say your edges look just fine. Then again, I'm only a so-so pie maker. My dad used to rave about all things rhubarb that his German grandmother used to make. There is some most excellent strawberry rhubarb jam made here (in Germany) and a friend of mine whacks together a tangy-sweet crumble that's delicious (and not gooey that I've noticed). Good German daughter that she is she has no recipe -- she just puts things together like her mother and grandmother always did.

  8. That recipe is very close to one my mother who was not a pie maker/baker used. I think she got it from my father's mother. It was my dad's favorite. In my family, pie making skills skipped two generations but Erica does an excellent job expecially with Kentucky Bourbon pecan pie.

    I remember when I growing up that I used to love to have one stalk of rhubarb every year. I would wash it, peel off the stalky stuff and eat it with a little salt. I loved the flavor but did not like the coating it left in my mouth.

    Thanks for the memory.

  9. i love rhubarb pie.. never made it myself before, now I may just have to try your recipe...

  10. One evening when I was in Portland Caprial's offered Rhubarb Creme Brulee. It sounded very strange, but, of course, I had to try it. It was the best thing I had eaten in years - I dream of it still. I imagine your pie would have the same effect. Now, if I can only find some rhubarb. Farmer's Market is on Wednesdays.

  11. Looks like you hit a home run with this one! I discovered rhubarb last year. Thought I didn't like it. Now I must copy this recipe for my records and hunt down the recipe I discovered last year.

  12. Sounds- and looks- yummy!! My grandmother always put peaches in her rhubarb pie...

  13. Looks good and yummy! Does it really matter how it looks if it tastes good?

  14. The ice has just gone out on our lake last week, but I pride myself on having the first patch of rhubarb big enough for a pie, which is what I'm making today! Maybe this is a recipe I should try. I'm also anxious to find out what's happening with your house since we'll be selling ours this time next year and thought we'd try it ourselves first too. You had it set up so, a list of plants in the garden even! Good luck!

  15. Anonymous7:30 AM

    I remember when Emily got a rhubarb pie-making lesson from Betty; I wish my girls would have been old enough to learn from their Grandmother, the master at baking pies!!!! Yours pies look great. I always run out of dough for the lattice. I can't believe that rhubarb is growing already!!!!!

  16. Give me a good plain simple rhubarb pie, though a rhubarb custard pie is a great alternative. (my rhubarb recipe is I think everything you listed short of the eggs).

    Reminds me, my rhubarb is up and needs picking before the heat dries it out too much. Thanks.