SUMMER!!! RHUBARB!!! BALING HAY!!! For me, rhubarb pie and baling are directly linked. You can’t have one and not have the other! If you haven’t gathered, I’m a farm girl. Baling hay is probably one of the hottest summer chores ever invented and everyone is always starving by the time they finish. Most of the time I stay back at the house, make rhubarb pie, and watch my little brother while my Dad, brothers, and some hired help do the actual baling. Occasionally I drive the tractor, but it’s not as easy as it sounds to steer a tractor, a baler, and a wagon all at once. I have to look back often to make sure that everything is on course and it makes me wish that I had eyes in the back of my head. Anyway, our tradition is this: after baling, everyone flocks to our pond and dunks in. Then we eat pizza and rhubarb pie and ice cream. :)
Sometimes the people who come to help bale seem puzzled about rhubarb pie. Rhubarb pie? Isn’t rhubarb a vegetable? The answer is yes. Rhubarb is a vegetable but it tastes very much like fruit. It is tart and sour, but that is why the pie has so much more zing than other pie recipes. It is my one of my family’s favorite pies and it always disappears quickly. In fact, this morning one of my brothers wandered into my bedroom and told me something that I simply had to share! “Hey Katy… I had a nightmare last night. I dreamed that our dog ate the last slice of rhubarb pie.” I had a good laugh over that! That might just go to show you how much my family loves rhubarb pie. The filling is sweet and tangy, and the crust is always promisingly buttery, flaky, and crisp. There is always the perfect amount of goo but it’s never too messy to present well! If you have any doubts about this recipe (simply because of the fact that rhubarb is a vegetable) then I dare you to make it. IT IS SO GOOD!!! (If you have never seen nor heard of rhubarb, I’ve attached a picture of it at the bottom of the post.)
Rhubarb Pie Recipe:
(From Betty Crocker)
2/3 cup butter
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
4-5 Tbsp water
For the Filling:
4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp. orange peel
2 tbsp. butter
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and set out an ungreased 9 inch pie plate.
2. For the crust: I sometimes cheat on this part and you can too if you want. What I do, is I just throw the ingredients in my electric mixer and pulse it, so as not to lose the flakiness of the crust (add the water 1 tbsp. at a time between pulses). If you don’t want to cheat, keep on reading this step. Cut butter into flour and salt until particles are the size of small peas. Sprinkle in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans the sides of the bowl.
3. Gather dough into a ball and cut it in half. Roll out one of the halves of dough on a lightly floured surface until the pastry is about two inches larger than inverted pie plate. Fold the pastry into quarters; ease into plate and unfold. Then press it firmly against the bottom and side.
4. For the filling: Mix the flour, sugar, orange peel, and rhubarb together in a large bowl until rhubarb is thoroughly coated. Dump the filling into the pie plate, making sure that it is evenly spread, and dot the butter on top.
5. Roll out the other half of the dough on a lightly floured surface until the pastry is about two inches larger than pie plate. Fold the pastry into quarters; ease it onto the filling and carefully unfold it. Cut off any excess dough, leaving about an inch of dough hanging off of the pie plate’s edge. Fold the dough under and flute.
6. Cover the fluted edge with aluminum foil so that it will not burn and place the pie plate on a cookie sheet. Cut slits in the crust top and sprinkle the crust generously with sugar. (DO NOT SKIP OR SKIMP ON THE SUGAR! It bakes on very well and makes the crust 100% even more delicious!)
7. Bake the pie for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10-15 more minutes. When you take it out, it should be a rich golden brown (as pictured above) and thick syrupy goo should be bubbling out of the slits.
8. Enjoy warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a happy heart!