A delicious rite of spring for us is a rhubarb custard pie. Rhubarb is one of the first things to be ready to eat from the garden in the spring, and in my opinion, in a pie is the best way to eat it. Rhubarb is a humble thing, growing in a mound of large green leaves. Ours is a bit worse for the wear right now, since we had a terrible thunderstorm Friday evening, with high winds, heavy rain, and hail!
Not to worry, though, because it's not the leaves that we eat. It's the lovely red and/or green stalks.
Robin cut some Saturday morning for our first pie of the season.
My mother always pointed out that many, if not most, rhubarb recipes include other flavors, such as strawberry, cherry, or pineapple. Her favorite pie recipe contains only rhubarb, with the secret ingredient being nutmeg. To make my mom's recipe, you need three cups of cut rhubarb.
In a large bowl, beat two eggs with two tablespoons milk.
In a separate bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg.
Use a whisk to combine the sugar mixture into the egg mixture.
Then stir in the cut rhubarb with a big spoon.
Pour the mixture into an unbaked pie crust. I like to make the crust first and have it ready and waiting.
I also roll out the dough and cut strips to make a lattice top at the same time.
Once the filling is in the crust, put a few pats of butter on top.
Weave the dough strips over the top and crimp the edges. Beat an egg with a little water and brush over the crust. Then sprinkle with a little sugar.
Bake the pie for 50-60 minutes at 400 degrees.
It's so delicious! Serve it plain or with vanilla ice cream.
I've never bought rhubarb, but if you don't have it in your garden (or a friend or neighbor who does), I think you can sometimes find it in grocery stores this time of year. Farmer's markets might be a good place as well. By itself, rhubarb is way too sour to eat, but with a goodly amount of sugar, it is delectable. I found this website, The Rhubarb Compendium, which has everything you might want to know, and much more. There appears to be hundreds of recipes there as well. Here's wishing you a happy spring, with rhubarb!!
Rhubarb Custard Pie
2 TBSP milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 TBSP flour
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3 cups cut rhubarb
8" unbaked pie crust
Beat eggs and milk in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, flour, and nutmeg. Stir into egg mixture with a whisk. Stir in rhubarb with a big spoon. Pour mixture into unbaked pie crust and dot with butter. Cover with lattice top (or leave uncovered if desired). Brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 50-60 minutes.