Another loooonnng winter out of the way. As a kid, when winter finally breathed its last and spring blossoms prevailed, I’d take a little cup of sugar out to the rhubarb patch and break off stems to dip in the sugar and eat. Mom rarely did anything with it other than add sugar and cook it down to a sauce. She sometimes made a rhubarb custard pie for the family reunion on the last Saturday of June every year, but my dad favored the sauce so that’s where most of it ended up. She was diligent about keeping it all picked so we could chop it up and freeze to have all winter. Eventually she tired of even that and let it be known that it was free for the taking to anyone who wanted to cut it themselves.
When we started making pies at the bakery we soon discovered that rhubarb was the most sought after. My personal favorite is apple so I was a little surprised to find pucker-up rhubarb had such a devoted following. Actually even more requested is strawberry-rhubarb, but that post will be next month when local strawberries are ready. You want only tender stems. They can be large, but rhubarb can get tough and woody as the weather warms, so check it before using. Normally we make this pie with a regular or lattice top crust, but last time I made it with the same crumble topping we use on apple crisp so that’s included here. Top with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and a few spoonfuls of thinned strawberry freezer jam. We had some homemade caramel sauce on hand to drizzle on top of the ice cream. If that sounds too sweet in addition to all the sugar, remember that this is rhubarb. It can take a lot of added sweetness to counter the tartness of the fruit. This mom made her own Mothers Day gift to herself. Honestly, it was hard to to take the pictures without stopping to have a piece.
Rhubarb Pie with Crumble Topping
- 1/2 cup (1 stick, 114 grams) cold butter, cut into pieces
- 1 cup (200 grams) brown sugar
- 1 cup (140 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (50 grams) old-fashioned oats
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Using a food processor or your fingers, work the butter into the brown sugar. Add the flour and cinnamon, then stir in the oats. Set aside while you prepare the pie.
PREPARE THE RHUBARB AND ASSEMBLE PIE
- pie dough for single crust
- 18 ounces (510 grams) fresh or frozen rhubarb, cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
- 2 tablespoons instant tapioca, ground fine with a coffee grinder
- crust dust (equal parts sugar and flour)
- crumble topping
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Toss the sugar and tapioca with the rhubarb. Prepare the bottom crust and sprinkle a little crust dust on it to help absorb excess liquid from the filling. Pour in the rhubarb, top with the crumble topping (be generous!) and bake for 45-60 minutes, till juices run and fruit is soft. You will likely have to use foil to protect the crust and topping from burning for the last half of the bake. Cool completely before cutting.