This is Week #4 of my Nova Scotia Local Food series, and I can’t think of something that says June more than this classic recipe for tart Rhubarb Pie!
There’s an old joke that everyone tells about Nova Scotia that the only reason you need to lock your car is that you might come back and find it full of vegetables. Or rhubarb. (Today I learned that rhubarb is considered a vegetable.)
I cannot tell you how much this is true. My mum has made four – FOUR! rhubarb pies in the past two weeks. (Not surprisingly, only one of them made it to the freezer!)
Everyone’s gardens are overflowing with rhubarb. It’s not rare to see kids walking down the street, gnawing on some, or full buckets outside houses with signs that say ‘Rhubarb – FREE!’
Last week my sister arrives carrying a handful of these rhubarb stalks that are MASSIVE.
Seriously, I took a picture of them so you can see how giant these are! Yes, they are indeed rhubarb. No, they are not on steroids – I think. I took a picture of them in a full-size chair because I couldn’t think of any other way to define how immense this rhubarb is (LONGER THAN MY ARM).
And that wasn’t all of them. Oh no, she goes back out to her car to get more. She had a whole trunkful!
This tart vegetable is the basis for many spring dishes, like Rhubarb Crisp, as well as jams, and even drink infusions! It goes very well with strawberries and oranges. Rhubarb freezes well, so it’s not rare to be served some rhubarb something in the middle of winter.
And this pie is so quick and easy, you just chop them up and toss ’em in your pie dough! It’s adapted from the Joy of Cooking cookbook, which had too much sugar for us.
(You well know my struggle with pie crusts, so my mum made this one. You can use whatever pie crust recipe you like!)
Add your mixed sugar and cornstarch on top.
Cover that baby up all nice and cozy and pinch those edges.
Sprinkle more sugar over the top and toss ‘er in the oven.
And there you are, the easiest pie ever. (No, you aren’t crazy, it is a different pie from the ‘making of’ pictures – those afters did not turn out well, so we had to make another pie – I’m so sad, can you tell?)
It’s the perfect balance of sweet and tart, it melts in your mouth. You’ll be hooked from the very first bite.
- Raw pie dough , enough for both the bottom and top of a pie, divided and rolled out thinly. (Use your favourite recipe - I am still perfecting mine!)
- 4-5 cups raw rhubarb , cut into 1" pieces
- scant 1 cup sugar + 2 tsp sugar (keep separate)
- 6 Tbsp cup cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp salted butter , cut into small pieces
- OPTIONAL: remove 2 1/2 cups of rhubarb and replace with 2 1/2 cups of strawberries for a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
- OPTIONAL: Add 1 Tbsp orange zest on top of the rhubarb
Preheat oven to 450°.
Cover the bottom of a 9" pie pan with half of your pie dough.
Fill the pie with rhubarb, it should make a nice mound but not so high that you can't cover it.
In a bowl, mix 1 cup of sugar, the cornstarch and the salt, and pour over the rhubarb in the pie.
Cover with the remaining pie dough, and poke holes in it with a fork or cut slits for venting.
Sprinkle the 2 tsp of sugar over the top.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Lower the heat to 350°, and bake for another 45 minutes.
Cool completely before serving.