Sunday, May 29, 2011

Year of the Pie #8: Sumner, Washington, Rhubarb Custard Pie

 'Tis the season for rhubarb! This is the patch of rhubarb here at the Margaret Adams' house: 
hello rhubarb!
I'm a huge fan of rhubarb, and when I was invited to a pie party last Thursday, I knew I had to find a rhubarb pie in the book to bake up. I had several options, and most were traditional, straight-rhubarb, or strawberry- or berry- rhubarb. SO typical. So, I opted for the Sumner, Washington, Rhubarb Custard Pie.

The recipe came from the St. Andrew's Church cookbook in Sumner, Washington. I imagine that it's a fantastic cookbook, as most church cookbooks tend to be. I knew I wouldn't have enough time the day of the pie party, between prepping the crust, baking the pie, and letting it set, so I baked it on Wednesday evening.
This was another quick and easy pie to prepare, with very few ingredients - rhubarb, sugar, a bit of flour, salt, nutmeg, a couple of eggs, a little milk, and a little butter. I tend to favor the smaller stalks that are bright red/pink most of the length; these stalks pull off the plant fairly easily. I'll cut off the leaves, as well as the lower, whitish end that connects it to the plant. Most of the stalks I could get at weren't all that pink, yet, but were fine nonetheless. 
pie fixin's
The crust was a basic flaky crust which I did up in the food processor. The dough went into the fridge before getting rolled out, then was formed in the pie plate with a fluted edge, and went into the freezer to set. 
chilled, ready for filling
The rhubarb, sugar, flour, salt and nutmeg were mixed and set to juice. While they were doing their thing, the eggs and milk were whisked together, then combined with the fruit. I had a little more than the two cups of eggs the recipe called for, so I increased the eggs to 3, and added a bit more milk. 
juicing the 'barb
The filling was poured into the chilled crust, then put in the oven to bake for about an hour.
into the oven!
It smelled REALLY good as it finished, and looked great, too, when I pulled it out of the oven.
I should have let it cool overnight on the counter, but instead I put it in the fridge. The filling ended up separating a bit from the rhubarb, so it didn't look very pretty. Luckily I was serving it with whip cream, so that hid the blemishes a bit. I think adding the extra egg helped bulk up the filling, and the custard filling settled to the bottom of the crust while some mixed with the rhubarb to form a thick, creamy layer on top.

It got rave reviews, and was a nice alternative to the traditional straight-fruit rhubarb pies. The pie is recommended to be served barely warmed, or chilled. I went for the intermediary, room temperature with some cool, freshly whipped cream.

Oh, and hopefully most people know this, but the leaves of the rhubarb plant are toxic. The book provides ample warning about this in each of the "recipe for success" sections for the rhubarb pies included.
rhubarb-leaf danger!!

I think grocery stores sell just the stalk, but I don't actually know, as I've always had access to a rhubarb patch and been able to cut my own.


  1. Looks delicious! You know what's odd? I've never had rhubarb-anything that I can remember. I should seek one of these pies out this summer.

    And these pie would a fella go about getting himself invited to such a thing?

  2. Rhubarb custard is my absolute favorite but Charlie makes the best! (he even basket crosses the top with pie crust). Looks yummy and now I must go to our rhubarb patch and con Charlie into making one!