Adventures in Ethics and Science

Rhubarb seems to be one of those foods that people either love or hate. I love it, but I didn’t feel like using it for strawberry-rhubarb pie, the pie that introduced me to rhubarb.

Instead, I decided to make a pie whose filling is essentially a rhubarb fool. The pie itself is easy to prepare, but because each of the components requires time to chill, it won’t provide instant gratification. Some things, however, are worth the wait.


Graham cracker crust:

Mix 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs with 6 tablespoons melted butter. Press into a buttered pie pan and chill for at least an hour.

(Alternatively, you can use a single pie crust, baked “blind”. One way to do this that will keep the crust from puffing away from the pan is to put a second pie pan on top of the pie pan with the crust in it. After baking, cool the crust completely.)

Foolish rhubarb filling:

Wash, trim, and thinly slice 1 pound of rhubarb. Place the rhubarb slices, 2 tablespoons of butter, and 1/3 cup brown sugar into a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rhubarb softens and the mixture thickens.

i-aee5c9f0fca01a32c6a24f59baec8b28-Rhubarb1.jpg

Put the rhubarb in the fridge to chill. Meanwhile, put the bowl and beater(s) you plan on using to whip the cream into the freezer.

When the bowl is nice and cold, beat 1/2 cup of heavy cream to the point where it holds its shape but isn’t lumpy and over-beaten.

To assemble:

Fold the rhubarb into the whipped cream. You want to have distinct ribbons of rhubarb running through the cream. Gently spread the mixture in the chilled crust, and chill for at least another hour.

i-299eab56282a0896e39caac1ce475d42-Rhubarb2.jpg

Do not be wounded by the taunts of the rhubarb haters in the vicinity — it just means more pie for you.

Comments

  1. #1 Lab Cat
    March 10, 2009

    Yum.

    I love rhubarb and when mine appears this Spring, I will make some Foolish rhubarb pie. One change will be to add ginger when I cook the rhubarb – it seems to add to/bring out the zing. You could shake some over the pie before eating it.

    I think this is my favorite of your pies so far.

  2. #2 Larry Ayers
    March 10, 2009

    I love reading your cooking posts, Janet! Living alone as I do, I’m not often inspired to bake pies, but I can take some vicarious pleasure in reading of your efforts (Jessica Palmer has posted some great pi/pie stories as well).

    Rhubarb is a truly strange Old World food. The fibrous consistency takes some getting used to,one of those Acquired Tastes if you didn’t grow up eating it. I also was introduced to the plant when mixed with strawberries and gradually came to appreciate rhubarb in all its acidic glory.

  3. #3 chezjake
    March 10, 2009

    Oh, yum!

    My (other) grandmother used to make a strawberry-rhubarb custard pie that was to die for, but none of the online recipes I’ve found come anywhere near it — they all mix the fruit into the custard before baking. My grandmother’s used a fruit filling similar to yours above (without adding whipped cream) and then just poured a “baked custard” mixture on top of the fruit in the pie shell before baking.

  4. #4 $0.01
    March 11, 2009

    Not sure whether to thank you for touting the wonders of rhubarb to possible non-believers or be upset with you for encouraging people to use it (less for me). Anyway, I’m a purist and always make just plain rhubarb pie. Why mess with perfection? Usually I make it so tart that only my mom and my Canadian friend will eat it plain– everyone else must have vanilla ice cream to mitigate the pucker. Mmmmmmm…!

  5. #5 DM
    March 12, 2009

    People hate rhubarb? Relly? That’s just crazy talk.

  6. #6 Super Sally
    March 12, 2009

    chezjake’s description of a rhubarb custard pie fascinated me so I Googled for lunch with these results:
    http://teriskitchen.com/pies/rhubarbcust.html (custard with evaporated milk)
    http://www.rhubarbinfo.com/recipe-pie.html#index_pie_29 (long list of rhubarb pies including several rhubarb custard)
    http://www.cooks.com/rec/search/0,1-00,rhubarb_custard_pie,FF.html (another list of rhubarb pie recipes that includes custards)

    My scan did not turn up any where the rhubarb was cooked into a sauce first, but I don’t see why that would not help prevent the bottom crust from being soggie. Some have top crusts or strussel topping, some even have meringue. Looks like you have a lot ot lab work ahead of you. Share the results (if not the pies) please.