Sunday, July 24, 2011

Some Light Summer Eating

Is there anything better than a fresh rhubarb pie?  

Well, maybe piecrust cookies made out of the pastry I whipped up for that fresh rhubarb pie.

With thanks to my good friend, Linda, who brought me a slew of fresh rhubarb on the 4th of July, today we're going to have rhubarb pie for dessert.  And, before dinner, I'm nibbling on the piecrust cookies made from the excess pastry dough.

I remember rhubarb being called "pie plant."  I never asked why ... I just knew what to expect if Mom said she had made a pie plant pie for dinner.  I haven't heard anyone call it pie plant in years, but that's how I think of it.  And in many places I've been throughout the United States, I've met people who have never tried rhubarb at all, regardless of what it's called.  

When I was a kid, we used to eat stalks of rhubarb straight out of the garden, unwashed of course, dipping the stalk into a bowl of sugar with each bite.  The flavor was akin to that of a Sour Patch candy, but before Sour Patch candies were invented.  My kids grew up eating rhubarb the same way.  Thinking of how paranoid folks are these days about "double dipping" and eating unwashed produce, I'm amazed we all survived that great unwashed treat.  

One other thing my mom would make from pie plant was rhubarb sauce.  Not sure why it wasn't called "pie plant sauce," but, it wasn't.  There wasn't a better summer breakfast than a bowl of rhubarb sauce and a slice of cinnamon toast.  I'm not talking about fancy cinnamon bread that Mom would buy at the bakery and then toast.  Just plain, white Wonder bread toasted, smeared with soft oleomargarine (couldn't afford butter with 10 kids) and then sprinkled with a homemade mixture of white sugar and cinnamon.  To this day, I can cook up a pot of rhubarb sauce, chill it and have it for breakfast with cinnamon toast, and voila! I'm 10 years old again.

I'm a purist, so I don't muddy up my rhubarb pie with strawberries.  It's tart and sweet all at the same time and, when served with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, a beautiful summertime treat.  Here's my rhubarb pie recipe, should you wish to indulge.

Mix together:
4 cups (washed!) rhubarb cut into 1" slices.
1/4 cup Minute Tapioca
1&1/2 cups white sugar
Dash of salt

Let stand 15 minutes.

Pour into 9" uncooked pie crust.  
Dot with 1 Tbsp butter
Cover with top crust.  Seal and flute edge.  
Cut slits in top crust.  Sprinkle crust with white sugar.  
Cover crust edge with aluminum foil.
Bake in preheated 400 degree F oven 35 minutes.

Remove foil from edge of crust.  Bake another 20 minutes or until juices are bubbling from slits.

Cool 3 to 4 hours before serving.

Oh, and the piecrust cookies?  Use the trimmings from your piecrust and place them on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with a cinnamon sugar mixture. Put in the 400 degree oven at same time as pie, but bake for only about 10 minutes or until piecrust is golden.  Cool and enjoy!

1 comment:

Michele said...

Rhubarb dipped in sugar is a childhood rite of passage! Just this year, I gave each child a stalk of rhubarb and a dish of sugar and taught them how to eat it. They both loved it and are now part of the fresh-picked rhubarb sugar club. Nathan has even asked for it again!