Back in the day...

Remember the days when grandma (or maybe mom) used to cool her pies in the windowsill on a sunny day in the Spring or Summer - a towel draped underneath the pie plate, a cool breeze blowing across the surface of that crispy, golden crust?

Okay, so no one I know does this, as someone would probably steal it off the windowsill, dogs would get into it and eat the whole thing, or maybe some big black bug might come along and decide to take up residence in your beautiful pie, but come on, some of you must have known somebody that did? Or, perhaps it's just one of those June Cleaver memories, imbedded in the mind as what the perfect wife (or girlfriend, as the case may be) would do with her culinary creations in the summertime, beckoning the children home from playing with their friends...well, I'm certainly not perfect, but hey, 'when in Rome...'

I, for one, wish I had a big windowsill that was safe from big hairy dogs and big black bugs. Especially because I made this rhubarb pie for our Spring menu at Supper Club a few weeks ago, and it had to cool for at least 4 hours before we cut into it (What a perfect opportunity to be the "perfect" girlfriend, no?). And there is nothing more Spring-like than a rustic rhubarb pie. But alas, I settled for resting it on the outside deck rail only long enough to snap a quick picture in the sunshine (the glorious, glorious finally arrived sunshine), then rushed it back inside to safety.

But I could imagine it cooling out there, and that's all I needed to feel content, and like Spring had finally come to Oregon. Yay! I knew as soon as I published this post, I'd be jinxing myself and the freezing rain would come pouring down for the whole rest of the week (as it has been this entire week), but for short time, Spring and gorgeous weather had come, and I enjoyed every spare moment I could squeeze out of it! I dug through the recesses of our drawers until I found my sunglasses, dusted them off, and donned them for my first sunny trip to the Farmer's Market, where I got two pounds of brilliantly red, freshly picked rhubarb for this pie. Thankfully, rain or shine, our farmer's market is now in full swing - the best part about Spring.

We cheated on the crust, and bought it from the grocery store (shh, don't tell!), and next time I think I'll try to make my own. It tasted fine, but got that unattractive glossy transluscent crust look (does this ever happen to you??) on the top...which may not have been a result of just the crust, but if anyone can tell me how to get rid of that, please do! We served it with vanilla bean ice cream (essential!), and the pie itself was tart, but not too tongue-twistingly eye-cringingly cheek-dimpling tart, and had a pleasant sweetness to it that helped balance it out. This was both my first pie, and my first rhubarb pie. Next time, perhaps, I may add a bit more sugar to the recipe (confession: okay, I did do the eye-cringing a little bit), or try a few other versions, just to see what I like best. Any recommendations?

Rhubarb pie, from Martha Stewart Living

2 lbs. rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
pinch of coarse sea salt
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest plus 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tbsp. heavy cream
1 large egg yolk
fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 375F, with rack in bottom third. Stir together rhubarb, granulated sugar, cornstarch, salt, and lemon zest and juice in a large bowl. Set aside.
2. On a floured surface, roll out half the dough into a 13'' round, about 1/8 inch thick. Fit into a 9 1/2 inch deeo-dish glass pie plate. Fill with rhubarb mixture and dot with butter. Refrigerate.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the remaining dough, and drape over the filling. Trim the edges to 1 inch, then fold under and crimp. Make 5 large slits in the crust to vent the steam, and refrigerate another 15 minutes.
4. Whisk cream and egg yolk in a small bowl. Brush over crust, then sprinkle crust with sanding sugar. Bake until the bottom crust is golden and the filling is bubbling vigorously, about 1 hour and 25 minutes. Cover with foil if browning too quickly (I had to do this). Let cool at least 4 hours (I might do a bit longer, as my pie was still a little runnier than I wanted it to be). Enjoy!

7 comments from you:

Clare Eats said...

Yes! Make your own crust, it tastes soooo much better.

Did you fill the pie whilst the filling was still warm?

A rhubarb pie sounds great, especially with a hot coffee right now as it is TRUELY pouring with rain!

ilva said...

Looks and sounds great! I haven't had one for years because noone likes it in this house I can't make one to eat all alone. Or maybe yes, I could deep freeze it in portions...hmmm thanks Mich for making me think in a new way!

Nerissa said...

*crawling like a little ant towards the pie so I can steal it*


Actually, I know the image of which you speak but I wonder how realistic that really is. What I do know really existed in the past were those little cupboards called pie safes. They were built with screens to keep out bugs while pies cooled off outside.

michelle said...

Hi Clare...hmm...maybe yes...maybe I put it in there and didn't "refigerate" just "left on counter" for a bit... Glad to hear someone else in the world is getting some of the rain we are!

Hi Ilva, Oh you can always make yourself goodies! Or maybe just mini-pies? You deserve them! :)

Hi Nerissa, Probably not very realistic at all. I love the idea of a pie safe - keep the bugs and the boyfriend out?!

paz said...

Love your pie!


Kitchen Queen said...

(Stupid Blogger has kept me from commenting on this for days.)

What a great looking pie, Michelle! Why the crust is translucent.....maybe the company that made it scrimped and rolled it too thin, or didn't use enough flour, it's hard to say. Maybe too much liquid brushed on it. I agree with Clare, making your own is best. My mom's antidote to Puckery Rhubarb Syndrome is to make strawberry rhubarb pie. I asked her for her recipe, and she said she buys that premade strawberry filler goop. The horror! All this time I thought that pie was entirely homemade....I was shocked.

(Oh, and I have that same blanket your pie's on. Used it to cuddle both my children on chilly fall days while they nursed. Such memories seeing it brought back!)

michelle said...

Hi Paz!

Hi KQ! Blogger has been driving me crazy too! It could definitely be that I brushed too much liquid on. I do want to try a strawberry rhubarb pie sometime, as I've heard this is a good rememdy for the pucker syndrome! I've had lots of similar shocking moments with dishes that tasted oh-so-good from various people - but hey, recipes are starting places to be improved upon, right? but then again, if something can evoke such memories as is, sometimes that premade stuff just has to do... Glad to bring back soome good memories to you!