Spring officially arrives when the rhubarb is ready to be picked.
Is there anything more beautiful than a hardy spring perennial breaking ground? Even better is one that is delightfully edible. Rhubarb also has fond memories for me of my grandmother’s garden. Her pies were legendary and fresh rhubarb marked the beginning of fruit pie season.
I am ridiculously proud of freshly baked pies cooling on my kitchen counter. Have I mentioned that before? These two double-crust rhubarb pies are grandma’s recipe except I make the crust with solid coconut oil instead of shortening for low cholesterol. Sugar is sprinkled on the top crust before baking. Aren’t they pretty? One is for dinner with friends; the other will star at Sunday dinner following BBQ short ribs and potato salad.
We are not a rhubarb custard family; I did not know that variety of rhubarb pie existed until I ran into Amish and Mennonite tradition. Grandmother passed along a simple fruit filling recipe. This amount is for one pie; double for two: 4 cups thinly sliced rhubarb, 2 cups sugar, 1/3 cup flour*, and a dash of salt. Mix and let sit for 15 minutes to bring out juice. Mix again; fill crust. Dot the filling with butter before putting on the top crust. Dust top crust with sugar. Bake pie at 400 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes. Cover the crust with aluminum foil sheet the last 10 minutes or so if crust begins to get too brown.
NOTE: If the rhubarb is especially crisp because of lots of spring rain, I increase the amount of flour from 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup. In fact, I usually add more than the 1/3 cup of flour because if the filling is not set, the slices fall apart. Make sure the pies are cool before serving.