I’m embracing my inner homemaker. Currently sandwiched between “freelance” and “consulting,” what I thought would be the ideal summer job, actually means having a whole lot of time on my hands and if I don’t use it wisely, I fret about being underemployed and ultimately living under a bridge. Instead, I’ve dusted off my fifties-style apron and love of clothes pins and martinis and am enjoying controlling the things I can, instead of freaking out over the things I can’t. (BP, Afganistan, Times Square Bombs, 2012, Sallie Mae, 1099s, you get the idea.)
At least I won’t go hungry!
Mark came home from the farmer’s market the other day with a bag full of beautiful rhubarb stalks. Like asparagus and ramps, these uniquely flavored, celery-like stalks are another ephemeral ingredient of Spring. Raw, they are sour, very sour. Tossed with some sugar and a few drips of lemon juice, then baked inside a pie, however, they are sublime. The pie will be especially awesome if you substitute in lard for half of the butter in whatever recipe you are using. Don’t go whole-hog though and use 100% lard because your pie crust will come out a little… porky.
And of course, no pie is complete without a scoop of ice cream, and in my laziness, I didn’t feel like going to the store. In my house I had all the makings of ice cream (milk, cream, sugar, vanilla) and decided to throw in a few cardamom pods because I thought that cardamom and rhubarb might go really well together. I was right.
Here is the recipe for the pie, stay tuned for the ice cream recipe!
1 Double Pie Crust (Recipe Follows)
4 cups rhubarb, cubed
1 cup sugar
2 T cornstarch
1/4 cup water
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 400º. Roll out half of the pie crust to 1/4″ thick and line your pie plate with the dough. Cut off any that overhangs the edge. Use a fork to poke several holes in the bottom of the crust, then bake 10 minutes, until the crust is dry to the touch. (This is called “blind baking.”) Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Turn the oven down to 350º.
Meanwhile, combine the rhubarb and sugar and let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes. (Called “macerating.” After 30 minutes, make a slurry by whisking the cornstarch into the water and mix that and the lemon juice into the rhubarb. Fill your cool pie crust with the rhubarb mixture and roll out the other half of the crust. You can do a plain pie crust and make a few vent holes in the top, or you can make a fancy lattice top crust like I did. Just cut your rolled out dough into 1″ wide ribbons, lay four or five parallel to each other. Then, fold back every other, put in a perpendicular ribbon, then unfold. Next, fold back the opposite ribbons and tuck in another ribbon. Repeat until you have a woven top.
Brush the crust with the beaten egg and bake 45-50 minutes until bubbly and golden brown on top. Cool to room temperature and serve.
Double Pie Crust
“Double” means you’ll have enough dough to make a top and a bottom crust.
2 1/2 cups flour
3 T sugar
1 stick cold butter, cut into sugar cube-sized pieces
1/2 cup cold lard
ice water, as needed
In a large bowl, stir together the sugar and flour. Using a pastry cutter or two butter knives, cut the butter and lard into the flour mixture until the smallest pieces look like sand and the big pieces look like peas. (Don’t worry about getting it all even, the big pieces of fat suspended in the flour are what make a flaky crust. The key is to work fast.) Holding the ice back, drizzle in water and mix until the dough just starts to come together and you can form it into two equally-sized discs. This is anywhere from a few teaspoons to a 1/4 cup of water, depending on the humidity in your kitchen and the moisture content of your flour. Err on the side of too little water. This dough is incredibly forgiving. Form your two discs, wrap in wax paper and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or up to a day.
I wish I had a picture for you of when it came out of the oven, but I don’t because we ate the finished product! Guess you’ll have to get thee to a farmer’s market and make your own masterpiece.
Did I mention that I am in the running for my very own cooking show on Oprah’s new network? Click the link below to vote for me! You can vote as many times as you like. Thanks y’all!