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Sunday, 29 June 2008

rhubarb pie revisited (Mmm…Canada!/SHF#44)

go directly to the recipe

summary: recipe for rhubarb pie; includes recipe for pastry made with lard; high cost of local and/or organic ingredients

Jennifer (The Domestic Goddess) has asked us to share a “favourite Canadian confection, indulgence, dessert, sweet… anything really! As long as says Canada” and we “can get some sort of Sugar High from it“. I realize that I’m one day late, but here it is anyway, my post for

Mmm...Canada Sugar High Friday #44: Mmm…Canada!

When I was growing up (in Alberta), one of my favourite things to do would be to go out to the back garden to pick rhubarb.

rhubarb pie When I was in highschool, as soon as the rhubarb was growing well, I would take rhubarb stew for lunch. My friends and I would sit in the bleachers and invariably one boy would appear to beg for my rhubarb stew. (No, he wasn’t flirting; I was way too uncool to be flirt-worthy. He just wanted the rhubarb stew….)

But of course, rhubarb isn’t just for stew. It makes the best pie. I think rhubarb pie has to be my favourite kind of pie.

(click on image to see larger view and more photos)

Even though rhubarb grows very well here in Ontario in every garden except our shady garden (trust me, I’ve tried to coax it into growing here), if we want pie, we have to buy rhubarb.

The rhubarb here in Ontario is much redder than Mom’s rhubarb. Rhubarb here has red stalks. Mom’s rhubarb was only red at the base. The taste of the Ontario rhubarb is pretty much the same as the green rhubarb of my youth though.

And it really pains me to have to buy it. The price just seems too high*. When you consider that it grows like a weed. And that some people have it growing in their garden and complain that it’s just taking up space.

rhubarb pie Don’t they know how great rhubarb pie is? Pie!! What is better than pie?

Rhubarb Pie
makes one pie

corrected @ 13:58

pastry

  • 1 2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • approx ⅓ c lard
  • ICE-COLD water (anywhere from 2 Tbsp to ½ c)

Rhubarb filling

  • rhubarb (enough to fill the pie plate)
  • sugar, to taste (anywhere from ½ to c)
  • 3 1 Tbsp flour (or thereabouts)
  • 1 tsp salt

preparation

  1. Pastry: Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl. Cut the lard into the flour and salt until it is pea sized. (With vegetable shortening, we use cup shortening to 2 cups of flour. When we use lard, we find less is better, hence the measurement of only ⅓ c lard for 2 cups of flour. If you think there isn’t quite enough fat, add a little butter.) Add ICE-COLD water a little at a time and mix lightly until it is pastry consistency. Use a pastry cutter if your hands are warm or use your hands if you have cold hands like mine. Please note that the amount of water changes drastically, depending on the humidity. (For whatever pastry recipe you use, if it is very humid, reduce the amount of water called for.)
  2. Wrap it tightly in plastic. REFRIGERATE AT LEAST ONE HOUR.
  3. Filling: Wash rhubarb and shake to dry. Chop it into cubes and dump into a pyrex bowl.
  4. Add about ½ c sugar. Stir to coat the rhubarb. Taste and add more sugar if you want. Add the salt. Allow the rhubarb to sit and sweat while you wait for the pastry to finish refrigerating.
  5. Assemble the pie: Handling the pastry as little as possible, place it on a lightly floured board. Cut it in half. Roll out one half into a large round that will fill a pie plate.
  6. Add flour to the rhubarb mixture and stir well. Dump it into the prepared bottom crust.
  7. Once again, handling the pastry as little as possible, roll out the other half to create the top crust. Drape it over the rhubarb, trimming to leave about an inch hanging over. Keep the trimmings!! Gently fold and pinch the two crusts together with water, or fruit juice or juice from the rhubarb filling. Use the trimmings to gently patch pieces of crust onto the rim. (One can NEVER have too much pastry!)
  8. Use a fork or knife to put holes into the top layer. (Ensure that the bottom layer remains unpierced.) Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 425F. Then turn the oven down to 350F and continue baking for 20 to 30 minutes more: until the filling is bubbling in centre.

Serve hot or cold, as is, or with ice cream. Serve it for breakfast with yoghurt.

Note: Sometimes I like to add a tiny bit of powdered ginger and some dots of butter to the rhubarb just before putting the top crust on. And if I’m stewing rhubarb, I definitely like to add a tiny bit of powdered ginger and butter…

Ah pie!! Life really is sweeter with pie!

Mmm…Canada / Sugar High Friday

Mmm...Canada

Jennifer (The Domestic Goddess) and Jasmine (Confessions of a Cardamom Addict) are co-hosting this event to coincide with the upcoming Canada Day celebrations on 1 July. Jasmine is focussing on the savoury dishes. Jennifer is focussing on sweets because she is also hosting Sugar High Friday; she wrote:

Even though [food] unites us all, it also marks, almost like no other part of life, our varieties and distinctions. I have wondered on more than one occasion what food in Canada tastes like to someone who isn’t me. What does Canada taste like to someone who perhaps didn’t grow up here from childhood, or someone who left here and then returned having experienced other places and other cultures? Or what would it taste like to someone who grew up in the Prairies or the East or West coast of Canada rather than in Ontario as I did…? There are so many diverse food cultures in this country that it seems almost impossible to experience even a fraction of them in a lifetime. [...]

[L]et’s make our proverbial pot a little bigger; a little sweeter, if you will. Let’s get together as many bloggers as we can to share their favourite Canadian confection, indulgence, dessert, sweet…anything really! As long as says Canada to you and you can get some sort of Sugar High from it, we want to know about it.

Write and post your Mmm… Canada entry between June 23rd and 28th [2008]. [...]

And if sweets aren’t your thing (or you want to make something sweet and something salty or spicy, head on over to Jasmine’s site to participate in the savory version of Mmm… Canada. [...]

Let’s take this Canada Day to new gustatory heights! I want everyone to say it with me: Mmm…Canada!

For complete details on how to participate in Mmm…Canada, please go to:

Canadian Food Blogger Please read my post for the savoury portion of this event:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

High Price of Local Produce
Over the past few weeks, we have been going to the various farmers’ markets around the city. We’re amazed by the beauty. But we’re really amazed by the prices. How is it that it it costs TWICE AS MUCH for a bunch of beets (gorgeous beets!) coming from a farm a few kilometers out of Toronto than it does for a similar sized bunch of beets (very nice looking beets!) coming from a farm somewhere in Texas? Texas is hundreds of kilometers away! So the difference in price can’t have anything to do with fuel costs for shipping….

And how is it that 5 (yes, that’s “five”) organic radishes from the farmers’ market cost the same as a bunch of a bunch containing at least 15 Ontario grown radishes being sold at the vegetable store?

And how is it that Ontario grown apples (probably from Niagara – hardly any distance from here) cost the same as apples from New Zealand? How is it that the same amount of Ontario strawberries (fabulous strawberries right now) cost $1 MORE than California strawberries? (The California strawberries are beautiful looking but virtually tastefree because they’ve travelled so far. But I bet you anything that most shoppers will choose the prettier looking ones that cost a dollar less….)

So what is causing the high cost of local and/or organic produce? It can’t be cost of fuel for shipping. Is it simply “what the market will bear”? Are we to be so grateful for locally grown food that we just smile and empty our wallets?

I WANT to support local farmers. I WANT to support the organic farmers. But if it comes down to having to pay twice as much (or more) for what they are growing, I just can’t afford it.

Locally grown and organic produce really shouldn’t be a luxury item. As long as it is, we aren’t going to see any real change in the way that people think about what we are doing to our environment by continuing to rape the earth.

 

edit 4 July 2008: Whoohoo!! I see that Jennifer has posted the Mmm…Canada/SHF#44 roundup. (Jasmine has also posted Mmm…Canada (savoury edition) roundup.) Take a look at both; there are several wonderful looking dishes!

  1. Comment by bing — 29 June 2008 @ 20:09 EDT

    Mmmm, rhubarb pie. Cherry pie used to be my favourite. Or Saskatoon berry pie. And I guess they still are. Maybe. But the best pie I ever had was at a little cafe somewhere in southern Alberta; I forget why I was there, or who I was with, but I remember that someone had heard that we _had_to_ have some pie that that place. I ordered a slice of the rhubarb pie; it was so good that it’s the mental yardstick that I measure all pie against.

    A couple of years after that, I was at a fair in Saskatoon, and they were selling pies made by the people at one of the local churches. They had a rhubarb pie and an apple pie left, so I got the rhubarb pie. It looked like a really great pie, but to my horror, when I tasted it, it had _strawberries_ in it. Rhubarb too, but strawberries completely take over a rhubarb pie. I think whoever invented adding strawberries must not have liked rhubarb. “Try it, even people who hate rhubarb love this pie…” Gah!

    Your rhubarb pie looks perfect.

  2. Comment by Jennifer — 30 June 2008 @ 07:32 EDT

    Your recipe for rhubarb pie looks and sounds absolutely divine. I might have to scrounge around in my dad’s backyard in search of rhubarb this weekend to make it! And I agree 100% with your rant on the price of local produce. It’s ridiculous.

    Thanks so much for joining in on Mmm…Canada!

  3. Comment by Paz — 30 June 2008 @ 22:21 EDT

    Mmm Mmmm delicious!
    I’ve tagged you for a meme *evil laughter* Don’t worry, it’s optional. Please stop by my blog when you have a chance. ;-)

    Paz

  4. Comment by The Apron Queen — 1 July 2008 @ 23:44 EDT

    Wish rhubarb grew here in TX. Looks delicious!

  5. Comment by Bellini Valli — 2 July 2008 @ 08:35 EDT

    I remember sitting in my neighbours patch of rhubarb with a bowl of sugar as a kid. At the house here we had 2 types of rhubarb growing some was red and some green…no matter it was always delish :D

  6. Comment by MrsBrown — 2 July 2008 @ 10:26 EDT

    Because of this blog entry, I HAD to make rhubarb pie. Our rhubarb is a beautiful red colour and the pie was exquisite. I don’t do top crusts as I’m too lazy to roll two pieces of pastry so I just roll one large one and put the edges over the top but I did rip off a small piece to cut a lovely maple leaf shape and plopped it right in the centre of the pie. When am I going to remember to take pictures?

    The boy and I will have pie for breakfast along with some strawberries just picked from the garden. Maybe this year, I’ll be able to save the blueberries from the birds and I’ll make blueberry pie in August. mmmmm pie

  7. Comment by marika — 2 July 2008 @ 11:10 EDT

    The pie looks gorgeous..and I love the idea of adding ginger to it :)

  8. Comment by ejm — 6 July 2008 @ 23:47 EDT

    I quite agree, bing, about the addition of strawberries ruining perfectly good rhubarb pie! I’ve NEVER understood why anyone would waste rhubarb OR strawberries in that way!

    Until you mentioned it, Val, I had completely forgotten about dipping rhubarb stalks into sugar! It was good that way, wasn’t it?

    Thank you, Marika. Do let us know what you think of the addition of ginger when you try it in your rhubarb stew!

    So, Jennifer, did you find enough rhubarb in your dad’s garden for pie? I hope so!

    Paz!!! :stomp: (I’ll look at the meme and try to do it when I can….)

    I hope you have access to fresh rhubarb somehow, AQ; rhubarb pie is really delicious!

    Oh my!! Your pie sounds stunningly beautiful, MrsBrown. While it would be nice to see a photo, your description is almost as good. Great idea to use a maple leaf shaped cookie cutter to make a pattern in the pastry!

    Isn’t rhubarb pie one of the best things to have for breakfast? Mmm, mmm, mmmmm!!!

    -Elizabeth

  9. Comment by Jeanne — 4 August 2008 @ 12:53 EDT

    I’d never eaten rhubarb till I moved to London – no idea why because you could get it in South Africa – my mom just never cooked it, so I grew up not really knowing much about it. Now, though I’m HOOKED on it – have 2 dishes that I made recently that I need to post (sound familiar?!)

    2 rhubarb dishes? I’m intrigued. Are they savoury or sweet? Please get cracking on those posts! (I will if you will….) -Elizabeth

  10. Pingback by Mmm… Canada – The Sugar High Edition | The Domestic Goddess — 18 September 2012 @ 10:43 EDT

    [...] Toronto) of Blog from OUR Kitchen is revisiting memories of her youth and rhubarb with her fabulous Rhubarb Pie recipe. I only wish my own backyard sprouted the delicious Ontario [...]

 

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