Most of the time we love that our garden is mostly shady. It is cool and inviting in our hot Toronto summers. But whenever rhubarb season rolls by, we regret that we don’t have a large sunny patch to grow it. (We love rhubarb so much that I’ve even tried to grow it in the shade…)
But, lucky us, our generous neighbour handed us some rhubarb over the fence. Enough rhubarb to make a pie.
Because we were entertaining two sets of guests on two nights in a row, we had planned to make lemon squares. (And this time we were going to take photos). It wasn’t a difficult switch to make. As much as we love lemon squares, let’s face it, rhubarb pie is WAY better! Not to mention that the rhubarb was fresh out of the garden. We could make lemon squares later.
- 2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- ⅔ c vegetable shortening
- ICE-COLD water (anywhere from ½ c to ¾ c)
- rhubarb (enough to fill the pie plate)
- sugar, to taste (anywhere from ½ to ⅔ c)
- 3 Tbsp flour (or thereabouts)
- 1 tsp salt
- Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture until it is pea sized. Add ICE-COLD water a little at a time and mix lightly with your hands until it is pastry consistency. Please note that the amount of water changes drastically, depending on the humidity.
- Divide the pastry into two equal parts. Handling it as little as possible, roll out the two crusts on a lightly floured board. Put the bottom crust in the pie plate and loosely roll the top crust on the rolling pin and place it on the top of the pie plate. REFRIGERATE AT LEAST ONE HOUR.
- Wash rhubarb and shake to dry. Chop it into cubes and dump into a pyrex bowl.
- 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.
- When it is time to assemble the pie, add flour to the rhubarb mixture and stir well. Dump it into the prepared bottom crust.
- Unroll the top crust and drape 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!)
- 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.
It’s the refrigeration before baking that does the trick. It makes the pastry flakier.
click on image for larger view
One of the things that we can never understand, when we see other people making pie, is how they can possibly have left over pastry! We always use all the pastry for the pie. We love the crust – it’s flaky and light and fluffy.
Just look at that! There are four or five layers of beautiful pastry there. I mean, really; it looks good enough to eat! And, as it happens, it was!
On both evenings, we dined al fresco under a canopy of newly leafed trees. On both evenings, just as it was beginning to get dark, we lit the outdoor candles and served the pie with cream cheese topping that we often make to go with strawberries. Our guests (and we) were ecstatic.