Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sweet Rhubarb and Sour Cream Pie!

If you ask a Minnesotan, "Why do you live there, in the frozen tundra?"  He'll likely tell you that, "The Spring, Summer, and Fall are fantastic!"  It's early Summer here in the Great North and that means several things:
  • 72 degree days
  • 60 degree overnights
  • Windows open
  • Flowers everywhere
  • Fresh Asparagus
  • Fresh RHUBARB!

I love Rhubarb.  I used to pick it and eat it straight out of my grandmother's garden (she hated that).  While I love it raw and sour, most people like it sweet and at this time of year, you'll see a ton of rhubarb crisps, crumbles, and strudels at your church socials.  I took it up a notch!  "Is it possible," I wondered, "to bake rhubarb into a sweet cream pie?  and to put the crisp, crumble, or strudel on TOP?"

It is.......

You Will Need:
  • 1 (9 inch) Frozen unbaked pie crust
  • 3 1/2 Cups chopped fresh rhubarb (1/4" dice)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 Cup sour cream
  • 1/3 Cup all-purpose flour (for the pie), plus another 1/2 Cup of all-purpose flour (topping)
  • 1/2 Cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 Cup butter, melted but not "hot"
Preheat your oven to 450!!  Now, pour yourself a large, cold, summer-time, adult beverage for courage and fortification.  Keep it handy...

Start with your frozen pie crust.  By the way, not all frozen pie crusts are equal!  Pillsbury crusts always bake up very tender and flaky for me, others... not so much.  Jab a fork into the bottom and sides of the crust a bunch of times to vent steam while it bakes, and set the crust(s) aside to thaw completely.  Thawing the crust is important!  If you don't, you'll end up with a soggy bottom to the crust when the pie is done and nobody likes a soggy bottom...

Now, wash your rhubarb thoroughly in cold water.  Cut the leafy tops the and the flared bottoms off and discard them (they're tough and yucky).  Now dice the stalks into small chunks and pour them directly into your pie crusts.  You'll be surprised how much rhubarb it takes to make 3.5 Cups!   I know I was... I needed almost 11 cups (3 pies worth) and despite having what I thought to be a "mother-load" of rhubarb, I had to go back to the store so... get a LOT!   Note also, the frequent "use" of the adult beverage.

In a large(ish) mixing bowl, combine the 1/3 Cup of flour, the egg, the white sugar, and the sour cream.  Mix it together, slowly!  Why "slowly?"  Because the flour wants nothing more than to leap out of the bowl and to fly all over your kitchen!  That's rude. BAD flour!  I used a ball-whisk and slowly increased the rpm until I had a nice smooth and creamy mixture to pour over the rhubarb.  Pour the the creamy mixture over the rhubarb... Have a sip of your beverage.
You might want to use a spatula to gently press the mixture down and in amongst the rhubarb.  Relax for about 5 minutes with your beverage, as the mix slowly seeps in and amongst the stubborn chunks at the bottom.  Give the pie a jiggle or two to force the integration, use a school bus if necessary!  (Not really, that was a joke and probably an inappropriate one, but it was funny to me, in my kitchen.  With my beverage...).

Now, "Let's get crumbly!"  Mix the 1/2 Cup flour with the brown sugar, using a whisk, until you have a homogeneous mixture that looks like beach sand.  Slowly drizzle in the warm melted butter and keep whisking away until you have a nice brown crumbly mixture of heavenly goodness.  
Warm heavenly goodness looks like this.  It should feel like wet sand, and it should crumble, easily, when you use your fingers to break it up.
Sprinkle the crumbly heavenly goodness all over your pie.  Feel free to make additional goodness to pile onto the pie or to eat with a spoon!  Note the dwindling supply of my beverage.
Time to bake!!  Slide your pie(s) into the center of the oven.  Yes, I know that 450 is super hot, but you'll only bake the pie at 450 for 15 minutes.  Set a timer... If the pie sits in a 450 oven longer than that, it will burn and that's bad.  The initial "heat shock" is to give the pie crust a healthy head start.  After 15 minutes, drop the temperature of the oven to 350 and leave the pie in the oven for another 40 minutes.  It will grow a little puffy, which is nice.  It will look like this!
The hardest part of the whole procedure is pulling the pie out and letting it cool, but it must be done.  Resist the urge to cool it in the fridge for a faster "oven to mouth" experience, the crust needs that extra time with the hot filling to properly solidify their relationship.  Leave the pie(s) on the counter for at least two hours before refrigeration.
Slicing the pie should result in a firmly set, creamy custard, loaded with sweet/tart rhubarby goodness, in a tender (yet flaky) crust!  Hell to the YUM!  If your beverage isn't empty yet, well... it's been three hours.  Get your head in the game!

1 comment:

  1. I love the running commentary especially what you do while you are waiting for things to cook. Humor in a recipe makes it fun.


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