My Grandmother’s Rhubarb Pie……

My Grandmother’s Rhubarb Pies were famous…….always requested, savored & enjoyed by friends and family alike.  She had many gifts, most of which I didn’t know about until it was too late.  (she’s the one on the left holding me) She lived to be 91 years young….and during her amazing life, she raised five sons, who in turned gave her ten grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.

She was a member of the Inter Se Club and Daughters of the American Revolution.  (how cool is that?!)  She was a volunteer at Goodwill Industeries for more than twenty years.  That one takes my breath away…  She loved to dance (I fondly remember her whipping around the dance floor at my wedding with her longtime companion Evan- at the time she was a spry 79…) she loved dogs, gossiping and crocheting friends & family members wonderful keepsakes.

My paternal Grandmother, Opal Mae Harshfield was proud of me.  Proud of how I started my own business, all the while raising my two kids, and remaining married (a small feat in my immediate family…).  Unfortunately I didn’t know this until  she was gone.  At her funeral, my cousin Holly (who I hadn’t seen since I was in grade school) came up to me and handed me this watch.  It had two incredible picture charms of my brother & I.  That moment shook my world…

How could I have let that relationship go?  Why didn’t I try to reach out more often?  I decided at that moment I would honor her by keeping one of her traditions alive.  The infamous Rhubarb Pie.  This one has no other fruits in it, just the Rhubarb.  It takes a brave baker to do that, with such a tart fruit.  Even I usually mix in some other fruit, like strawberries.  So, needless to say, I was a bit nervous as to how this was going to turn out.  After my first bite, I needn’t be……it was the perfect mix of sweet & tart.  That girl knew what she was doing alright….

Rhubarb Pie

3 eggs, slightly beaten plus one egg white for the top crust

2 tablespoons of milk, whisked into the eggs

1 cup of sugar plus another teaspoon for sprinkling the top of the pie

1/4 cup of flour

3/4 teaspoon of Nutmeg

2 refrigerated pie crusts

4 cups of Rhubarb, diced

1 tablespoon chilled butter

You’ll notice the recipe calls for pie crusts.  I don’t know if she always made it this way, or if it had been modified over time.  I will tell you that I have no problem using a pre made pie crust.  Don’t judge me, I just don’t have the time nor patience to make a flaky delicious pie crust from scratch.  But if that’s your thing, that will make this pie even more special!  I want to note that I didn’t stray from the recipe at all; unusual for me I know.  But the first time out of the gate I wanted make it as it was made by her.  Next time around, I might just add a few more spices, like cardamom and cinnamon.  And maybe do a crumble top…I love those!

So the first thing you’ll need to do is get your oven preheating at 400 degrees.  Grab out a cookie sheet and pie pan if that didn’t come with your crusts.  Be sure to grease & flour the pie pan before putting in your crust.  Clean & dice your Rhubarb, to the size you want.  I left mine a little bigger as I like the chunkiness of the pie that way.  Rhubarb has such a unique smell; you can smell the soil & bitterness of the fruit.  Nothing else like it, that is for sure…

Then you’ll take two bowls and combine the dry ingredients in a slightly larger bowl and the wet ingredients in the smaller bowl.  Add the wet to the dry & stir.

Then you’ll add the Rhubarb in.  Mix it all together and place into pie crust.  Dot the top of the pie with the cold butter bits.  Place the top of your crust over the pie and pinch the edges closed.  Be sure to vent the top of the crust.  Brush the top of the pie with the egg white and sprinkle with sugar.  Place pie on top of cookie sheet and bake for up to 60 minutes or until bottom crust is done and the entire pie is a deep golden brown!

Oh my gosh this pie……..what a beauty!  Like I said before, it is the perfect blend of sweet & tart, light and flaky crust…serve it slightly warm with just a bit of whipped fresh cream or a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream!

Happy Mother’s Day sweet Grandma Mae!

Thank you for passing down this recipe and many other wonderful things!

Until next time,

Shawn

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