Our family's journey to the heart of a handmade life

The point is the pie

The point is the pie


First things first. I want to thank T.J. over at Any Given Moment for her blushworthy review of Amaranthian in theIntroducing: New England Blogger’ extravaganza. I’ll have to check my head after that; I think it just got a little bigger. And of course, thank you Elizabeth at Thoughts from an Evil Overlord for hosting such an awesome event. I’ll be posting mine in the next day or two.
And now, pie. But not just any pie. Rhubarb pie. Yes, indeed, luck was with me at the market on Saturday, as they had a wicker basket simply overflowing with the stuff. I gathered as much as my weary arms could carry and went to work at round two of the Joy of Cooking recipe.



Round one was delicious, but excessively juicy. I know what you’re thinking: “Too juicy? And that’s a bad thing?” Well, in this case, yes. After the pie was devoured, I decided such pure, unadulterated sweettangygoodness could not be wasted. The remaining liquid lasted through two batches of pancakes and a couple bowls of ice cream. That’s a lot of juice, my friends. Not that I’m really complaining, as it was obviously very good. But the point here is the pie, one that doesn’t slump or require a giant spoon.
And Sunday night, oh my that pie was had. Round two produced a succulent, slightly earthy filling, just lazy enough to put a scoop of vanilla ice cream to good use. The rhubarb had enough body to let your teeth sink in, but still melt on the tongue. I used considerably less sugar this time, and let the filling macerate just until the flour/sugar mixture began to moisten. For round one, I let the rhubarb sit too long, letting out too much liquid before it even hit the oven.



And the crust? My husband likened it to shortbread, but it has the flaky layered soft crunch that make other crusts totally jealous. It is super simple to throw together, and that’s without the luxury of a food processor (the method utilized in the recipe.) Pie crust and I have a history of bad blood, but once I found this recipe, a new era of love and appreciation was born. We have the inimitable Martha Stewart to thank for that.
Things are getting back on track around here. Maybe it’s the power of positive thinking, or the old adage that time heals all wounds. Perhaps it was that good game of chess with my husband Saturday night. But come on, we all know it was the pie. So if you’re having a bad day, week, or have fallen into that familiar rut, do yourself a favor and give pie a chance.


Rhubarb pie
Filling adapted from Joy of Cooking
Crust adapted from Martha Stewart

Pate Brisee (makes 1 double or 2 single crust 9- to 10- inch pies):
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup ice water

4 cups unpeeled, diced young rhubarb stalks
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened

For crust:
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar.

Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add ice water one tablespoon at a time, folding gently with a spoon or your hands. Add just enough water so the dough holds together when squeezed but isn’t wet.

Divide the dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap tightly in plastic. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Remove one disc from the fridge, roll out, and line your pie plate. Put the dish back in the fridge while you roll out the other disc.

For directions using a food processor, go here.

Helpful hints:  For the bottom crust, roll it out until it’s about two inches wider than your pie dish. This will ensure even coverage up the sides. And to get your dough into the dish without it falling apart, use your rolling pin- carefully wind the dough around your rolling pin, like you would roll up a newspaper to swat a fly, then slowly unfurl on top of the pie plate.  

For filling:
Whisk together the flour and sugar. Fold in the rhubarb pieces to evenly coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for about fifteen minutes, or just until it starts to look wet. Spread evenly in the prepared pie plate, dot with softened butter and cover with well-ventilated top crust.

Note: If you are using a lattice for the top crust, I suggest pouring the filling in a few minutes before the fifteen minute maceration mark, as it will take a while to get the lattice situated.

Bake the pie in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.