Dad’s Rhubarb Pie

Rhubarb pie is my dad’s favorite dessert, and I made it for his birthday this year.  It has to be ONLY rhubarb – none of this hyphenated craziness with strawberries or raspberries – and it has to be only very lightly sweetened, and most importantly, it has to be eaten cold.  Not room temp.  Cold.

I don’t know where or how my dad discovered the perfect flavor that the cold lends the tart rhubarb, but I have to agree that it works unbelievably well.  It’s also impossible to find a cold tart rhubarb pie anywhere, so if you want one, you have to make it yourself.

A note on choosing rhubarb: look for ripe red rhubarb that’s firm.  Don’t bother with limp rhubarb.  If you can only find greenish rhubarb, that’s fine; just add about a quarter cup more sugar to the pie.  Wash the rhubarb stalks with cold water to remove any dirt, and cut off and discard the ends.

Chop the rhubarb so all the pieces are of roughly equal size, about half an inch long.

Now you’re ready to make the pie!

Rhubarb Pie

  • One double pie crust (I’m still working on my recipe, so I’m afraid I’m no help in this department yet)
  • 4-5 cups chopped rhubarb, cut in roughly half-inch pieces
  • a little less than 1 cup granulated sugar (just estimate roughly 1/8 cup less)
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • zest of a small lemon
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut up into small pats

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Roll out pie crust and place in pie plate.

Combine sugar, flour and cinnamon.  Sprinkle 1/4 of it over pastry in the bottom of the pie plate.  Heap rhubarb over this mixture.  Zest the lemon evenly over the rhubarb.  Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and flour mixture.  Dot with small pieces of butter.  Cover with top crust and affix any extra decorations with either an egg wash (one beaten egg mixed with a tablespoon of water) or if you’re lazy like me, just a little water.

Place pie on lowest rack in over.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and continue baking for 40 to 45 minutes.  Let cool at room temperature for at least half an hour (preferably longer), then refrigerate until cold.

Eat standing over the pie plate at the counter because it’s SO good that a fork just seems superfluous.

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2 thoughts on “Dad’s Rhubarb Pie

  1. Ahem- before you go dissing all those hypens:

    I, too, am a fool for a good rhubarb pie – the purer, the better. However, one autumn, many years ago, I found myself adding cranberries to the rhubarb mixture, resulting in a pie that might make you want to revisit your aversion to mixed rhubarb events and just might make your Dad want to rethink his rhubarb-pie expectations. Just add a small handful or so of cranberries (whole), a bit more lemon juice, and dot with butter before you add the top crust. Brings out some subtler flavors in the rhubarb and ups the tartness of the taste. In my humble opionion, the reason most strawberry- or blueberry- rhubarb pies don’t work is because they try to HIDE the rhubarb instead of dance with it. So go dance.



  2. I totally agree – they do try to hide the rhubarb. I will definitely try your cranberry recipe! Stay tuned :)

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